Summer brings warm temperatures, sunny weather, and drinks on your favorite patio or long days on the beach. California is the perfect place to enjoy it; you’re always just steps away from fun outdoor experiences.
Unfortunately, summer also comes with common skin issues, including blemishes, dry skin, and sunburns, all of which can seriously cramp your style. These tips will help you make the most of the weather while maintaining hydrated skin, right until winter creeps back in.
MAINTAIN HYDRATED SKIN DURING SUMMER AND BEYOND
Dehydrated or hydrated skin is a direct reflection of your internal health status; when you aren’t healthy, it’s often the first organ in your body to reflect the struggle. This is especially true when you experience dehydration, one of summer’s most common issues. Not getting enough fluids causes skin to become dry, fragile, uneven in tone, and sallow, meaning you’ll need more makeup just to look like yourself (and you probably won’t feel all that great, either).
To compensate for the fluids you lose through sweating in the heat, drink additional fluids throughout the day. Skip the sodas and alcohol; they only dry you out more. Instead, try natural fruit juices, plain water, coconut water, or low-sugar sports drinks.
DAILY SUNSCREEN USE
It can be tempting to skip the sunscreen, especially when you’re laying out on the beach in a gorgeous new bikini. But doing this isn’t healthy; in fact, it can lead to serious sunburns that may even spur on melanomas and other forms of cancer, especially after mid-day exposure.
Wearing sunscreen protects your healthy, hydrated skin from harm, but it’s important to use the right formula. Choose the highest SPF available (30 to 60 SPF) and re-apply regularly after sweating, swimming, or toweling off.
LIP CARE AND PROTECTION
We see patients with lip damage from the sun all the time; in fact, it’s one of the most common oversights. People slather on sunscreen, yet they totally forget to protect their lips at the same time. This likely happens because you can’t really apply sunscreen to the lips – most containers tout the risks of ingestion right on the bottle.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options at all. Instead of slathering on awful-tasting sunscreens and risking ingestion, opt for a good pot-style SPF lip balm or lipstick.
As for what to put on your lips? NIVEA Sun Caring Lip Balm Stick works well for an affordable and quick fix while you’re out, at least if you aren’t wearing cosmetics. If you prefer to wear makeup, probe your favorite brand to see if they have an SPF-containing lip color option instead.
SUN-DAMAGED SKIN PROTECTION
Is the sun causing your hydrated skin to develop dark spots or freckles? These discolored areas, called Melasma, can be attractive or unsightly depending on how they develop. If you’re not particularly fond of yours, you can treat them to reduce their appearance and get rid of that spotty or freckle look.
Try using a nightly fade cream to start; these bleach the skin gently in only the area around the melanin build-up. Just be sure to restrict use to the spot only; if you spread the cream around, it may lighten the surrounding skin, too.
If you have persistent Melasma, you may need a stronger treatment for a full resolution. Call your clinic and ask about chemical peels or laser treatments to learn about total removal options.
PROMPT, CONSISTENT TREATMENT OF ACNE
While moderate sun exposure may actually improve adult acne, the sweat we experience at the same time can exacerbate it. That’s exactly why some patients just seem to find themselves experiencing more breakouts in the summer.
To prevent this from happening, ask your medical spa to recommend a good acne wash or nightly treatment that’s safe for daily preventative use. See your doctor promptly during major breakouts, and resist the urge to pop those pimples. Avoid overheating, and shower promptly – even if it’s just to rinse off – when you arrive back at home after your adventures.
REMEDIES TO HELP FIGHT SUMMERTIME BUGS, BITES
We’ve all experienced it: you have a lovely campfire on the beach, and wind up bitten by thousands of mosquitoes and blackflies while you’re there. You could stay inside until winter comes, but it’s far easy to just use effective treatments to reduce the itching and inflammation instead.
For minor itching and inflammation, rinse the area well and apply After-Bite or calamine lotion. Aloe vera gel may also help to reduce swelling and promote healing without causing dryness.
For more severe bites, or for larger reactions, try applying a Benadryl stick or a mild 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream. This will reduce your body’s localized reaction, relieving itching and inflammation, but you should use steroid creams sparingly as they can cause thinning skin with excessive use.
Most importantly, don’t scratch! Scratching your bug bites can open microabrasions in the skin, leading to skin infections – a much more serious issue.
BOOST DAILY ANTIOXIDANT INTAKE
Free radicals – cells containing atoms with an odd number of electrons – can be harmful to your hydrated skin. There is evidence that free radical build-up, which occurs at a faster rate under UVA/UVB exposure, may hasten the effects of aging and even spur on cancers or disease. That’s bad news for your skin in the summertime.
But here’s the good news: taking antioxidants, including Vitamins C, D, and E, could help to reduce your risk and protect you from harm. They empower the body to clear out free radicals more effectively in a shorter period of time.
Taking a multivitamin is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough antioxidants, but improving your diet is an even better option. Opt for fruits like blueberries, melon, and avocado, or try adding more leafy greens, eggs, and citrus fruits.
P.S. Alcoholic fruit drinks don’t count. Research also shows that alcohol may promote free radical build-up, negating any benefits.
Want to put your best face forward? Consider hitting up your local medical spa for a high-end facial two to three times over the summer months. Whether you opt for a chemical peel, which carries just a few days of downtime, or just a simple clarifying mask, it’s a great way to mitigate the extra damage from the sun.