As the weather begins to warm up, and the summer months don’t seem as far away, it is important to develop an effective strategy for protecting your skin. While the warm rays feel divine, the truth about sun exposure is that it can wreak havoc on our skin. Sun damage leads to premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, age spots, dry skin, and even skin cancer over time. Follow these tips, tools, and rules in order to protect your skin while soaking up the sun.
Be Sure to Moisturize
It’s a common assumption that skin gets oilier during the summer months. Sweat and humidity might make you feel greasier, but your skin still needs moisture to stay healthy. Hydrate your skin with a daily facial moisturizer (it’s not just for the winter time) to prevent your face from overproducing its own oils- and leaving you with a shiny nose and forehead. Plus, many moisturizers come with built-in SPF, which could mean cutting one step from your skincare routine.
Sunscreen is your number 1 weapon against skin cancer and signs of aging. But don’t be fooled by the SPF numbers on bottles of sunblock: while it seems that a higher SPF means more protection, doctors say that lower SPFs are just fine for most people. SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays, while an SPF 30 rejects 97%. Also, make sure you’re wearing a broad-spectrum SPF, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Also, sunscreens aren’t meant to last forever so throw away last year’s unused bottle and pick up a new one.
Keep Your Face Clean
Maintaining a clean face is crucial year-round, but as the sun will likely make you sweat more, keeping pores unclogged is more challenging during the warm-weather months. A deep-cleaning face wash that is formulated for daily use frees skin of the muck that accumulates over the course of the day without over-drying. Once daily should suffice, but add a second wash on extra active days. One caution: cleansers with salicylic acid can make you more sensitive to the sun, so use only at night.
Perform Regular Skin Checks
In most cases, the sooner a skin cancer is detected and treated the better the outcome. Get into the habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles and moles. If you notice a spot that has changed in size, shape, color, or find one that itches or bleeds, be sure to see your doctor immediately.