The summer compounds skin damage due to a perfect storm. The heat causes you to wear less, we’re outdoors more often and for more extended periods, and the sun tends to be stronger because of the positioning of the earth. The same drivers that make summer so enjoyable are also why skin gets damaged more often and worse than in the winter. Understanding these dynamics, dermatologists have worked for years on practices and products designed to help reduce summer damage while allowing people to enjoy being outdoors more often as well as maintain skin health.
A key factor in all the advice is for a person to have a solid routine. Consistency produces the best level of protection versus spotty use such as suntan lotion only when one is at the pool. Instead, with a daily routine, a person increases protection levels regularly and reduces far more exposure and damage summer-long than just during specific events.
Sunscreen Lotion with SPF
First and foremost, the sun is hot and damaging. Just 30 minutes of exposure starts to darken skin or flare it up in burn reactions. Products with SPF are a must for any exposure to the sun, even if one is only driving inside a car all day long. At a minimum, sunscreen products should have an SPF rating of at least 30 or more; the higher, the better. And sunscreen is not just for the arms and shoulders. The hands, feet, ears, and even lips need it too. Generally, an SPF 55 level product is in the excellent category of protection. One of the easiest ways to keep up with sunscreen is to have an alarm set for every few hours on a smartphone. When the alarm rings, it’s time for another application.
Back Off the Heavier Skin Products
Skin will naturally produce more oils in the summer. There’s no need for heavy-duty cream cleansers like what is typically used in the winter. Instead, lighter foam cleaners make more sense and produce a far better hydration effect.
Focus More on Multi-Purpose Moisturizers
Pulling off a 2-for-1 is a smart move during summer. A moisturizer that also includes an SPF reduces the amount of additional product needed. Just make sure to apply it regularly throughout the day every few hours. Note that standard moisturizers can have pore-clogging effects, so lean towards light moisturizers instead that focus on hydrating versus smoothing, which often includes more oils.
Give Your Body a Vitamin C Boost
Given the extra sun damage, the skin and body start consuming more resources for repair. A regular Vitamin C serum application can help reduce damage, fine lines, and loss of collagen production. It doesn’t take much, and many serums can be applied before the moisturizer. Some products combine both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, both of which the skin can use for repair and protection.
Cleaning Includes Exfoliating
When it’s time to clean your skin after a day out, cleaning and exfoliating to remove dead skin should also be part of your routine, but don’t overdo it. Too much exfoliation removes healthy layers of skin and exposes fresh underlayers to harsh sun damage before they are ready. The key to exfoliation is moderation. Slowly increase the days you exfoliate.
The Shade is Your Friend
There is plenty of sunshine to enjoy without being in direct contact. Focus on relaxing in the shade, especially during high heat. This helps reduce the risk of dehydration as well as burns, even with suntan lotion on.