The skin is susceptible to harmful UV rays throughout the year but summertime is an important time to take special precautions to protect your skin since most people spend more time outdoors in the summer.
Below are 10 dermatologist tips that can help you keep your skin healthy.
1. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen -Sunscreen has an expiration date. Check the expiration dates on all of your sunscreen products at the beginning of the summer. Discard all products that are past their expiration date. Check the expiration date when purchasing new sunscreen products to be sure they aren't expired. Purchase products that will last you through the summer.
2. Consider investing in clothing with built in SPF -Most clothing contains some SPF value. The average cotton t-shirt carries an SPF protection of about five. Some lines of clothing for outdoor enthusiasts now contain SPF protection of up to 50. The initial investment can be expensive but if you take care of them they can last you many summers.
3. Include SPF foods in your diet -Yes, it is true. Some foods contain SPF, and although the ingested value may be minimal (average of an SPF of 2), the next time you feel guilty about red wine or chocolate remind yourself that you are getting the benefits of SPF and anti-oxidants.
4. Try to avoid free radicals -Free radicals are agents that can damage skin cells and speed the signs of aging. Exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke are examples of areas where free radicals lurk. Foods rich in vitamin E and C such as leafy greens can help counteract the effects of free radicals.
5. Stay hydrated -Drink plenty of fluids while outdoors, especially if participating in strenuous activity. Water and non-caffeinated, non-carbonated sports drinks are best. Proper hydration is important for healthy skin, among other health benefits.
6. Use the appropriate type of sunscreen -If you will be participating in strenuous sports activities or if you sweat easily outdoors, be sure to wear a waterproof or sports sunscreen that will stay on your skin despite water activities and sweating.
7. Think smart and cover all sun exposed areas -Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas. This means remembering to apply sunscreen to the scalp, ears, lips, neck, hands, and feet--areas that we often miss. An SPF sports stick is a handy product to carry on your outings so you can easily apply sunscreen to these exposed areas.
8. Remember to moisturize -A daily moisturizing routine can help keep your skin soft and elastic, especially after the beating it takes all day in the heat. A natural moisturizer without a lot of perfumes and dyes is best.
9. Visit a dermatologist - If you have never been checked, make an appointment with a dermatologist for an initial assessment. The frequency of future visits depends on risk factors such as age, sun damage, and prior skin cancers. Dermatologists recommend an annual check-up for maintenance. Put it on your calendar at the start of every summer. This way you are more likely to remember it and follow through.
10. Commit to a monthly self-examination - Everyone should perform regular self-examinations of their skin for signs of changes. Memorize your spots, and then check yourself once a month. Signs to look for are rough or scaly areas; flat scaly areas that are red or brown; any existing mole or spot that is growing or changing; a lesion that is bleeding, crusty, or painful and does not heal after two weeks or heals and returns; a hard flat or sunken growth; a pearl-shaped lump; and any new suspicious growth. If you observe any of these conditions you should see a dermatologist immediately.