Protect Your Skin This Summer

Tips for Healthy Sun Protection
By Dr. Mona Gohara, MD
Woman applying sunscreen

While summertime is when we think about sun protection most, it’s something we should prioritize every day. Sun protection is an important and essential part of any skin care routine. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of skin cancers and the visible signs of aging are attributed to daily unprotected ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, and, further, having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. Protecting your skin seems simple enough, right? Slather on that SPF daily to ensure maximum skin health and to help with rejuvenation. It is true that this is the first step to sun care, but there are a few other items that should be taken into consideration too!

  1. Seek the shade between 10 am and 4pm. These are the times when the sun is the strongest. This does not mean that you should hibernate indoors. Not at all. Enjoy outdoor activities freely, as they are beneficial to your mental and physical health. However, while outdoors, seek shaded areas when possible to decrease the amount of UV light hitting the skin.

  2. Wear sun protective clothing. Sometimes we are lulled into a false sense of safety when we are wearing plain t-shirts outside. Unfortunately, a standard white “T” offers little benefit in terms of shielding you from sun rays. When possible, choose clothing that is made for sun protection, and otherwise, darker more vibrant colors with tightly woven fabrics are favored.

  3. Make sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat a part of your outdoor outfit! Often the scalp, ears, and eyelid skin are forgotten when applying SPF. Add an extra layer of protection with some shades and a hat. Make it fun, by choosing something fashion forward and unique to you!

  4. Use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher daily. The most important way to protect yourself from UV light is by making sunscreen application a part of your daily routine, regardless of skin tone or types of weather conditions. Choose a product that fits with your lifestyle. Formulations come in lotions, creams, powders – you name it, plus different shades to be compatible with many different skin colors. Do not forget to re-apply every two hours or after excessive sweating/swimming. A good tip is to put it next to your toothbrush so that you do not forget to put it on each day.

  5. You may think that sunscreen is not necessary indoors, but it should be used in or out of the house. Evidence shows that blue light such as computer/cell phone screens and even lightbulbs can cause skin damage, especially in brown and Black skin.

  6. While swimming in a pool can be a great way to stay cool in the summer, the chlorine in the water is known to dry out the skin, and for those prone to sensitive skin, may cause itchiness or discomfort. To prevent this or soothe the skin, take a shower immediately after swimming and apply a moisturizer afterward to help lock in moisture and prevent dryness.

  7. Get your skin checked once a year by a board-certified Dermatologist. This will ensure skin health in addition to daily sun protection.

If you’re in need of finding a board-certified dermatologist in your area, check out the Vaseline x HUED See My Skin dermatologist directory.