Do’s and don’ts for protecting your skin this summer

As we begin to daydream about all the ways we’d like to enjoy the outdoors this summer, uppermost in our minds should be plans for protecting our skin from the season’s intense sun, Long Island dermatologists and beauty spa owners say.

And a recent study by the No7 Beauty brand found New York to be among the 10 worst for skin health based on environmental conditions including higher than average hours of sun exposure.

“It’s very important to remember that all skin types require and benefit from daily sun protection in the summer,” says Dr. Rebecca L. Chusid, a dermatologist with a Williston Park practice. “Exposure to ultraviolet light from the summer sun can cause changes in your skin cells which can result in skin cancer.”

Any parts of the body exposed to summer sun need attention, adds Dr. Adrienne Haughton, dermatologist and director of Medical and Cosmetic Services at Stony Brook Medicine. “Skin cancer is most frequently seen in areas with increased exposure to UV radiation: face, neck, hands and arms, essentially all areas not covered by clothing.”

Sunscreen is not the only way to keep your skin safe ...

Sunscreen isn’t the only way to keep your skin safe this summer. Clothing and accessories can help.
Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / RuslanDashinsky

The skin experts note that proper summer skin care is vital not only for different skin types, such as dry or oily, but for all skin tones as well. This is despite the fact that darker skin naturally has more protection because it contains melanin – the pigment that gives the skin color and helps protect cells from some forms of sun damage.

“While it is true that skin of color statistically has a lower incidence of skin cancers, skin of color skin cancers are often found later, are in a more aggressive stage when diagnosed, and have poorer outcomes than do skin cancers found in white skin, Chusid says.

Sharon Webb-Richards, co-owner of Anoz Spa Boutique Inc. in Garden City, agrees that keeping skin healthy year-round is important for everyone but, for New Yorkers in particular, summer skin care needs to be a priority.

“New Yorkers tend to glorify being busy,” Webb-Richards says, but she notes you need to be “good at balancing your work, play, eating, rest and skin care regimen.” She adds, “If you’re concerned about having healthy skin you must fit your skin care regimen into your daily routine – that includes quality skin products for your skin type, drinking half your weight in water daily, eating healthy, getting regular facials from an experienced licensed aesthetician and more. ”

Danielle Hoffmann, 31, of Freeport, receives a golden facial from ...

Danielle Hoffmann, 31, of Freeport, receives a golden facial from esthetician Patti Byrnes at New York’s Face Place in Huntington Station.
Credit: Danielle Silverman

The main thing is, protecting your skin from summer’s sun is something relatively easy to do, the experts say, whether you do it yourself or get help from a professional.

Jen Terban-Hertell, owner of New York’s Face Place in Huntington Station, says, “It is extremely important to take care of your skin during the summer months when we spend so much time outside exposing our skin to the harmful elements. Knowing where and how to start can seem overwhelming, but it’s not. ”

Here are some do’s and don’ts from these experts to help you enjoy summer sun safely:

DIE

Plan Ahead: Make sure you have your sun protection essentials on hand at all times. Pack them in a tote bag that’s ready to go so you’re always prepared for any outing – from a beach day, boat trip or barbecue, to a walking tour of an exotic vacation locale.

Always wear sunscreen: Protect all parts of the body that will be exposed to sun. Across all skin types and colors, sunscreen helps to prevent skin cancer, dark marks, uneven skin tone, sagging and wrinkling. There are options that will release pigment as they are rubbed into the skin to blend into different skin tones. Your sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and be applied daily. Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours if dry and more frequently if you get wet or are sweating.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: The sun, saltwater and sweating involved in summer activities can leave skin extra dry, so moisturize at the end of the day. Moisture can also help heal sunburn. Extremely dry skin can be treated with “slugging” – a deep moisturizing treatment. Use a fragrance-free moisturizer as a base (such as Vaseline) for slugging, and avoid any products containing possible skin irritants like retinol, retinoids, hyaluronic acid or glycolic acid.

Stay hydrated: Pack plenty of water to rehydrate your body and keep skin looking its best. Loss of hydration can lead to breakouts and irritation and makes skin more vulnerable to sunburn and damage. Summer’s heat and humidity create a sauna-like environment for skin, opening up your pores and making them susceptible to impurities.

Use accessories for more than style: In addition to sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and umbrellas can guard against sun damage. Skin under regular clothing can still be exposed to harmful UV radiation but there are specially-designed apparel like T-shirts, shorts and pants that are made with tighter weaves to reduce the number of UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays that penetrate through to your skin.

DON’T

Head to the beach or go for a run midday: Seek shade between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when UV radiation from the sun is strongest.

Think clouds are sun protection: Being outside on a cloudy day can give you a false sense of security. Damaging sun rays can still reach your skin.

Forget your scalp: Protecting your scalp from sun is very important, especially for those with thinning hair or baldness who have an increased risk for skin cancer from exposure to UV radiation from the sun 365 days a year. About 80% of these cancers are found on the head and neck. The easiest and most thorough protection is a wide-brimmed hat. If a hat is not an option or you’re going to be in the water, SPF protection with traditional sunscreen or an SPF powder or spray can be used.

Use tanning oil or tanning salons to prep: Gradually build up your skin’s color by using self-tanners. Getting a base tan from tanning oils can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including Melanoma. Oils are used to speed up tanning by attracting more sun rays and increasing their absorption, but they can increase sun damage. Although they can be a moisturizer, they usually do not provide enough SPF. Lying on an indoor ultraviolet tanning bed is another “no.”

Wear just any makeup: Lighter and less is more when it comes to summer makeup. Switch to a lighter but hydrating daytime moisturizer and make sure to use sunscreen. Tinted moisturizers with SPF can protect you from the sun but you might want to skip foundation and powder to allow the skin to sweat. Sweat can clear out pores and rid your body of toxins. Bronzers and blush can be used to give the face added color.

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