Five tips to protect your skin from the summer sun

by Heidi Anderson, M.D.

Florida summers are full of outdoor fun. It’s the season of barbeques, picnics, trips to the beach, theme park visits and sunny days lounging by the pool. While we’re lucky to live in a beautiful location that beckons us off the couch and into the fresh air, enjoying outdoor activities without the proper protection can cause unnecessary and potentially serious skin damage. At DOCS, we want to give you the information and tools you need to enjoy your activities while ensuring your skin stays healthy. Here are five steps you can take to ward off harmful UV rays.

Take caution in the car

It’s easy to assume that you’re safe from the sun when you’re cruising in the car, air conditioning on full blast. However, studies have shown that millions of Americans are unnecessarily exposed to harmful UV rays during their daily commutes. In most cars, the side and back windows don’t block UVA rays. This exposure can sometimes cause damage to the side of the commuter’s face most frequently exposed to the sun. Depending on attire, the chest, neck, forearms and top of hands may be vulnerable as well. Use your car visor to protect your face and consider tinting your side windows. No matter what, make sure you slap on some sunscreen or wear protective clothing before you hit the road.

Find what sunscreen works for you, and reapply often

Sunscreen has advanced throughout the past decade beyond the greasy, thick, distinct-smelling substance that makes kids and adults alike groan. Now, there are chemical-free, powdered, tinted, sport, fragrance-free and moisturizing sunscreens to suit every skin type. Reapply often — every two hours or every 45 minutes if you’re in the water — to reap the best results. If you’re headed into the ocean keep in mind that certain ingredients found commonly in sunscreens are contributing to coral bleaching. Avoid the following ingredients when snorkeling or diving:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Butylparaben
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor

Check out our favorite sunscreens here, and give us a call to find out which option will work best for you.

Your clothing counts

Floridians are pros at purchasing clothes that keep us cool — thin, floating dresses, linen shirts, cotton tees and other lightweight, breathable apparel is the go-to summer style. While these pieces help us get through hot days without feeling bogged down and sticky, they often provide only moderate protection from the sun. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) apparel are important to keep your skin safe during the summer months. Think of UPF as an SPF rating for your clothing — it evaluates based on weight, color and construction of fabrics to indicate how successfully they shield skin from UV rays. If you don’t want to spend extra bucks on special clothing, pick out items with tightly woven fabrics that cover more of your skin. Darker colors can also absorb UV rays and reduce exposure.

Make your accessories work in your favor

Don’t rely solely on sunscreen to keep your skin damage-free. Accessories are a fun, stylish and effective way to up your skin-care game. Grab a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, ears and neck. Large sunglasses can provide extra protection for your eyes — UV penetration has been linked to a higher risk for cataracts and macular degeneration — and the thin, vulnerable skin around them. Heading to an outdoor event? Consider bringing a parasol to shade your upper body. Remember, UV damage is cumulative so the less you’re exposed to the sun, the better.

 

Preventative measures are key to keeping your skin healthy. However, if you’re already showing signs of sun damage — don’t despair! There are many treatments (like lasers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, vitamin-infused facials and other services) that help reduce dark spots, wrinkles and other damage. Schedule an appointment today to find which option or products best suit your individual skin needs.

Posted in Blog Tagged with: , , , , ,