5 Summer Skin Care Tips

It’s summer time, which means lazy days lounging poolside, hours spent on the golf course, and vacationing on sandy beaches. By the time summer comes, our skin is yearning for some warm sunshine, but if we aren't careful, a nasty sunburn can put a huge damper on our summer (not to mention the damage it can do to our health!).

While exposure to sunlight has many health benefits, incuding increased levels of Vitamin D, enhanced mood, and increase in energy, too much sun is never a good thing, especially without properly protecting your skin. We had the pleasure of speaking with skin care expert Dr. Omar Ibrahimi, M.D., Ph. D., of Connecticut Skin Institute in Stamford about the top five summer skin care tips.

  1. Never skimp on sunscreen. “There is a scientifically proven link to excessive sun exposure and, not only the development of skin cancer, but also the premature appearance of wrinkles,” warns Ibrahimi. “Being prudent with your sun exposure and avoiding sunburns can not only reduce your risk for skin cancer but keep you looking your best — and who doesn’t want to look their best!” Ibrahimi suggests covering and applying sunblock to any part of the body that gets the most sun exposure. For most, this area is the face. “Our face is our window to the world and certainly the last area anyone would want to develop skin cancer or wrinkles on,” notes Ibrahimi.
  2. Great sun protection doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need name brand sunblock to get excellent sun protection. Try these over the counter sun blocks: CereVe, Cetaphil, Aveeno, Neutrogena and La Roche Posay.
  3. Myth Buster: You can’t “get tan” while wearing sunblock. It's something we all try to convince ourselves, but the reality is you can still get a beautiful bronze glow while wearing sunblock. You actually need a whole shot glass worth of sunscreen to cover an adult body, notes Ibrahimi. Unfortunately, most sun dwellers under-apply leaving their skin susceptible to skin cancer and severe burns. One application of sunscreen doesn’t cut it as sunscreen components become deactivated by UV radiations. Ibrahimi suggests re-applying sunscreen every two hours if outdoors.
  4. Five ingredients your sunscreen must have. “Not all sunscreens are created equal. Ideally you want one that covers both UVB and UVA or also known as broad spectrum. The SPF factor is only reflective of UVB protection,” says Ibrahimi. Typically, sunscreens come in two classes, chemical blockers and physical blockers. Be sure your sunscreen has both. Common chemical blockers are molecules such as avobenzone and oxybenzone. Physical blockers include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
  5. The sun doesn’t discriminate among ages. Everyone, from ages 1 to 100, should use sunscreen. Oftentimes, children can forget to apply sunblock while playing in the sun, so having sunblock that can be applied easily is important. For adults, try lounging in the shade when possible and avoid peak hours of sun (10am-2pm), especially for those who have fair skin.

Summer is a time to relax with friends and family. Avoid spending the summer inside because of a bad sunburn with these top five summer skin care tips!

Connecticut Skin Institute

Omar A. Ibrahimi, M.D., Ph.D.
999 Summer Street, Suite 205, Stamford; 203-428-4440

Visiting Assistant Professor of Dermatology
Wellman Center for Photomedicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

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