Whether you love to spend time in your garden or are planning a beach vacation, spending all day in the sun can seriously wreak havoc on your skin. With these expert tips, you can save your skin and still enjoy the sun.
Wear protective clothing
Debra Jaliman M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and author of Skin Rules, says, “I’m a big fan of sun protective clothing. I find that it’s very effective for protecting the skin from UV light. It’s also great that you don’t have to keep reapplying the sunscreen.”
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In addition to protective clothing, Dr. Jaliman says, “It’s essential to wear UV 400 blocking sunglasses. A two-inch brim hat is also helpful. Lip balm with SPF 30 is crucial as skin cancer on the lip is most likely to metastasize.”
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
Obviously, sunscreen. Dr. Jaliman says, “A great sunscreen is EltaMD UV Pure SPF 47. It’s water-resistant for 80 minutes. Vanicream also makes good sunscreen for those with sensitive skin.”
Dermatologist Dr. David Bank, author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age and founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, New York, says, “Sunscreens and sun protection factors (SPF) generally work in one of two ways. Either they’ll have a chemical filter that acts a little like a sponge in that it absorbs the harmful UVA and UVB rays and converts them into infrared heat, or they’ll act as a physical barrier, usually containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide, reflecting the rays away from the skin before they get a chance to do any damage.”
He also reminds us to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you get out into the sun — slather it on at least 20 minutes before you go outside.
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Topical and oral antioxidants
Dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer, co-author of The Dermatologists’ Prescription for a New You! and founder and creator of REPLERE, a natural, antioxidant-based skin care line, suggests protecting your skin from the sun from the inside out by not only by applying topical antioxidants, such as REPLERE Day Lotion, but also by “ingesting oral antioxidants, like the REPLERE Beauty Shooter, to neutralize the harmful effects of the sun.” She also recommends using a zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreen as these ingredients are anti-inflammatory and offer broad-spectrum coverage.
Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, co-founder of Specific Beauty adds, “Topical antioxidants such as green tea and vitamin C protect from free radical damage from the sun. They have been proven to make sunscreens work better because most sunscreens block 97 percent of the sun’s rays. Using a topical antioxidant can prevent the free radical damage from the residual UVB that does get into the skin.”
Even if you’re spending your vacation at the beach or you work outside for the majority of the day, seek out some shade whenever possible. Pack an oversized umbrella for your trip to the beach or the park so you’re not exposed to direct sunlight all day and take breaks from the sun whenever possible.
Check your skin
If you’re exposed to the sun for long periods on a regular basis, it’s important to have your skin checked out regularly. Dr. Susan Stuart, board-certified dermatologist of La Jolla Dermatology, says, “See your dermatologist for any unusual skin growths that grow, bleed or change color or shape as [they] may be early skin cancer.”