Coming out of the dry, itchy skin phase of winter, the healthy glow of sun-kissed skin is more than welcome during the warmer months. But stretching that glow out all summer long can be tricky, especially when you spend your days basking in the UV light and stale central cooling of an office.
In an attempt to maximize our skin’s radiance right into fall, we did a little digging on summer skin care tips. And then, to be sure we covered all our bases, we went straight to the pros at the Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston for their take.
What we learned was that in addition to the tried-and-true tricks of moisturizing and exfoliating, there exist many newer techniques for holding onto that healthy glow all summer long. So, without further ado, here are the highlights.
1. Boost your skin’s growth factors
If you’re not a pro, you might be going, “Huh?” (Like me!) Essentially, growth factors are proteins that regulate cellular growth. Todd E. Schlesinger, M.D., FAAD, and Director at the Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston, explains, “Growth factors are part of your skin’s collagen building mechanism. The sun depletes them and reduces their effect — as does aging.” To counter the sun’s depletion of these important proteins use products with skin cell stimulating growth factors.
More: Summer skin safety for the whole family
2. Peel a little (or a lot)
We all know by now that exfoliating is key to keeping skin in top form, and peeling is like exfoliating’s super-cool big sister. “Peels are another great way to give your skin a healthy summer glow. Many will choose superficial peels that incorporate glycolic acid or salicylic acid and work great for a no-downtime glow,” Schlesinger told us. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, there’s a peel for that too — but you need to be committed to the recovery. “Medium depth peels containing trichloroacetic acid (TCA) are another option, but cause visible peeling for about a week.”
3. Give your sunscreen a sidekick
Seriously, we can’t say it enough — limit exposure to the sun sans sunscreen. While studies have shown around 15 minutes of light, well-timed, sunscreen-free exposure (think in the morning, before the sun is high overhead) can help trigger our body’s production of Vitamin D, too much sun can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. “Sun protection cannot be overlooked when it comes to healthy summer skin!” emphasized Schlesinger. “In addition to a broad spectrum sunscreen, one that blocks most of the damaging rays of the sun is essential; topical Vitamin C applied each morning can boost the sunscreen effect by absorbing damaging free radicals (oxidants) with its anti-oxidant effect.”
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Just as it’s important to moisturize your skin, it’s equally important you hydrate from within as well. This is especially true during the summer months, when the hot sun can cause our bodies to lose water through sweat. Dehydration can lead to a whole host of issues, with one being aging your skin and causing a dull complexion. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and keep hydrating snacks like watermelon and coconut water on hand.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new things
With modern advancements in skin care, experts in the field are developing new technology and techniques every single day to enhance our skin’s vitality. And while some of them may sound daunting, the reward is well worth the endeavor. “One of the newest innovations is microneedling,” said Schlesinger. “This simple procedure uses a wand fitted with a microneedle tip that makes tiny microscopic holes in the top layers of the skin. When the body repairs them, new collagen is laid down. Performed by a well-trained and licensed esthetician, this procedure leaves the skin pink for a day or two and then glowing at a week. Do a series for best results.”
More: 5 Ways to snag high-end skincare products for next to nothing
6. Toss back some beta-carotene
Eating the right foods, like hydrating properly, enhances skin by starting from within. A naturally occurring pigment found in plants, beta-carotene is one of the most beneficial nutrients for the body in terms of maintaining a healthy glow — and here’s why. When ingested, beta-carotene gets converted into Vitamin A, an antioxidant that serves as a buffer between cells and damaging free radicals. It is also subsequently converted to retinoic acid, which aids in processes like cell growth. So nosh on foods rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet red peppers and dried peas.
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