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It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy—or it should be. Here are some simple strategies to enjoy the sunshine and keep your skin safe and beautiful.
1. Eat for skin health
Studies show that antioxidant micronutrients in food increase skin’s defense against UV radiation, support longer-term protection, and promote repair. In other words, the right foods can help keep your skin healthy—not to mention looking good. Research shows vitamins C and E, selenium, flavonoids, and polyphenols can help counteract biochemical changes that occur in skin following sun exposure. Fortunately, you’ll get a variety of these nutrients by filling your plate with in-season summer fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow.
2. Choose a good sunscreen
There are two types of sun protection: Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, while physical sunscreens prevent UV rays from penetrating skin.
Unfortunately, a 2019 FDA review indicated there is insufficient information about safety and absorption of many commonly used chemical sunscreen ingredients, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone. Plus, some chemical sunscreens are associated with damage to sensitive water habitats.
Physical sunscreens—widely considered to be the safer and more natural option—usually contain the minerals zinc oxide (ZnO) and titanium dioxide (TiO2). TiO2 is more effective for UVB rays, and ZnO is better for UVA rays, so combined they create broadband UV protection.
3. Be sun smart
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking your SPF15 foundation will get you through a patio lunch unscathed. It’s unlikely you put enough on to achieve the full SPF value, and sun protection must be reapplied regularly to be effective. Instead, pop a hat on your head, and make sure it has a three-inch brim.
4. Know when to see the doctor
Visit your doctor if you notice actinic keratosis, which is strongly associated with squamous cell carcinoma. These small, rough patches on the skin feel like sandpaper and may sting, itch, or burn. They appear in sun-exposed areas including the backs of the hands, ears, nose, lower lip, or balding scalp.
Also talk to your doctor if a mole changes shape (especially if the borders are irregular), color, or size or bleeds easily.
5. Turn up your summer glow!
You can adapt your skincare routine for the summer season with these tips.
- Remove your sunscreen and makeup before bedtime by cleansing.
- Don’t let the dewiness of your summer skin trick you into thinking you don’t need to moisturize! Look for moisturizer ingredients that pull water into skin or hold on to what’s there without blocking pores, including jojoba, sunflower, argan, and sesame oils.
- When choosing a summer facial mist, look for ingredients such as Pyrus malus (apple extract), which provides amino acids, flavonoids, trace elements, and vitamins to nourish skin at the same time that it locks water into skin cells.
- Multitask with coconut oil as a skin cleanser, moisturizer, and hair treatment.