Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ‘98: wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…But trust me on the sunscreen.
-Mary Schmich, “The Chicago Tribune”
While summer isn’t technically, officially here until June 21st, warmer weather, schools letting out, and a Memorial Day weekend kick-off, it sure feels like the season has arrived! So before you put on that teeny-weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini and bare more skin than you have in a few months, make sure your skin is well-protected!
We’re Serious About the Sunscreen
You can thank Coco Chanel for our obsession with the perfect summer tan. The trend was sparked after the fashion legend got an accidental sunburn in the French Riviera and returned to Paris with a sun-kissed glow. But whether you’re going to lay out, taking the kids to the park to play, or even just running errands, you’ll want to do what she didn’t and protect yourself with some sunscreen.
While fine in moderation, over-exposure to the sun can cause wrinkles, sunspots, and even skin cancer. In fact, getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma later on in life.
So before you head outside, make sure to slather on some sunscreen, making sure to pay special attention to your face and lips (where the skin is thinner), as well as your feet and any other body parts that are almost entirely covered the rest of the year. Dermatologists recommend an SPF of at least 30 and to opt for a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, even on cloudy days.
Stay Hydrated – You and Your Skin
To help protect your skin from drying out in the heat, which can lead to an array of skin issues including sunburn, you’re going to keep it hydrated. And one of the best ways to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out is to make sure you’re drinking those 8 glasses of water a day! Drinking water will also help you feel better in the summer heat since higher temps lead to internal dehydration which leads to headaches, dizzy spells, and even heat stroke.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping your skin hydrated on the surface by upping your moisturizing regimen. Make sure to apply moisturizer before you go in the sun as well as immediately after. And dermalogica, developed by The International Dermal Institute, recommends using a hydrating mask one to two times a week to really keep your skin hydrated. Plus, any excuse to pamper yourself, right??
Time to exterminate those dead skin cells! All of the advice we’ve given so far works, oh, roughly a million times better if you exfoliate your skin first. You see, when you exfoliate, you’re removing dulling skin debris, which not only makes your skin look healthy and rejuvenated, it also prevents congestion to improve hydration from toners and moisturizers. Added bonus: make-up stays on longer on exfoliated skin!
Be careful in picking out an exfoliator though: scrubs that contain salicylic or glycolic acid can actually make your skin more susceptible to sunburn. And always make sure to moisturize and apply sunscreen before going outside after exfoliating.
Top it Off with a Hat
Studies show that the majority of skin cancer occurs from the neck up so before you head out, grab your biggest, floppiest hat to protect your face and scalp from the sun! Take it from someone who once got a sunburnt scalp thanks to the hair part her pigtails created: it’s not something you want to deal with. At least, not if you don’t want to go a week without hot showers or combing your hair.
And be sure to pair your floppy hat with some sunglasses – because, believe it or not, your eyes are susceptible to some serious sun damage too!
So now that you know how to protect yourself from the sun this summer, get out there and have fun!