Ah, summer; the season of hot weather, barbeques, and trips to the beach. Whatever reason you have for going out and enjoying the warmth outside, you need to be sure to protect your skin — the largest organ responsible for protecting your body from external threats. It allows you to use your sense of touch, and helps to regulate your body temperature.
You can avoid many skin conditions the sun can cause when you take care of your skin. If you’re searching for ways to protect it, we’re a team of providers and specialists at Specialists in Dermatology in Houston, and The Woodlands, Texas, who can give you some critical tips.
How the sun damages your skin
As an essential part of our lives, we need sun for heat, energy, sustaining life, controlling sleep cycles, and providing our bodies with vitamin D. However, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can do extensive damage to your skin.
UV rays cause sunburn, getting into the deeper layers of your skin and disrupting the way it grows and appears. Continuous overexposure can cause a reduction in your skin’s elasticity, making your skin thick and leathery or thin and wrinkled.
Conditions that sun damage causes
Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can lead to many conditions, including:
- Dry, itchy skin: The heat of the sun can make your skin dry, leaving you with an uncomfortable flakiness and itchiness.
- Moles: Solar heat can cause hyperpigmentation in your skin cells, leading to moles that can develop into cancer over time.
- Sunburn: A common consequence of a sunny day, the damage to your skin from UV rays can cause discomfort that may lead to blistering and peeling of your skin.
- Suntan: Often a desirable goal, a tan is evidence of your skin already being damaged. No type of tan is considered safe.
- Skin cancer: The sun can lead to three common types of cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
If you’re exposed to the sun often, we have several tips to offer for protection.
Tips for skin protection
Tips for taking care of your skin in the summer heat include:
Use sunscreen frequently
When you’re out in the sun, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (product that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30, preferably something safe to put on lips, as well. Use it anytime you’re out, and reapply every two hours.
Keeping your skin moist helps your skin stay hydrated and comfortable. Avoid a thick moisturizer in the summer, and use one with an SPF of 30 or higher to provide additional protection from UV rays.
Wear protective clothing
To stay safe and reduce the amount of direct exposure the sun has to your skin when outside, add items to your wardrobe, such as wide-brimmed hats, UV-400 glasses, and dark-colored clothes with woven fabrics or UV absorbers.
Exfoliate your skin
Keeping sunscreen and moisturizer on helps you stay protected, but you don’t want clogged pores. Exfoliate your skin up to twice a week to keep them open, allowing better penetration of lotions to protect your skin. Avoid exfoliating if you already have a sunburn.
These tips can help you stay safe and prevent the many problems of sun-damaged skin while still enjoying the summer. If you have any other concerns about skin safety or are dealing with sun-damaged skin, make an appointment with our team of providers at Specialists in Dermatology today to get help.