At UppWell, we believe taking care of your skin is an absolute must-do. This summer, many localities are relaxing their regulations to allow sun-deprived people back onto beaches and parks to come back and get their vitamin D! But beware—if you’re not careful while you revel in this wonderful weather, you can really cause a lot of damage to your skin’s health. According to a study conducted by researchers at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, photodamage accounts for 90 percent of age-associated cosmetic skin problems. Here are five tips you can follow to keep your skin as healthy as possible during these long hot days.
Sunscreen isn’t something that you should leave only for occasional trips to the beach. To best protect your skin, you should wear sunscreen every time you go outside in the summer. Sunscreen is your best defence against both small skin issues—such as the premature ageing of your skin—and big ones, like skin cancer. According to Harvard University, applying sunscreen has been shown to reduce the chances of getting certain types of skin cancer by up to 40 percent over four years. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a big difference—in fact, it only takes the equivalent of about one-quarter of a teaspoon of sunscreen to fully protect the skin on your face. You don’t have to go for the sunscreen with the highest SPF, either—studies have shown that sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 is protective enough for almost all people.
Stay in the shade
While putting on sunscreen is incredibly helpful for your skin, an even better way to protect it would be to stay out of the sun altogether. Avoiding direct sunlight as much as you can ensures that your skin will stay unharmed and that you’re protected against harmful UV radiation which could cause very bad health effects, especially for your skin, as you age. While it may sound extreme to stay away from the sun, the less exposure to UV rays your skin gets, the better shape it will be in. We recommend forgoing long sessions of sunbathing in favour of self-tanning products, if possible. A natural tan may be nice, but having healthy skin is even nicer!
Wear more protective clothing
It may seem confusing to recommend wearing more clothing in the summer. Isn’t summer all about having fun in the heat? In fact, it’s actually healthier for your skin if you wear a hat or a shirt with longer sleeves—you’re protecting it from the harmful effects of UV rays. Darker clothing actually offers better protection than light-coloured clothing, as the rays get absorbed rather than allowed to go through.
We also recommend wearing clothes with a looser fit, as too-tight clothing can stretch and cause fibres to pull away from each other, allowing UV rays to pass through and penetrate your skin. Clothing made from a thicker fabric, like canvas or even polyester blends, can act as a stronger guard for your skin than clothing made from looser fabrics. While it seems weird at first to wear more clothing on such hot days, we promise that your skin will thank you for it.
Drink enough water
While it’s a myth that humans need 8 glasses of water a day, you should still drink plenty of water to ensure your body—especially your skin—stays healthy in the summer heat. According to McGill University, humans use up an average of 2 litres a day of water, in the form of sweat, breath, and urine. While you can make up a large part of this amount by just going about your daily routine, it’s important that you don’t ignore your body when you feel thirsty. Water keeps your skin cells quenched and healthy.
Adjust the products in your skincare routine
Not every product in your skincare routine is suitable for the summer heat. For example, a good SPF sunscreen usually has moisturizing agents blended into it, so there’s no need to use an extra moisturizer like you would in the winter. Doing so would just put the excess product on your skin. On the other hand, an antioxidant product (containing vitamin C or polyphenols) would be a great addition to a summer routine! Antioxidants help fight the effects of pollution on the skin, by cleansing it of the ‘free radicals’ created by exposure to UVA rays. Examples of antioxidant products include green tree oil, l-ascorbic acid, and carrot seed oil. Retinoids, combined with a proper SPF sunscreen, exfoliate the skin, induce the production of collagen, and also help repair skin damage from exposure to the sun.