Summer is officially here and it’s time to pack out bags for a fun getaway. Don’t forget to pack a good hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses!
There is an overwhelming amount of information for us to sift through regarding sunscreen and exposure to sunshine. Today I’m going to touch on a few questions I address almost daily. I do love the feel of sunshine and have unfortunately spent hours basking ocean and pool side over my life time. Yes, damage has incurred and over the years I have been a lot more careful than I used to be. Seeing the damaging affects of sun, and skin cancer daily really does put a damper on your fun-in-the-sun adventures .. Debbi Downer, right? So what can we do now and is it too late? Nope ..read on!
In our teens and twenties we get cute little freckles and a nice tan line from our time spent at the beach or lake front. Fast forward 20 or 30 years and it’s not so cute anymore. The exposure we had at a young age shows up on our face and body years later, finally paying the price for all that fun. Some of my patients say the damage has already been done by the time they’re mid life, so what difference does it make now? I say yes, it does make a difference now. Skin is delicate and we are more prone to those damaging rays. Bottom line here is that you should start taking care of your skin early in life and continue taking precautions against the suns damaging rays (remember a tan is sun damage) forever.
Things to consider..
- Vitamin D: Yes, we do need vitamin D however you don’t need to tan per-say to get what your body needs. About 15 minutes of sunshine to legs or arms a day does the trick. The face is a small area (relative to arms and legs) and the skin is more sensitive there so for that reason I recommend always wearing sunglasses and a cap or hat. Regarding a Vitamin D supplement: Generally 2,000 IU is what’s recommended daily however it’s best to get a blood test first to find out your levels and then speak with your doctor to determine the best dose for you.
- Sunscreen in the winter : You need to protect your skin year round, even on cloudy days. I always tell my patients that the sun is still out on a cloudy day, it’s just hiding behind the clouds.
- For prolonged periods of direct sun exposure wear a light cotton top, and a hat and sunglasses. A cotton top will provide a little bit of protection but you will still need sunscreen. Cabanas, beach umbrellas, and palm trees offer additional protection when you are enjoying a resort vacation and spending lots of time outdoors.
- Fake your bake: Self tanner is better that the baking in the sun. Tanning products have improved over the years so you don’t look orange. Here is my favorite!
Sunscreen: Patients ask me daily which sunscreen I recommend. I say the one that you will wear daily. Most people don’t wear sunscreen because it’s greasy, makes their skin break out, or gives them a rash. There are essentially two types of sun protection. Physical sunscreens protect the skin by deflecting or blocking the sun’s rays while chemical sunscreens absorb and scatter the sun ray’s. Common ingredients for chemical blocks are Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and Helioplex. Chemical blocks are generally better to use if you will be in water or sweating. The downside is that there is some controversy about the chemicals on skin and sometimes these sunscreens feel greasy and may irritate skin. Physical blocks are generally better tolerated and contain ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Out of these two ingredients, zinc oxide (often the main ingredient in diaper rash cream) is the most gentle and can be used on very sensitive skin. Be aware that some nanoparticals are controversial and certain chemicals haven’t been FDA approved.
There are lots of great options for sunscreen. Try them all and find one that you like and will wear daily. Skinceuticals makes a couple that are popular with my patients. The Sheer Physical Defense is a great for the face. If you feel like your face looks “white” after application, you’ve put too much on. All you need is a couple drops with your moisturizer. My personal favorite from this line is the Physical Matte UV Defense. It’s not as watery and has a mousse-like texture.
New on my vanity is Coola Sport and Babo Botanicals. The Coola similar ingredients to the SkinCeutical product and the Babo is non-nano zinc so it’s great for really sensitive skin. Both are chemical free, physical blocks which are my preference. Both of these can be used on face or body.
While we are on the subject of stocking up on summer essentials I can’t forget a few more of my favorites!
- Turkish towels are so versatile. Use them as bath or beach towels and you can also take them lakeside for a picnic. These are my favorite! Love the colors, they are super soft and wash well.
- Baggu bags are amazing and will hold all of your groceries or try the larger size for your beach supplies! Baggu continues to come up with fun designs and I’m loving the stripes!
- Kai Body Butter is my favorite summer body cream. I also carry the Body Perfume Oil that comes with a convenient roll on top.
- Lalicious Coconut Cream Sugar Scrub Soufflé .. yes, that’s right and nothing else needs to be said :)