The sun is shining, the birds are singing—and your skin is burning to a crisp. Summer is the time to be outside, swimming, hiking, and enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, that sunshine could be spelling trouble for your skin, both now and in the future.
Sun damage is very common, especially in Southern areas like Texas. Over time, the sun’s rays create changes in the skin that can lead to premature aging and even skin cancer.
So, what can you do to prevent and reverse sun damage? Here are some tips.
How Does the Sun Affect Your Skin?
We all need to spend time outdoors, soaking up the sun. Sunshine lifts our mood and allows our bodies to produce vitamin D. Unfortunately, it also exposes our skin to harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays.
UVA and UVA rays harm the skin and can cause damage that affects both the health and appearance of the skin. While a tan might seem healthy, the truth is that the darker pigment is a result of the skin trying to protect itself. Consistently tanning over the years will affect the skin’s appearance and texture.
Sun damage is cumulative and eventually leads to a weathered, leathery appearance, wrinkles, and brown spots. UV rays damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, which are proteins that help the skin to stay smooth, supple, and youthful. Our bodies naturally start to produce less collagen and elastin as we get older, but frequent sun exposure significantly speeds up the aging process.
Finally, sun exposure can cause damage to the DNA within your skin cells, eventually causing skin cancer. Though most forms are highly treatable, skin cancer can be disfiguring and melanoma can be life-threatening. It’s important to get any unusual-looking skin lesions checked out as soon as possible to screen for cancer cells.
Rethink Your Tanning Attitudes
We know, it’s hard to give up that natural glow. But you should know that not only is tanning unsafe, but it’s also robbing you of years and years of beautiful, youthful-looking skin. If you tan regularly, you’re borrowing from your future.
It’s not safe to tan in the sun or in a tanning bed. That doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all the time, but it does mean that you should take some serious precautions when you’re out in the sun.
Having trouble giving up your tanning bed subscription? There are plenty of sunless tanners on the market these days. If you really can’t live without that bronzed look, consider skipping the UVs and reaching for something less risky.
Yes, You Really Do Need to Wear Sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen properly can be inconvenient, we’re not going to lie. But it’s also one of the best ways to protect your skin against sun damage, skin cancer, and premature aging. Every time you’re going to be spending time outside, you should be slathering it on at regular intervals.
In addition to using enough sunscreen per application (at least an ounce), you also need to reapply it often, especially if you’re swimming or sweating. Getting into the habit isn’t easy, but it will start to feel natural after a while.
Remember to look at the ingredients of your sunscreen, too. Some formulas contain harmful chemicals that can affect you and the environment. Your sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF—that foundation containing 10 SPF just isn’t going to cut it.
Change Up Your Summer Wardrobe
When we think of summer, we think of shorts, bikinis, and tank tops. While these garments are great for staying cool, they’re not so great for protecting you from UV rays.
In addition to wearing sunscreen on any exposed areas of your skin, think about switching up your wardrobe and wearing long sleeves and long pants. Swimsuit cover-ups, sunglasses, and other accessories can also help to protect your skin. You can even buy clothing that offers UV protection—typically around 50 SPF!
Not ready to ditch your shorts? Try sitting in the shade as much as possible to prevent sunburns and sun damage.
Consider Your Exposure
Are you exposing your skin to UV rays without even realizing it? Many people aren’t aware that you can be exposed to harmful rays even on cloudy days. Your skin can even be harmed by rays coming in through windows in your home or in the car.
Whenever you’re going to be outdoors or exposed to direct sunlight through a window, you should take precautions like wearing sunscreen. If you can, you should also avoid being outside during the brightest part of the day, typically between noon and 4 PM.
Choose the Right Products
If you want to keep your skin as dewy and youthful as possible, you need to pamper it a little. Create a regular skincare regimen based on your skin type (an aesthetician can help you make a plan that works for your skin) and use high-quality products that hydrate, nourish, and repair. Getting soft, glowing skin takes a little effort, but it’s worth it.
Get Professional Skin Treatments
If you’ve already got some sun damage, don’t panic. There are ways to improve your skin health, boost collagen production, and rejuvenate your complexion. Resurfacing procedures like IPL (intense pulsed light) or SkinPen treatments can remove brown spots and make the skin appear more youthful.
Sagging skin and wrinkles may require a different approach. Injectable fillers can help to fill in static wrinkles and folds while sagging skin might benefit from Ulthera non-surgical skin tightening. An aesthetician will help you design the perfect treatment plan for tackling your sun damage symptoms.
Invest in Your Skin
If you want to maintain your skin health and appearance, you need to put some time, effort, and money into keeping it youthful and protected from the sun. At Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, our aestheticians can help. Call (281) 810-9083 to schedule a consultation at our renowned Texas medical spa.