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You may be excited to see summer arriving, but increased sunshine can mean increased risk to your skin. These brighter months are not just about getting a tan and looking good. You need to be careful with your skin if you want to really enjoy this part of the year, especially if you are exposing more of it to the sun.
That’s not to say you need to radically change your skincare regimen. If you have a good routine with products that work for you, the change in the seasons may not mean too much of an adjustment. Your skin can be pretty resilient on its own if you give it time to adapt.
The single most important thing about taking care of your skin in the summer is protecting it from too many UV rays, especially if you have fair skin that burns easily. Many experts recommend using sunscreen all year-round, but in the summer, it becomes absolutely essential. Too much sunshine can cause discoloration and wrinkles. Even more worryingly, it is one of the leading causes of skin cancer, even without sunburn.
Of course, sunscreen remains the most obvious source of sun protection. Sunscreen is measured in sun protection factor, or SPF. This refers to how long it will protect you rather than its power. For example, an SPF of 15 means you can be in the sun 15 times longer than normal before you burn. SPF 15 is probably the bare minimum you should be looking for, but the higher, the better. Most experts will recommend you look for at least SPF 30.
SPF only measures protection from UVB rays. UVA rays can also damage the skin and increase your risk of cancer. Look for sunscreens that specify that they protect you from both kinds of UV, which may mean they use the “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” labels.
The effectiveness of sunscreen also depends on how you apply it. Put it on at least 15 minutes before stepping outside to allow it time to work, and ensure you rub in a plentiful supply. Work methodically over your body to ensure no patch of exposed skin is missed - the face (including the nose and on and behind the ears), neck, shoulders, back (get someone to help if necessary), stomach, legs and feet all the way down to the toes.
Good sunscreen should specify that it is waterproof, but you should reapply it after swimming anyway, as well as after any situation when you become particularly sweaty. If you're wearing makeup, apply it over your sunscreen.
Some sunscreens can contain other chemicals that are harmful to the body, especially if you have sensitive skin. Others, such as Natural Organic Summer Sunscreen, are designed to minimize unnecessary chemicals to treat your skin more gently without as many health risks.
Your lips can be one of the first areas to show signs of skin cancer. They are also prone to becoming dry and cracked. They are often neglected, however, when it comes to sunscreen and other protection. There are lip balms and even lipsticks with their own SPF rating. Reapply every few hours and check every time you have something to drink.
Sun protection does not just have to be limited to sunscreen. Hats and sunglasses can also be an important part of keeping your skin safe. A t-shirt that covers the shoulders can still be cool and lightweight but presents less risk than a strappy top. Darker-colored, sturdier fabrics such as denim provide more protection from UV rays than thinner materials such as linen, but they will be less comfortable on a hot day. Some clothing is even designed specifically to protect from UV rays and comes with its own UPF rating.
The summer is likely to see your skin become sweatier and oilier, so using cleanser regularly becomes even more important. Moisturizers, on the other hand, can be much lighter during the summer. Products containing antioxidants such as Non-greasy with Salicylic Acid, Vitamins C and E Day Serum can be very beneficial to the skin, but retinoid products can make you more sensitive to sunlight.
The main consideration for taking care of your skin in the summer months is sun protection, alongside general advice about keeping it clean and hydrated. Just a few simple steps can guard against wrinkles, discoloration and aging as well as the even more important role of reducing your risk of skin cancer.