Summer sun feels so good on your skin. But don’t let that warm, fuzzy feeling fool you: Summer sun not only ages your skin — causing wrinkles, sagging, and brown spots — it raises your risk for skin cancer. Even a “healthy” looking tan is actually a manifestation of your skin actively trying to protect itself (and you) from permanent damage.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Every hour, one person in the U.S. dies from malignant melanoma.
So how do you enjoy fun in the sun while still taking care of your skin so that you stay healthy for life? Dr. Julio Garcia, a top Las Vegas plastic surgeon, knows something about healthy skin and shares some tips below:
Always Be Covering
Yes, sun safety’s really as simple as ABC: always cover your skin when you’re outside. That starts with slathering on either a broad-spectrum, water-resistant physical or chemical sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapplying it frequently. You should cover all of your exposed skin with at least one ounce of sunscreen about 15 minutes before you go outdoors.
A physical sunscreen acts as a barrier and deflects the sun’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays away from your skin. Active ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreens are great for kids and others with sensitive skin, because they don’t contain harsh chemicals. Physical sunscreens usually create a whitish layer on your skin when applied properly.
Chemical sunscreens are easier to rub into your skin. Rather than deflecting the sun’s rays, chemical sunscreens absorb the rays like a sponge, preventing them from reaching your skin. Look for active ingredients such as oxybenzone, avonbenzon, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and oxtinoxate.
You should wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors or by a sunny window, including while driving. Re-apply the sunscreen every two hours and after every time you swim or sweat. Don’t forget to apply to your back, top of your head, behind your ears, neck, and tops of your feet.
While it may seem counterintuitive, loose, breathable clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, torso, and legs keeps you cooler and safer than tank tops and shorts. If you’re at high risk for skin cancer, due to fair skin or a family or personal history, you can buy specialized clothing that provides extra sun protection. These articles of clothing are given an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, based on how much protection they provide due to either their weave, type of fabric, or added reflectant chemicals.
Whether you have UPF-rated clothing or not, look for tightly woven fabrics, which can stop the sun from reaching your skin. Darker colors actually do a better job of stopping the sun that light colors do. Just wearing a dark tee-shirt when you swim or surf to minimizes your exposure.
Hats are essential when outdoors to protect your face and decolletage, as well as your vulnerable scalp (where you may not think to put sunscreen, though you should). Whenever possible, wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your chest and shoulders, too. Carry or rent a beach umbrella for the shore or parks, or find a shady tree when you can.
Time Your Fun
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 2 pm, so try to avoid being outdoors during those hours. If you must be in the sun, double-down on your sunscreen and protective clothing and hats.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and needs to stay moist and supple to protect your body from the environment. Despite the marketing efforts of beverage companies, the fact is that just plain filtered water is still the best way to keep yourself fully hydrated so that your skin can do its job.
Up your intake of water and other healthy, hydrating beverages, such as green tea, on sunny days. If you can’t get hold of water, try fruit such as watermelon or grapes, fruit juice, sports drinks, flavored waters, or even soup! And don’t wait until you feel thirsty to start sipping or chewing: Thirst is a sign that you’re already slightly dehydrated.
Rather than relying on bottled water or other liquids, prepare and carry your own in a stainless steel flask or thermos. If you need something lighter, choose a water bottle made of BPA-free plastic.
Pamper Your Skin
Even with protective clothing, sunscreen, shade, and plenty of water, being outdoors in the heat depletes your skin of moisture through sweat and evaporation. Take extra good care of your skin by getting a medical-grade skincare system with hyaluronic acid and other nourishing ingredients, and choosing the best plastic surgeon in las vegas.
Dr. Garcia can even tailor a skincare regimen that’s based on your unique DNA. The iDDNA anti-aging treatment consists of creams and supplements that stimulate your body’s regenerative powers to help you improve:
- Sagging skin
- Puffy eyes
- Red or uneven skin tone
If your skin’s already been damaged by the sun, Dr. Garcia offers a variety of treatments that help your skin repair itself so that you look and feel younger and healthier. He and his aesthetic team use laser therapy and chemical peels to boost the production of collagen and elastin to give your skin greater strength and resiliency.
Laser therapy improves the surface of your skin, too, by removing dark spots, freckles, and evening out your tone. Dr. Garcia also uses cytokine therapy and growth factor therapy to rejuvenate and repair your skin by stimulating its wound-healing response.
Whether you’re looking for reliable skincare and sun protection, or need to undo prior sun damage, choosing the best plastic surgeon in las vegas is a great first step. Call Dr. Garcia for a summer skin consultation. You can reach him by phone or online booking form.