Summer is finally here and many of us will be heading to the beach, poolside, or backyard BBQs to enjoy the sunshine. And though many of us look as the summer months a great opportunity to relax…it can be a particularly stressful time for our skin and hair.
Skincare and hair experts agree that the summer months are uniquely hard on our skin and hair but don’t worry, you can still safely enjoy some long awaited time outside by following a few great tips.
How to protect your skin this summer…
For the most part we know the basics about SPF…we know it’s a good thing and that we need to use it. Dermatologist Dr. Tina Alster offers several specific ways to utilize sunscreen (and other products/methods) to minimize the effects of the sun on your skin as well as help prevent long-term skin damage during the summer months:
Tip #1: Load up on sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher, regardless of your skin tone.
Because the three most common types of skin cancers are related to cumulative sun exposure, protection of the skin from the sun is imperative (regardless of skin type). In fact, skin cancers have been reported in patients with naturally dark skin as well as pale skin, so just because someone tans (rather than burns) it doesn’t mean that skin cancer is not possible. (Lip balm with SPF is also important!)
Tip #2: Apply… and Reapply.
While makeup and face moisturizers that contain SPF provide enough protection if you are only going to the office (with limited sun exposure), if outdoor activity is planned, these products will only suffice if ample amount is applied (e.g., at least a marble’s size for the face and a golf ball amount for the body). Frequent application of sunscreen is needed – at least every two hours if you’re outside. Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to render themselves protected to the numerical amount printed on the bottle.
Tip #3: If you want a tanned look, apply self-tanners, bronzers, or go for a spray tan – don’t use tanning beds.
Most tanning booths claim to be safe because they emit UVA rays (not UVB rays) that don’t burn your skin. However, these same rays, while non-burning, are responsible for deeper dermal damage over time which contributes to wrinkles and skin cancer.
Tip #4: Stay out of the sun during peak midday hours (10 am to 2 pm), when the sun’s rays are strongest.
The strongest and most dangerous UV rays are emitted during mid-day. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade. When in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face, ears and neck, a sleeved-shirt to cover your shoulders, and long pants. There are many lightweight and fashionable clothing lines available today designed to protect you in the sun.
Related: Dispelling Five Common Skin Myths
Tip #5: Seek out an experienced practitioner for skin care advice and treatment.
Everyone should have their skin checked once a year by a dermatologist who specializes in skin cancer prevention and treatment. It’s critical that people do their homework to find someone who can provide the best care.
Dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, offers the following dietary recommendations for skin health this summer:
Tip #6: Add more raw fruits and vegetables to your grocery list
Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as dietary supplements, can also help defend skin from the sun and the resulting damage. Add food such as broccoli, tomatoes, cranberries and spinach to your grocery list and take a supplement containing Pomegranate Extract for maximum benefits.
Tip #7: Get your EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids)
Add extra healthy fats to your diet, like flax-seed oil, olive oil, seeds and oil from cold-water fish (like black cod and salmon) to attract water to dehydrated cells and prevent future water loss. Healthy water-tight cells mean better overall skin health including a reduction in the skin damage cycle that leads to cellulite and sagging skin.
Related: 5 Foods that Can Flatten Your Belly
Tip #8: Eat more eggs
When weakened skin and connective tissue can no longer hold fat invisibly in place, it migrates up through the skin to become cellulite. To build healthy new cells with strong membranes, your body needs lecithin, which is found in many foods – including eggs, soy, spinach, peanuts, apples, cauliflower, and potatoes.
How to protect your hair this summer…
While it is extrenely important to protect your skin this summer, there are also ways you can protect your hair. Dr. Alan J. Bauman, board-certified hair restoration physician and expert on hair science, shares the following recommendations for hair health during the summer months:
Tip #1: Use the right shampoo & conditioner
This is the first line of defense for your hair and can create a protective layer against environmental damage. Use a shampoo that is sulfate-free and has a deep cleanser – it should remove pollutants but not strip the hair of its essential oils. The conditioner should protect and lubricate the cuticle, so look for one with amino silicones and cationic surfactants.
Related: Popular Beauty Myths, Debunked!
Tip #2: Protective treatments
Sunscreen can be applied directly to the hair as a “sunblock” to protect its color. Applying lightweight silicone products to damp hair will protect against frizz while enhancing shine.
Tip #3: Vitamins
Make sure your diet includes several key vitamins for your hair, like iron, zinc, biotin, selenium and B-12.
Tip #4: Hair supplements
Nutritional supplements like Viviscal will also boost the quality and growth factor of your hair, helping you in summer.
Tip #5: Avoid damaging activities
During hot summer months, be extra careful about these risk factors: pool chlorine, hair dye, blow dryers, curling and flat irons, straightening and over shampooing.
More from GalTime:
- Drink Yourself Skinny
- How You and Your Partner Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep
- 4 Tops Tips to Stop Overeating
- Health Tests Women Need in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and Beyond!
Danielle Miller is a freelance writer and editor from the Boston area. She is a publishing project manager and has written articles on health and relationship-related topics for various outlets for several years. She is also a book editor, working mainly on books relating to science, technology, and user experience.