The official start of summer is here! There are a number of ways to help minimize the effects of the sun on your skin and help prevent long-term skin damage during the summer months.
Dr. Tina Alster, Avvo.com medical advisor; director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, is a highly-regarded dermatologist who has received many honors, including listings in America’s Best Doctors, Town & Country’s Best Cosmetic Surgeons, Allure’s Influencer of the Year, and many others.
Dr. Alser offers these tips for staying safe in the sun:
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 (basal cell, squamous cell, melanoma) 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.
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 amounts are applied (e.g., at least a marble’s size for the face and a golf ball amount for the body). Frequent applications of sunscreen are 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 a.m. to 2 p.m.), when the sun’s rays are strongest.
The strongest and most dangerous UV rays are emitted at 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.
Here are some of the latest and greatest in the world of sunscreen:
- Dermablend features SPF in many of their coverage products: Smooth Indulgence SPF 20 Concealer, Smooth Indulgence SPF 20 Foundation, Quick Fix Concealer SPF 30 and Leg and Body Cover SPF 15.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60, a two-time award winner, is an ultra-light sunscreen fluid with a quick-drying matte finish.
- Up & Up Sport Sunscreen spray has an SPF of 30.
- Coppertone features two new spray sunscreens: Sport Pro Series and Wet ’n Clear. Both are water and sweat resistant.
- Australian Gold’s Sheer Coverage Lotion comes in SPF 8, 15 and 30.
New options for fans of a more natural route:
- COOLA organic sun care collection features their new plant uv face spf 30 unscented moisturizer and new plant uv body spf 30 unscented moisturizer. They’re 70% organic and hit the cruelty-free, green-friendly and recycle-friendly trifecta.
- Caribbean Solutions offer natural, hypo-allergenic sun screen products. The Environmental Working Group has awarded their biodegradable sun blocks one of their highest ratings.
- Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Moisture Plus Lotion SPF 15 fights photo-aging with sunflower, jojoba and borage oils.
- Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen – Broad Spectrum SPF 50 gets props for the longest name and for their oil-free, paraben-free, paba-free and fragrance-free formula.
I also spoke to Ava Anderson from Ava Anderson Non Toxic about her sunscreen. “We use only non-nanoparticle zinc oxide and five organic, botanical ingredients. It provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, at 33.5 SPF, without harmful chemicals for humans or the environment. It’s perfect for even the most sensitive skins.” Rub in well She recommends rubbing it in well, as with any mineral and non-nanopartical sunscreen. Her sun protection products include sunscreen 30+ SPF, lip balm SPF 15 and moisturizer SPF 15.