It’s no secret that the sun can do a number on your skin. Overexposure can bring on age spots, wrinkles, and a rough, crepey texture that makes you look and feel older than you are. In some cases, this sun damage can lead to something more serious than superficial cosmetic issues — skin cancer.
It's important to remember to protect your skin from the sun and elements. Dr. Eugene Lee at Refresh Rx Hawaii specializes in helping patients reduce — and in some cases, reverse — the effects of sun damage. But before it gets to that point, he urges his patients to prevent the damage before it ever occurs.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe in the island sun all summer long.
Other than avoiding the sun completely, nothing protects your skin better than sunscreen — even on cloudy days. But not just any sunscreen will do. Read the label and make sure you’re getting the right ingredients to do the job.
The sun protection factor (SPF) indicates the amount of time the product will protect your skin compared to no sunscreen at all. So if your unprotected skin normally starts to turn red after 10 minutes in the sun and you use a lotion with an SPF of 8, theoretically, you could stay in the sun safely for 80 minutes.
Dr. Lee recommends an SPF of at least 30 applied liberally every two hours. Don’t bother with products that claim an SPF over 50, as it hasn’t been proven that protection that high exists. Just make sure to slather up early and often.
Not all sunscreens are created equal. Lower SPF products do not offer full- or broad-spectrum protection. Look for lotions that block both UVA as well as UVB rays.
The sun is at its most intense between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. To prevent burning and other damage, do your best to stay out of the direct sun during this time of day.
If you must go outdoors during the danger zone, make sure to wear sunscreen or sunscreen-infused clothing. Wide-brimmed hats, as well as garments with UVA and UVB protection (shirts, hats, pants, swimsuits, etc.), can give you a leg up on sun protection.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it gets thirsty. Summers can be humid, so you may not notice that your skin is dehydrated. Moisturize regularly with lotion and drink plenty of water all day long to ensure your skin’s health from the inside out.
Certain foods may also help your skin stay healthy this summer by keeping you hydrated and increasing your body’s natural defenses against harmful sun rays. Load up on these antioxidant-laden favorites:
Because your skin is a living, breathing thing, it is constantly regenerating and producing new cells. The old cells on the surface can make your skin look dull and dry until they slough off.
Give your new skin cells a head start by exfoliating at least once or twice a week with a loofa (physical exfoliating) or a gentle topical scrub (chemical exfoliating). Either way, make sure you choose mild products that will not damage your skin. The goal is to brighten and refresh your complexion by allowing the newer skin to shine through.
When you’re asleep, your skin’s regeneration process is at its peak. The better your sleep quality, the better your complexion. That’s because when you rest, your skin takes a break from daily stress and environmental elements — things that harm your skin.
During the wee hours, your skin may also be in a better state to respond to skincare products. So give the process a boost by applying moisturizer at night before you hit the hay and again in the morning as you’re about to face the day.
These tips should help you prevent sun damage this summer. But if you already have sun damage, Dr. Lee may be able to help you turn back the clock and reverse it. He uses the popular, effective, and noninvasive PicoSure® laser treatment to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and spots caused by overexposure to the sun’s damaging rays.
If you have questions about sun damage or the revolutionary PicoSure treatment, call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee.