Summer’s extreme weather conditions are hard on the skin. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are obviously a big factor, but they are far from the only problem. The high temperatures and wind exposure can dry out the skin cells, while salty sweat can both dry the skin and clog pores. Humidity can keep a person from sweating, trapping toxins and impurities beneath the surface to turn into blemishes. Here are five tips to keep skin looking its best and feeling healthy all summer long.
Use Sunscreen with Moisturizers, Not the Other Way Around
For a person who isn’t spending a lot of time outdoors, it is fine to use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, but for those spending lots of time in the sun, it is important to use a higher SPF than can be found in most lotions. Sunscreen without moisturizers can either be greasy or can dry out the skin. Instead a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 with added lotion will protect skin from the sun and keep it from drying or getting greasy.
Blot, Don’t Rub
Many people keep a dry towel handy for drying sweat when they spend a lot of time outdoors in the heat. Unfortunately, there is also a tendency to wipe the towel across the face, rather than blotting the skin dry. This can be a problem because no matter how soft the towel, the fibers are causing friction against the face, which can lead to skin irritation after prolonged use. Instead, one should gently dab the towel over the face to soak up the sweat.
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When sweat and dust and sunscreen combine, it can cause a big dirty mess on the face and neck. To combat this, there are several pre-moistened facial cleansing cloths on the market for all skin types. Using these once or twice a day will help keep the dirt from clogging pores or salt from drying skin out. Sunscreen should be reapplied after each use of a cleansing cloth.
Don’t Forget Your Neck
There is a tendency to focus on the skin of the face and ignore other parts of the body, but the neck, upper chest, hands and arms often see just as much sun as the face does. Therefore, it is important to apply the same products and procedures to all those areas, not just the fact. The hands and neck need just as much sunscreen as the face and, whenever they are exposed to the sun, so do the arms and upper chest.
The best way to protect against dry skin is to stay properly hydrated from within. If a person is not getting enough water, the skin will not get enough water either. During the summer, people often drink more beer and soda than they would normally and these kinds of drinks can lead to dehydration if a person does not also drink plenty of water. Adding a mint leaf or a drop of peppermint oil to water will improve the taste and also help a person stay cooler in the heat because mint helps reduce body temperature. This may also reduce the body’s need to sweat and will be beneficial to the skin in that way also.
As temperatures continue to soar, practicing good summer skin care habits will can help you keep your skin looking healthy and prevent skin cancer while having fun in the sun.
This article was contributed by Mountain View Dermatology, a Boulder, Colorado dermatology center that helps people patients prevent and treat skin cancer.