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Seven tips for summer skincare

You already know that sunscreen is crucial for your skin’s health. In the summertime, it’s even more important to use the most effective products in the correct ways.

Your skin needs extra attention when the sun is intense, says Piedmont dermatologist and Mohs surgeon David Harvey, M.D. But skincare is about more than just topical sunscreen.

Here are Dr. Harvey’s tips for keeping your skin healthy this summer.

1. Choose the correct sunscreen.

Select a sunscreen rated at least SPF 30, Dr. Harvey says, but there’s no need to pay premiums for super-high SPF. Past SPF 30, the difference in sun protection is “negligible,” he says.

If you know you’re going to be in water or sweating, choose a water-resistant option. But no matter what you’re doing, it’s important to buy sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays, the two types of ultraviolet rays that cause skin damage.

“You want to make sure it says broad spectrum,” Dr. Harvey says.  

2. Don’t forget to cover everything (and cover it often).

Wherever your skin is exposed, sunscreen is needed, Dr. Harvey says. That includes areas like around your eyes, the back of your neck, and the tops of your feet. Whichever sunscreen you choose, Dr. Harvey says, you’ll need to apply more every couple of hours.

Shirts and other apparel can protect your skin from harsh summer rays, but keep in mind that not all clothing is created equally. Thin items don’t always offer enough protection, Dr. Harvey says, so consider buying clothes with SPF.

3. Try to stay indoors in the middle of the day.  

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun is at its most intense and most dangerous. You can still go outside, but reserve most of your activities for early morning or evening.

“If you’re active and outside, choose time frames that are less intense,” Dr. Harvey says.

4. If your skin is at high risk, talk to your dermatologist.

If you have very fair skin, a history of skin cancer, or other risk factors, your doctor can recommend special products or routines for summer safety. Some dietary supplements can offer extra protection against UV rays, Dr. Harvey says.

“For people who are really prone to sun exposure, we might recommend something to take orally as well as topically,” he says.  

5. Consider switching moisturizers.

If you’re prone to acne, stay away from creams and try gel options in the summer, Dr. Harvey says. You may want to consult a dermatologist to find the best routine for your skin type.  

6. Remember that a little sweat isn’t a bad thing.

It’s summertime, and you’re going to get hot and sweaty. That’s not always fun, but perspiration serves a purpose, Dr. Harvey says: cooling your body down.

Sweating is a very natural and effective response to getting hot,” he says. So even though it may feel uncomfortable from time to time, don’t worry too much about sweating in the summer. Your body needs it.

7. Don’t forget the sunglasses.

Dr. Harvey removes a lot of skin cancers near eyes. Sunglasses offer protection for both your eyes themselves as well as the skin around them.

No matter what your summer routine is, remember that some sun protection is always better than none. If you find yourself without sunscreen, for example, try moisturizer with SPF instead.

“It’s a protective agent that will work better than nothing,” Dr. Harvey says.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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