Even though there is an abundance of credible sources on the Internet and extensive programs to educate the public about the potential harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays to our skin, there are still thousands of people who dedicate hour after hour of their summer’s leisure time to sitting in direct sunlight and “soaking up rays.” This phenomenon is hinged upon the overall perception of beauty in today’s society. Still, the dermatologists serving patient needs at Windsor Dermatology agree that over exposing one’s skin to harmful rays from the sun can potentially lead to certain types of skin cancer and other progressive skin disorders.
The team at Windsor Dermatology has created a list of helpful tips for protecting your skin this summer based upon decades of professional research and practice. Our suggestions are meant to increase the body’s capacity to regenerate healthy epidermis and prevent skin disease potentially caused by the summer season.
- Hydrate the body. There are two methods of hydration for the body; internal and external. Be conscious of the body’s need for both. Neglecting one and concentrating on the other will leave some aspect of effective long-term care of the epidermis in need of reinforcement. Drink several glasses of water daily. Select drinks that will restore electrolytes that are lost through perspiration caused by rigorous sport activities on the sand or in the water. When venturing outdoors for the day, include a small spritzer of a hydrating compound that will restore necessary surface elements to the epidermis and work as a compliment to concerted internal hydration efforts. Speak with the team at Windsor before purchasing products formulated to hydrate the epidermis.
- Choose a dual function moisturizer. With today’s technological and pharmaceutical advances products that both moisturize and protect are available. Become knowledgeable about a few of the factors you need to consider before making a purchase. Why buy a moisturizer lacking SPF when there is a good alternative with at least a minimal SPF value? Ask your dermatologist if your skin would benefit from a moisturizer or topical skin product with a higher SPF value. The use of products with a higher SPF value may also be indicated for those working in professions that require excessive UV ray exposure, such as working as a life guard at an outdoor pool or working as landscaper during the prolonged daylight hours.
- Swim and lounge indoors. Many facilities offer both an outdoor and indoor pool. When deciding on which aqua-fitness facility to join for the summer, seek one with that alternate option of the indoor pool. A dual featured facility is the best choice. Using the indoor pool at least part of the day will ensure that those harmful UV rays are minimized for the summer.
- Rinse away chemical residue. Still, there are certain precautions that should be taken when using any public pool. Due to the large number of visitors daily, a public pool requires a different chemical formula to maintain both a healthy PH balance and the cleanliness of the water. Primarily, always leave the pool in time to rinse thoroughly, especially before going to bed. This habit will prevent a buildup of residue that could become an irritant to the epidermis after continuous daily summer water activity.
- Avoid direct sunlight. It is natural and healthy after the change of the seasons to desire outdoor activities that increase stamina and relieve stress. Nonetheless, the sun always takes its toll, whether through initial burning of the epidermis or the eventual carcinoma. Therefore, it remains essential to minimize UV ray exposure even during those outdoor activities that are not water focused. Whether riding a bicycle or competing in a beach ball tournament, the skin must be protected. Unlike some activities when clothing is of the utmost visual importance, during outdoor summer activities consider wearing a lightweight long sleeve top. Select a gauzy cotton and avoid polyester because it will not permit the skin to breathe and will retain the heat that the body is attempting to shed.
- Use protective lenses. The Windsor team is up-to-date with current trends in the medical sciences. We strongly suggest that our patients wear sun glasses throughout the year, but especially on cloudless summer days when UV rays bounce off reflective surfaces such as white stone or glass walled skyscrapers. In fact, most informed medical professionals now agree that using a pair of high quality UV blocking glasses will help prevent AMD or what is better known as age-related macular degeneration. While this disease generally presents itself in those at least 70 years of age or more, it is a known fact that the disease like skin cell carcinoma, is progressive and often preventable.
- Avoid heat stroke. Listen to your body. When out in the sun pushing the body to the limit, it is wise to rest if a wave of fatigue is experienced. Use the rest period to rehydrate the body, pour cool water over the head and torso until the body heat dissipates and reapply those protective moisturizers that have been absorbed or rubbed away while being active. The need for rest periods may increase depending upon activity and age.
- Lastly, make sure to apply sunscreen generously! We recommend applying sunscreen every day you are outside, reapplying at least once for every hour you are in the sun. This is important even on cloudy days or if you are just walking to and from short distances. A helpful hint is that if you need to ask when your sunscreen expires, you are not using enough of it. When looking for a sunscreen, make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection (to protect against UVA and UVB rays), an SPF of 30 or higher, and that it is water resistant. Remember that your lips can also burn and using a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of 30 or higher is necessary as well.
There are many negative consequences resulting from continual outdoor summer activity in the sun without protection. So, rather than attempt to alter basic human nature, our Windsor Dermatology team looks to various interventions that can be employed by the patient every day. None of the measures listed above need to be time consuming. Nor does any preventative measure require a bundle of supplies. Still play in the sun, but do so wisely with consistent protection. These methods of protection can be practiced by children and adults alike. And as with other positive reinforcement of good habits, so it is with establishing consistent routines to help prevent skin disease caused by overexposure to UV rays.
The team of Windsor Dermatology experts and all of our employees wish each of you a safe and enjoyable summer. We encourage you to call us or come by the office in East Windsor, NJ if you feel there is a need for an evaluation of the skin due to summer activity stress or seasonal trauma. All of our contact information may be accessed by visiting our company website.