Five Smart Ways to “Summerize” Your Skin

The summer season means more time outdoors wearing lighter, comfier, skin-baring clothes. Is your skin as ready for warm weather as you are? It’s not just your complexion that requires special care; arms, legs and other areas normally covered need protection from heat, dryness and especially the sun. Here are five easy ways to stay sun-safe and stunning from head to toe:

Always. Use. Sunscreen.

It’s a well-known fact: The sun is the #1 reason skin can age before its time. So whenever you’re exposed to those rays, skin needs a generous slathering of sunscreen. Choose products labeled ‘broad-spectrum’ to ensure you’re protected from both UVA and UVB radiation. And don’t skimp: Aim for a full teaspoon of sunscreen for your face, and roughly a shot-glass worth for your body (that’s about 1.5 ounces). Be sure to reapply it every two hours if you’re outside. Shield eyes and hair, too: UV sunglasses and a summer hat can keep you pretty and protected.

Stay hydrated, inside and out

Since summer heat can be very drying, you need to up your game when it comes to replenishing moisture. One way is to keep a water bottle handy and drink an ample daily supply of H20. It’s also vital to give skin added hydration from the outside: Look for intensive serums made from hyaluronic acid, which are ideal for layering beneath a rich moisturizer. Face spritzers are also great for cooling off giving skin an added bit of moisture when you’re on the go.

Nix the perfume if you’re going outdoors

Your favorite fragrance may be delightful, but use caution if you’re going in the sun (even with sunscreen). Not only are perfumes a magnet for bugs, but they also can add to your risk of burning and developing dark spots. Some fragrances--especially those with citrus notes--can be photosensitive, which means they can cause extra pigment when exposed to sunlight.  So if you plan to be outside, leave the scent inside.

Give sunburn a quick fix

Of course, it’s best not to get burned in the first place. But if you do suffer too much sun exposure, treat it fast! Your aim should be to reduce inflammation, which will help minimize injury to the tissue.  Take an aspirin or ibuprofen to combat redness. Drench a facecloth with ice water and apply it to the sensitive area for about 10 minutes. Finally, apply some hydrocortisone cream to the affected spots to ease discomfort and promote healing.

Make skin repair a long-term goal

We all know overexposure to sun causes unsightly photo-aging in the form of brown spots. What you may not realize is that you don’t necessarily have to burn to suffer sun damage. As well, the harmful effects of sun exposure can show up years, even decades later. So adopt a vigilant, ongoing skin care plan to hold sun damage at bay. For your regular regimen, choose products with the ingredients tretinoin, azelaic acid, and kojic acid; all of these will help fade the appearance of superficial brown spots. Procedure such as chemical peels, intense pulsed light, and micro-needling--scheduled at regular intervals--can also reverse sun damage, so your complexion will continue to looks its very best for years to come.