Summer Skincare Tips
Summer is a time for beach days, pool parties, and vacations. It’s also a great time to take a little extra care of your skin. Overexposure to harmful UV rays can cause a host of issues from skin cancer to premature aging. Taking the time to educate yourself and take proper precautions will help you in years to come.
The sun plays an important role in our health. While it’s true that sunburns and skin cancer are very real threats and that SPF is essential, there are also positive effects of sun exposure. The sun can also do plenty of good things for your body. By soaking up some sunlight you can do wonders for your mind, bones, mood, and more.
When you give your skin access to a healthy dose of the sun’s rays, you are likely to experience some amazing benefits.
1. Increased Vitamin D
Vitamin D has some important functions in the body. It promotes reduced inflammation and modulates cell growth. It’s also very hard to get enough from food sources alone. The sun is the best natural source of Vitamin D, and it only takes 5-15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week to notice a difference. Get outside and expose yourself to direct sun on your arms and face to soak up this necessary vitamin. Just remember to use sunscreen if you’ll be outside for more than 15 minutes.
2. Improved Mood
It turns out “sunny disposition” is more than just an expression: Researchers at BYU found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. On the contrary, days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health while increasing your serotonin— in fact, the availability of sunshine has more impact on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor.
3. Higher Quality Sleep
That serotonin you soak up from the sun’s rays does more than boost your mood – it might also help you get more restful sleep at night. Working in tandem with serotonin is melatonin, a chemical in your brain that lulls you into slumber and one that sun also helps your body produce.
4. Stronger Bones
Low Vitamin D has been linked to diseases like osteoporosis and rickets, and one of the most specific benefits of Vitamin D is earning stronger bones and teeth.
How much Vitamin D do you need? For adults, a daily intake of 4,000 international units (or IUs) is recommended. While calcium intake is also crucial for bone health, getting enough sun helps your body absorb the calcium.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
When sunlight hits your skin, your body releases something called nitric oxide into your blood. This compound brings down blood pressure and improves heart health. Maintaining healthy blood pressure can reduce your risks of cardiac disease and stroke. Feelings of relaxation may also naturally bring down blood pressure, so boosting your happiness by soaking up rays also aids in keeping your pressure down.
The recommended amount of sun exposure is fifteen minutes two to three times per week. Because most people spend considerably more time outdoors, this is where sunscreen comes in handy. SPF is your best line of defense! Here is a breakdown of what your need to know about sunscreen.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it indicates the percentage of sun rays that get blocked by your product.
Dermatologists correlate the following numeric SPFs with the total percentage of sun protection. The numbers may surprise you:
· SPF 15 filters out about 93% of sun rays
· SPF 30 filters out about 97% of sun rays
· SPF 50 filters out about 99% of sun rays
There’s a common misconception that really high SPFs, like an SPF 75 or 100 will offer far greater protection, especially if you have fair skin. In reality, the protection of these SPFs is not significantly greater, so no need to use an SPF over 50. Higher SPFs actually tend to be less balanced in the protection they offer against UVA vs. UVB rays. Often, they will offer far greater UVB protection than UVA protection.
Sunburns are a result of exposure to UVB rays, the rays responsible for causing skin cancer.UVA rays are the ones that cause wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging like age spots. These rays are a little sneakier and affect your skin even when you are out of direct sunlight by shining through clouds and windows.
The difference between chemical and mineral SPF is in the way they work to protect your skin. Mineral SPFs use active ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide to create a physical barrier on top of your skin that works by reflecting the sun’s rays. Because of this, mineral SPFs do not penetrate the skin, which tends to make them less irritating.
Zinc Oxide is the Environmental Working Group’s first choice for sun protection because it is stable in sunlight and can provide greater protection from UVA rays than Titanium Dioxide or any other sunscreen approved in the U.S.*
Chemical SPFs work by filtering UV rays. Ultraviolet light penetrates the skin and then chemicals like Oxybenzone, Avobenzone and Octisalate absorb the sun’s rays, transforming them into heat and then dispersing them from the body. Unlike mineral SPFs, chemical SPFs allow UV rays to penetrate the skin and the heat from the rays can break down the chemical filters, causing allergic reactions and irritation. And what’s worse, this heat can cause damage to your skin cells which has been linked to skin cancer.
Mineral SPFs offer amazing sun protection, plus they are safe for the environment.
Oxybenzone is a common ingredient in chemical SPF, and a 2016 study* reported that when Oxybenzone washes off in water, it can contaminate coral reefs, thus harming the aquatic ecosystem.
Unlike chemical SPFs that take about 15 minutes to work after applying, micronized Zinc Oxide begins working immediately so you can spend more time outside enjoying the sun.
If by chance you do get burned, here are a few tips on how to begin to heal the skin.
1. Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin. This can help ease the dryness.
2. Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Do not treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
3. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
4. Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.
5. If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn. You should not pop the blisters, as blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
6. Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear clothing that covers your skin when outdoors. Tightly-woven fabrics work best. When you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any light coming through.
A few basic tips to keep your summer skin at its best:
Skincare Services for Summer
Some of our favorite skincare services here at The Wellness Hub in Jacksonville, Florida are our back facials to reveal clear and glowing skin on your back - in a time when sundresses, low-cut shirts and bathing suits are our mainstays! We also love our deluxe customizable facial any time of the year because it can be customized to your needs. In the summertime, we always focus on hydration and gentle exfoliation as well as whatever else you need for your specific needs. The deluxe facial allows you to pick any three modalities to customize your experience. You can choose from a peel, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, cupping and gua sha, facial reflexology and more!
We wish you a healthy, happy, and safe summer!
The Wellness Hub Center for Integrative Medicine and Holistic Spa in Jacksonville, Florida