Summer skin health
The summer months are a great time to show off your skin. Follow the six tips below to look your best both now and in the future.
Six tips for great skin this summer
By Dr. Ian Landells
1. Embrace your natural hue
Ditch your plans to get a tan. A tan is evidence that your skin has been damaged: your skin changes colour as a response to injured DNA in the skin cells. Over the years, all that harm will produce wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, visible blood vessels and even purplish splotches.
Some people also get sun blisters or cold sores after a day out in the sun. This is because too much exposure to the sun can affect the body’s immune system, leaving it susceptible to infection. For great skin now and in the future, protect it from the sun.
2. Protect your skin
There are a few simple rules to follow to protect your skin. Wear a hat with a wide brim that covers the back of your neck and choose clothing that covers sun-exposed areas. Select clothes in dark or bright colours (colours that reflect some UV light) and that are made of densely woven fabric. Wear sunscreen on all exposed areas of skin, including your hands and lips (see tip 3 on how to pick your sunscreen).
Take extra care if you’ll be spending time near water, where the UV rays can be reflected back onto your skin.
3. Pick the right sunscreen
On page 21 and on the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) website, you will find a list of sunscreens recognized by the CDA. All these sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, are broad-spectrum, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, non-comedogenic and low in fragrances.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both types of harmful ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, interfering with your body’s immune system and causing premature aging of the skin.
UVB rays affect the upper layers of skin and are the primary cause of sunburn. UVB rays are blocked by glass (like your car window), but UVA rays are not. Overexposure to either UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer.
4. Apply sunscreen correctly
Many people don’t apply enough sunscreen. You’ll need two to three tablespoons for your body and a teaspoon for your face. Remember to reapply your sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming or sweating – sunscreen can’t protect your skin if it stays in the bottle.
5. Hydrate and moisturize
Your skin is always thirsty. Make sure you drink enough fluids to replace moisture lost through sweating and to keep your body hydrated. A moisturizer will help prevent your skin from drying out and is best applied when your skin is moist, such as after a shower or bath.
6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Your skin benefits from any habits that improve your overall health. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, refraining from smoking, managing stress and getting enough sleep will all contribute to glowing skin. Exercising increases the blood flow to your skin, bringing nourishment and oxygen with it, and sweating helps flush out impurities in your skin. Keeping your skin clean is also important, and washing your face every morning and before bed with a gentle non-irritating cleanser will keep it looking fresh.
Dr. Ian Landells is the Clinical Chief at the Division of Dermatology for Eastern Health, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Paediatrics with the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Medical Director of Dermatology at Nexus Clinical Research, and past president of the Canadian Dermatology Association.
Heads up from CDA
Misleading marketing claims, inaccurate product information and public perception can make it confusing to select over-the-counter skin health products. That’s why the Canadian Dermatology Association is launching a program to help consumers make better and more informed decisions.
In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a new program to the public that we believe will effectively fill the need expressed by consumers and industry for evidence-based information – reflecting the most recent dermatological science – to help Canadians navigate the variety of skin care products on the market.
Our Skin Health Program will be led by an Expert Advisory Board of objective medical specialists who will review product formulations and independent laboratory testing to provide Canadian consumers with reliable, unbiased guidance when selecting healthy skin care products for themselves and their families.
Since 1925, the Canadian Dermatology Association has remained dedicated to providing Canadians with information about maintaining optimal skin, hair and nail health. Now we’re going a step further by empowering Canadians with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about the dermatological products they use.
Our experts are looking out for your family’s health.
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