When it comes to the sun and our health, we all have some skin in the game.
Dr. Lauren Adams, a board certified dermatologist at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates in Mount Kisco, NY, offers a few tips to keep your skin healthy and youthful during the summer months.
- Sunburn The best thing for sunburn is not to get one! Sun exposure contributes to skin cancers and skin aging - in the form of sun spots, wrinkles, and changes in skin texture. If you’re going to be in the sun, wearing a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher, sun protective clothing and a hat, and staying in the shade are all super important for protecting your skin. If you do get a sunburn, or even if you’ve simply spent too much time in the sun, applying antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, resveratrol, and green tea, can help diminish damage from the sun. There are also oral antioxidants available that can help reduce skin damage.
- Medicines There are many medications that can make you more susceptible to sunburn – from blood pressure medications to acne treatments. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Heat rash Heat rash occurs when sweat ducts become obstructed. It occurs most often in hot, humid environments, on areas of the skin that are either covered with synthetic clothing or sticky ointments. So, wear light, breathable clothing when in the heat. Although thick ointments are wonderful for moisturizing in the winter, stick with light creams and lotions during the summer.
- When to be concerned If you experience sunburn with a fever, lightheadedness, or other non-skin symptoms, you should visit urgent care or the emergency room for an evaluation. If your skin reacts to the sun with hives, rash or other symptoms, it could be a sign of other medical conditions. Check with your doctor.
Though there are treatments that can help with some effects of sun damage – from lights and lasers to tightening devices and injectables – the fact is that prevention and good skin care remain the best first line of defense.