Summer is all about skin. We show more of it, which means we also spend more time searching for ways to keep it looking great. Caring for your skin in the summer means balancing the effects of heat, sun, humidity and even things like insect bites and heat rashes.
“As much as we love being outside in the summer, it can be really hard on your skin,” says Dr. Hans M. Sander, a board-certified dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners Jollyville in Austin, Texas. “Learning how to take better care of it will keep it looking healthy all year long.”
When it comes to summer skin care, Dr. Sander offers the following six tips:
No. 1: Love the Water
Yes, summer is a great time for hitting the beach or the pool, but that’s not the only water you should embrace. Getting plenty of water — the pure, unflavored, filtered kind — every day is crucial to keep your body detoxing and to keep your body and skin hydrated.
“Caffeinated drinks don’t count,” says Dr. Sander. “If you do have a caffeinated drink, it’s wise to drink two or three glasses of pure water to offset it.” (That’s in addition to the eight glasses of water you should be downing every day.)
No. 2: Keep It Covered
Protecting your skin from the summer sun is one of the best things you can do to keep it healthy. There are a few ways to do that, but keeping it covered up is your best bet.
“That can mean wearing a proper SPF sunscreen, wearing long-sleeved shirts and lightweight pants instead of tank tops and shorts or putting on a hat when you go outside,” says Dr. Sander. “If you’re using sunscreen, make sure that you’re using enough and reapplying frequently. And, if you’re wearing a hat, make sure it has a wide brim that protects your face from the sun coming in at all angles.”
No. 3: Protect Your Part
Most of us don’t think much about protecting what’s under our hair, but the scalp is extremely sensitive and can burn, too. If you aren’t wearing a hat, you’re risking sunburn along your hairline. Dr. Sander recommends using a sunscreen spray on your part to make sure it is getting full protection from the sun, too.
No. 4: Watch Your Water Temperature
A warm shower after a day out in the sun might sound like just the thing to wash off the sunscreen, sweat and sand, but this is the time to keep it cool.
“Hot water can be very dehydrating to your skin, and if you’ve already been out in the sun for an extended amount of time, you have probably already dried out your skin,” Dr. Sander says. “Try taking a cool shower instead, and then follow that up with a rich, nourishing body cream to help your skin rehydrate.”
No. 5: Eat to Beat the Heat
It turns out that there are several ways you can treat your skin from the inside out.
Watermelon is about 90 percent water, which means it can help keep you stay hydrated, while foods like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are packed with antioxidants — which can help protect your skin from sun damage.
Other foods to consider adding to your summer menu are cucumbers, which are mostly water and can help keep you hydrated; tomatoes, which have lycopene to help promote the growth of collagen; and salmon, which is filled with important omega-3 fatty acids to help boost oil production in your skin, giving it that well-hydrated look.
“Oftentimes we think about what we’re putting on our skin, but we’re not paying attention to what we’re putting in our bodies. You’d be surprised how much that affects the way our skin looks,” says Dr. Sander.
No. 6: Exfoliate All Over
Finally, remember to exfoliate. Every day. Everywhere.
“One of the best things you can do for your skin is to exfoliate it every day,” says Dr. Sander. “It keeps your skin from looking dull because you’re getting rid of dead skin cells and revealing the healthy skin underneath it.”
If you don’t already have one, invest in a body scrub and exfoliate every time you shower. Rub your scrub (or brush) in circular movements from your shoulders down. After your shower, rub on a hydrating body cream to help keep your skin moist, then protect it with sunscreen.
For your face, use a different exfoliator — either in the shower or at your sink before you put on your makeup.
“One of the great things about exfoliating your face before you put on your toner and moisturizer is that it will help your makeup last longer,” says Dr. Sander. “This is a simple thing to add to your regimen, and it will do amazing things for the appearance of your skin.”
Proper care is essential for having healthy skin in the summer, so make sure you take the time to give it the TLC it needs.
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