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Surviving Summer with healthy skin

Surviving Summer with healthy skin
Photo by Paul McConnell/Getty Images

Whether traveling the world or staying local, skincare is often neglected during this season more than others. Tanning in the tropics, hours spent in outdoor activities, and relaxing poolside all seem to take precedence over the health and well-being of the skin. Poor choices and a lax attitude can lead to permanent dermal damage, which cannot be repaired later. Summer skincare is preventative care. Do not fall victim to Summer 'skin-icide.'

The sun is the number one ager of skin, but wrinkles are not the only damage created by UV exposure. Think of the sun's rays as a laser with three frequencies; the UVA frequency ages the skin, affecting the collagen and elastin in the skin, which causes the skin to lose its resilience and firmness, while the UVB frequency burns the skin and affects the melanocites in the basil layer of the skin, causing age spots. The UVC frequency affects cellular reproduction and causes the mutations which lead to cancer. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against all three frequencies.

It is also imperative to understand how SPF ratings work. A sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 means a person can stay out in the sun thirty times longer than their burn threshold before beginning to crisp. If a person normally begins to burn after ten minutes of direct sun exposure, SPF will provide them with protection for five hours before they begin to burn. Sweat, cosmetics and time spent in the water (even when the product claims to be waterproof) can degrade the stability of sunscreens.

While sunscreen may seem to cause breakouts, it is often not the product, but a byproduct of heat. As the skin warms, the pores open and smaller molecules of ingredients in sunscreen and cosmetics, as well as environmental debris and pollutants, are captured in the skin. Overheated skin, sweats and produces excess sebum which locks this 'dirt' into the pores. Summer is not the season to become too lax in the care of your skin. Deep cleansing and exfoliation are just as important for maintaining a healthy glow as any other time of the year.

High temperatures and humidity can also affect the health of the skin. Just ten minutes of sweating and exertion can lead to dehydration in the skin. Moisturizers applied topically may not be enough to care for the skin's moisture balance. The intake of fluids, specifically water, is one of the best ways to maintain healthy skin all Summer long.

While it may seem like the season to let things go and to be a little more laid back, your skin needs Summer care. Many people forego skincare in the summer, thinking a more aggressive skincare routine in the cooler, Winter months will repair any damage from earlier in the year. This may not be the case. Some damage cannot be undone. Make informed decisions about your skin health all year.