We’re smack dab in the middle of summer and no doubt you’ve been at the pool, the beach, on vacation or all of the above. Whilebeing out in the sun is nice, it’s also dangerous, unless you take the proper precautions.
Dr. Jeanine Downie, of Image Dermatology, is a board certified cosmetic dermatologist in Montclair who frequently shares her expertise on a wide variety of topics in magazines, television, books and more. Most likely, you have read her advice in a magazine or seen her on television, often on the Today Show. Dr. Downie spoke to Baristanet about the alarming rate of skin cancers in the US—she calls it an epidemic—and what we should be doing to protect our skin. The good news is protecting your skin from skin cancer also gives you the added benefit of beauty. The sun damages. Period. Keeping harmful rays from damaging your skin will also prevents wrinkles, skin pigmentation and rough texture. You shouldn’t even need to soothe that sunburn, so follow this summer skin care advice:
- Sunscreen should be broad spectrum and at least SPF 30 and should be worn every single day on any exposed skin–that’s 365 days of the year, rain or shine.
- During the summer, sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours. If you’re in the Caribbean or at the beach, every hour. And if you get wet or are sweating, you need to reapply. She cautions that there is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen.
- You need to use about 1 oz. each time. That’s a shot glass full.
- Dr. Downie is a fan of spray sunscreens, but says in order to cover all areas, you must spray and then rub it in. She likes Neautrogena Wet Skin and Aveeno Hydrosport.
- Try to avoid the sun from 10 am – 2 pm.
- Wearing a wide brim hats in the sun is ideal and very stylish.
A common complaint women have that facial sunscreens look white, make them sweat and don’t look good under makeup. In this instance, Dr. Downie says that you get what you pay for. More expensive brands offer a better product. Her favorite high end sunscreen is the Skin Medica line. She says the Daily Physical Defense SPF 30 is great under makeup and is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. You can purchase Skin Medica products online or at your local dermatologist’s office. At your local drugstore, Dr. Downie recommends the Neutrogena Dry Touch line for your face. My personal recommendation is Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 50. It melts right in, doesn’t look chalky and has a great texture under makeup.
So now that you know what to do to protect your skin going forward, unfortunately any sun damage you’ve had in your life has put you in danger. Dr Downie says that if you have no personal or family history of skin cancer, that you should see a dermatologist once a year for a full body skin check. Have a personal history of basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas? Then you should visit your dermatologist every 6 months. If you have a history of melanoma, then it’s every 3 months.
You should also do routine checks on your body for anything unusual, such as changes in existing moles, a bump or pimple that doesn’t go away or anything suspicious on your skin.