Ten Summer Skin-Saving Tips
While we’d all like to fantasize about staying eternally young, aging is inevitable. But there’s no point in hurrying the process! Summer is typically full of fun outdoor activities, which can also be a full-scale assault on your face and skin in general. Here are ten tips to protect yourself from unwanted damage, adapted from advice from a renowned skin specialist.
Skin-Saving Tips For Summer
This one is especially important, for two reasons. Obviously, we all wear them to protect our eyes against bright sun. However, sunglasses do more than just protect your eyes; they also play a role in protecting your skin against aging. Dr. Papantoniou says, “Repetitive squinting in bright light can lead to crow’s feet, which often require dermal fillers to smooth again. Try to keep sunglasses in your car so you’re less likely to find yourself out and about without them.”
I drive more than one car, plus my bike. So I keep a pair in each so I’m never without. If you’re a fashionista, keep your spendy ones in your purse.
2) Use sunscreen AND moisturizer
While it’s great that you have made using sunscreen part of your daily routine, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as your moisturizer. Dr. Papantoniou stresses that, “Not all sunscreens hydrate, and some may even add oil or dry out your skin. Apply both moisturizer and sunscreen for days out in the sun, or use a moisturizer with SPF for daily use.”
If you’re one of those who like to fake bake, remember that the tanning lotions used in salons provide zero protection from the sun. They’re to be used in the tanning booth only.
3)Use protection in the evening
While the middle of the day, 10:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, is the most dangerous time for your skin, that doesn’t mean that you should be skipping your sunscreen regimen if you’re planning on being outside later in the day. ‘As long as the sun is up, you are susceptible to burns, even on cloudy, overcast days,” says Dr. Papantoniou.
Remember that cloudy day you spent on the lake? And how red you were the next morning? It’s not just the reflection off the water. There’s plenty of damaging rays floating around even when the sun is behind a cloud.
4)Bathe in warm water
A steamy shower or dip in the hot tub may be great for sore muscles, but studies show it’s bad for your skin. That’s because hot water breaks down skin elasticity and causes premature wrinkling and sagging. When bathing, keep the water warm rather than piping hot and save the hot tub soaks for special occasions.
After the bath or shower, be sure to use a good quality moisturizer to help replenish the skin’s natural oils that you washed away.
5)Keep a distance from fires
Sun damage isn’t the only light source responsible for aging. New studies show that the heat emitted by fire affects the skin similarly to UV rays, resulting in thinner skin, blotchiness, dryness, and free radical damage. Dr. Papanatoniou cautions to, “Be sure to sit at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and keep your exposure brief.”
That summer campfire may feel great on a chilly night, but keep the damage (and the smelly smoke!) away by keeping your distance.
6)Limit refined sugar
Now there’s one more reason to curb your sweet tooth: Sugar damages collagen and elastin, youthful proteins that give the skin its firmness and elasticity. To keep your skin looking its best, swap sugary candy for fruit, skip the soda, and cut back on processed, packaged foods.
And remember, even the “natural” sugars, sometimes called sugar-in-the-raw, are still sugars and you’ll want to use all of them in moderation.
7)Sleep on your back or side
Pillow creases may be more than a temporary problem. Sleeping on your face for an extended period of time can cause permanent wrinkles to develop. Train yourself to sleep on your back or try a wrinkle-reducing pillow like JuveRest, which minimizes the amount of contact between the fabric and your skin.
You’re in bed an average of seven to eight hours each day. Imagine holding your skin in a wrinkled position for that long. That’s definitely not something you want to do to your face!
8)Drink instead of sipping through a straw
“The puckering motion you use to drink through a straw is like that of smoking a cigarette, and can result in similar consequences. Using a straw etches vertical lines around your mouth that become more pronounced over time. Drink from a cup when possible to prolong a youthful pout, says Dr. Papantoniou.
An aside to this is paying attention to how you hold your mouth. There are a ton of tiny muscles around the mouth, and holding them tense, subconsciously, will increase natural wrinkles over time. Take note and get in the habit of relaxing your face and let the natural smile that exists become your norm.
9) Use sunscreen when driving
Did you know that the sun’s harmful rays actually penetrate the windows of your car? The list of things to take on that road trip you’re planning needs to include sunscreen.
Protect your skin by lathering SPF 30 or higher onto your face, arms and especially your hands to prevent wrinkles and spots down the road. Any normal glass will block all UVB rays, but sadly none of the dangerous UVA rays. Dr. Papantoniou points out that, “UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age the skin and contribute to skin cancer.”
Staring, frowning or squinting for too long can cause an unwanted line between your eyebrows and may lead to crow’s-feet around your eyes. Botox might be an easy fix for those unwanted lines you see sneaking onto your face, but that can be avoided or delayed by staying conscious to how you hold your brow and eyes. And if you need sunglasses to reduce brightness or glare, or reading glasses to help with fine print, it’s better than developing those unwanted lines.
We all know how great some celebrities look, seemingly forever. A lot of that is through cosmetic surgery. But a lot of it is also due to taking care of their face and skin. Use these tips to maintain your youthful appearance. It’s a way better alternative to going under a knife to get back what you lost!
About Dr. Kally Papantoniou:
Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is a clinical instructor in New York City at Mount Sinai Health Center, and can be seen at locations on Long Island and Queens. She is a New York trained Dermatologist, and applies expert technique and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention.