Stay Skin Safe this Summer
The summer months in the U.A.E. tend to be rather hot, yet it is a time, many of us prefer to be outdoors. Staying hydrated is something you make sure you do during the summer, however, have you spared a thought for your skin as well? While letting the sun shine down on you may seem like an amazing idea, harsh ultra-violet (UVA/B) rays from the sun can be potentially damaging to your skin.
Want to ensure that your skin is prepared for the summer? Well, here are a few tips on how you achieve this.
One is exposed to UV rays from the sun all year around, however, in summer months they tend to be even more harmful. UVA and UVB rays are known to cause sunburn, rashes & allergies, accelerate skin ageing and in some cases even lead to cataract and skin cancer. However, if you are able to keep a careful watch on your lifestyle during the summer, it can literally be a breeze for you.
Being in the U.A.E., you are bound to come across sand covered areas at some point in time. Sand and other reflective surfaces such as water tend to reflect back more than 85% of the sunlight that strikes their surfaces. Prolonged exposure to such surfaces whilst traveling or enjoying your day out, can result in unwanted skin damage that arises as a result of this.
Sunscreens can definitely help keep you stay skin safe in the summer, however, how sure are you about its efficacy? If, your sunscreen is not broad spectrum i.e. does not provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays, it is high time that you get rid of it. Choose your sunscreen wisely! Toxic ingredients in sunscreens such as parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and retinyl palmitate, can do more harm to your skin than good. They adversely affect your endocrine system harming your body’s reproduction and developmental processes. You might tend to think that a cloudy day does not warrant the need for any kind of sun protection. Yet despite this, UVA rays can still damage your skin.
Car windows can effectively filter UVB rays from the sun, however, they are unable to filter out UVA rays. Spending longer than a couple of hours in the car during the hot summer months could only mean one thing – sunburns, tans, freckles, and irreversible skin damage.
Use a wide-brimmed hat, a scarf or an umbrella while out in the sun, as much as possible, which can protect your face, eyes, ears, and nose as well. Sunglasses with the right kind of UVA and UVB protection can help protect your eyes from sun damage, that can lead to cataract. Wearing long-sleeved clothes can provide you that added layer of protection against the summer sun. Clothes having Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF, are in fact one’s best bet to surviving a particularly warm summer.
Fight off those harmful UV rays by using sunscreen with SPF within the range of 30-50, ideally on a daily basis. A good sunscreen delays ageing and sun damage, ensuring that your skin remains in an optimally healthy condition for a long time. Skincare experts advise reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours, which helps prevent sun-related skin damage, especially if you swim or sweat a lot. Using a lip-balm that has at least SPF 15, helps keep your lips moisturized. Tinted compacts and moisturizers, foundations, BB and CC creams with broad spectrum SPF protection gives your skin that additional sun-protective edge. Using a moisturizer with sunscreen can help your skin stay sun-safe and hydrated.
Healthy lifestyle choices such as consuming foods rich in antioxidants, lycopene, omega-3, vitamins, etc. helps reduce oxidative stress caused due to sun exposure. Stubbing out smoking, which reduces elastin and collagen in the skin can help you stay healthy in summers. Make sure your meals contain sufficient servings of blueberries, melons, carrots, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds, alongside cups of green tea, to keep you going throughout the summer.
Take particular care especially when using medications such as retinoids, painkillers and other medications used to treat and manage allergies, diabetes, depression, anxiety and fight infections. Consult with your doctor regarding the side-effects of your medicines and the resultant exposure to the sun. These medicines can increase your sensitivity with the sun.
Ensure that you set aside a day annually for a visit to your dermatologist. Your doctor can help you identify any new skin changes that may have occurred such as Melasma. Melasma is the appearance of brown to grey patches, seen commonly seen during the summer months. Although its causes are many, prolonged exposure to the sun can accelerate the appearance of these spots on the face. Apart from Melasma, regular skin evaluations from your dermatologist can help your doctor rule out any possible signs of skin cancer and immediately help treat skin damage that may have been likely caused by sun exposure.
Incorporating this advice in your daily routine will help you and your skin breathe easy and remain radiantly beautiful, all summer long!
Dr. Amany A. Morshed
MBBS, Masters in Dermatology and Venereology
Specialist Cosmetic Dermatologist at Aster Clinic, Arabian Ranches and Aster Beauty Clinic, Al Warqa