Preventative steps against UV exposure during the summer months
by Ellen Parker
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With the summer comes outdoor lunches for some, long days at the pool for others, and more sun exposure for everyone. The additional vitamin D may be beneficial, but along with the sunlight comes damage to the skin. With beach days ahead and baseball games to watch, it is essential to understand how the sun damages the skin, how to prevent damage, and if damage occurs, what steps are necessary to take in order to reduce the damage to the skin.
Lisa Artman, the president of The Skin Clinic Inc. in Fort Worth, describes sun damage as a battle.
“With the UV exposure, it throws your skin into a defense mode like it is under attack. It is constantly trying to repair itself because it creates these free radicals,” Artman said. “When you have free radicals, that means there is inflammation. Inflammation is the precursor to everything bad that happens in your body. When you have inflammation going on, your body cannot protect itself because it is so busy trying to repair the damage that it cannot protect itself. So you get brown splotches and broken blood vessels and different textures in your skin.”
There are many types of products and treatments that can help prevent aging and damage to the skin that occurs through inflammation. Artman said her main suggestion is to “maintain your skin.”
Part of maintaining the skin, according to Artman, is understanding that SPF should be worn all the time and that although makeup may contain SPF, it should be reapplied every 90 minutes. Since this is not a reasonable solution to summer schedules, products like Peter Thomas Roth Mineral SPF 30 ($30, amazon.com) and Colorscience Pro Sunforgettable Brush SPF 30 ($50, dermstore.com) refresh the face with a light layer of SPF on top of the existing makeup.
Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion for the Face SPF 30 ($7.04, target.com) and Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock SPF 70 ($8.79, drugstore.com) are good quality options for UV protection for beach trips and other events when sun exposure may occur for longer periods of time.
Preventive facial treatments also provide the skin with a healthy balance. Artman suggested a hydro facial procedure that is done at The Skin Clinic, which “infuses vitamins, antioxidants and peptides. The procedure basically nourishes and brings the skin back to a healthy balance.” With any hydrating procedure done to the skin, it allows for the skin to protect itself more when it comes into contact with the sun.
However, if a burn occurs and the damage has been done, Artman’s suggestion is to use “an anti-inflammatory to get the inflammation under control. Any over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen will help reduce the inflammation along with cold compressions because swelling will take place.”
Damage from the sun is something that takes place over time, but during the summer months, being aware of how much protection your skin is receiving will last a lifetime.
Although a “healthy glow” may look desirable, the damage underneath the skin to maintain the glow is one of inflammation and rapidly aging skin.