Health 17:57 27 May 2024

How to take care of your skin in summer: advice from a doctor

Rubryka asked a dermatologist about summer skincare and how to choose the right sunscreen and SPF level. We also share advice on how to act in case of sunburn and why natural remedies like sour cream and even panthenol are not the best solutions.

What is the problem?

Harmful effects of the sun

Our skin needs special care in summer because the sun is most active. Excessive exposure to UV radiation can lead to serious consequences, such as pigmentation, premature aging, and skin cancer.

Due to the high air temperature, the skin begins to lose moisture faster, leading to dryness and peeling. In addition, the secretion of skin fat increases, which can contribute to the appearance of rashes and increased seborrhea (a condition in which the sebaceous glands are disturbed).  

"Lack of proper skin care disrupts the hydro-lipid mantle — the skin's protective layer, which, in turn, increases the risk of dryness, flaking, burns, activation of inflammatory processes, including the appearance of rashes and dermatitis," explains dermatologist-venereologist Viktoriia Chernyavska.

Догляд за шкірою літом

Doctor-dermatovenerologist Viktoriia Chernyavska. Photo from the network

What is the solution?

Daily care

Despite the wide range of negative consequences for the skin in summer, proper daily care can mitigate these effects and ensure its health and attractiveness. Special attention should be paid to the face, which is the most vulnerable due to direct exposure to sunlight. As Chernyavska notes, the care must include:

  • Gentle cleansing in the morning and evening. It allows you to rid the skin of pollution, dust, and excess fat. 
  • Hydration. For this, you can use a cream with light textures so as not to burden the skin and to make it feel comfortable throughout the day. It should be applied after cleansing the face, in the morning and in the evening. 
  • Applying sunscreen. It will protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation.
  • Lip protection with a balm or lipstick with SPF.

"This is exactly the minimum for summer everyone needs every day, regardless of gender and skin type. Tonics and serums can also be added to this basic care for an additional effect on the skin's needs. A dermatologist will help to select them individually," the doctor emphasizes.

How to choose sunscreen and SPF?

The texture of the sunscreen is chosen depending on the type of skin: for dry skin, creams or milk would be best, and for normal and prone to oiliness, fluids. Chernyavska explains that the spray format will be convenient for the body. Sunscreen should be used with an ultraviolet radiation index of at least 2. Its level can be monitored on the phone using the Weather application.

"You need to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two to three. The optimal sun protection factor (SPF) for city conditions is 30 to 50. But, if you have sensitive skin or are prone to pigmentation, use products with SPF 50. At the end of the day, you must wash off the sunscreen with gel or foam for washing," says the expert.

When vacationing at sea, preference should be given to waterproof sunscreens. However, they need to be renewed every time after bathing.

What skin treatments can (not) be done in the summer?

As the dermatologist explains, in the summer, you can perform various cosmetology procedures to improve the condition of the skin, in particular:

  • Botulinum therapy.
  • Apparatus or manual facial cleaning, which will help get rid of keratinized cells, clean comedones and prepare the skin for the following procedures.  
  • Complex procedures using serums and masks for moisturizing and skin radiance. 
  • Biorevitalization is a highly effective injection procedure using hyaluronic acid/polynucleotides/amino acids that promotes deep skin hydration, collagen stimulation, skin brightening and rejuvenation.  

However, chemical peeling and laser therapy should be avoided in the summer due to increased solar activity and the risk of skin pigmentation.  

"While chemical peels can be effective at removing dead skin cells and improving the appearance of the skin, they can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun and increase the risk of pigmentation in the summer. Some types of laser therapy can also contribute to pigmentation and skin irritation from the sun. Therefore, performing them in a less sunny period is better," says the specialist.  

She adds that you should consult a dermatologist before any skin procedures. Even if chemical peeling or laser therapy is performed during the summer, there are recommendations on how to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Догляд за шкірою літом

A woman undergoing a cosmetology procedure. Photo from the network

How to care for the skin after a long stay in the sun?

After a long stay in the sun, it is important to restore the protective barrier and moisturize not only the face but also the body, Chernyavska explains. Products containing hyaluronic acid, allantoin, prebiotics, ceramides, centella, aloe, and amino acids are suitable for this.

If redness is visible on the skin, the skin is hot to the touch, and blisters appear, these are the consequences of a burn. In this case, it is important to act quickly and correctly to reduce irritation and speed up the healing process. The first thing to do is to leave the sunny place and take care to cool the affected part of the skin by treating it with cool or room-temperature water for ten to fifteen minutes. 

"After cooling the burn, use an aloe vera or calamine lotion to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. If you feel pain or discomfort, if necessary, take paracetamol or ibuprofen, according to the instructions for the drug," explains the doctor. 

She adds that drinking enough plain water during burns is important to avoid intoxication and dehydration. If the burn is large, very painful, or accompanied by other symptoms, you should consult a doctor for medical assistance.

Avoid using ice or ice cubes directly on the skin, as this can cause further damage. Do not apply sour cream, other food products, fatty creams, or panthenol to burns. This contributes to occlusion — the formation of a film and the blocking of air access to wounds, which leads to the retention of high temperature in the skin. Do not puncture blisters that may appear after a burn. They function as a natural barrier that protects the new skin under them.

Догляд за шкірою літом

Sunburn of the shoulder. Photo from open sources

The doctor adds that you should contact a dermatologist if redness, rash, itching, pain, dryness, or cracks appear on the skin. Changes in moles or the appearance of new formations on the skin can also be an alarming signal, as this can be a manifestation of skin cancer.  

"Not only in the summer but also throughout the year, I recommend everyone to be attentive to their skin and show care for their health. It is important to undergo annual preventive examinations and dermatoscopy of formations in order to prevent changes in the skin and the development of diseases in a timely manner," says the doctor.

Even more useful solutions!

  • Give preference to light, closed clothes made of natural fabrics, which will protect the body from the sun as much as possible.
  • Apply sunscreen with a high degree of protection to all exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat. The best option for protection is a hat with at least five to seven cm brims.
  • Use sunglasses.
  • Limit prolonged exposure to the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Drink enough water throughout the day to maintain water balance. This will help avoid dryness and flaking of the skin and support other body functions.

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