Adopting a good seasonal skincare routine is essential if you plan on soaking up any amount of UV rays. Just ask Jennifer Silbar. She spends most of her summer on the sand of Chicago’s beaches, but that doesn’t mean she’s basking in rays all day long.
“I’ll admit I love being tan but I’m not the kind of person who can lay out in the sun all day,” says the 20-year-old college student, who’s back in Chicago for the summer after spending her sophomore year at the University of Colorado.
“But I’m pretty smart about it. I don’t like frying myself. You get to that point where you look like you spent 12 hours in a toaster. I don’t want to be that girl.”
Silbar says she and her friends bring an umbrella to the beach to grab some shade on days the sun is especially intense, and that they venture to the stores and restaurants near North Avenue Beach a couple of times during their days at the beach.
“I’m glad to hear more young people are getting smart about the sun,” says Dr. Helen Gilmore, a pediatrician in Los Angeles. “We know more than enough about what the sun can do to your skin. There’s no reason to be ignorant about the facts. While it’s no guarantee that you’ll get skin cancer if you spend hours and hours outdoors, you’re certainly not helping your odds.”
Skincare to Prevent Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types, affecting 2.2 million people each year in the United States, which is more than people affected by all other cancer types combined.
“People with natural blonde or red hair, people with freckles, people with fair skin, they’re all more susceptible to skin cancer, so they should be especially careful,” says Dr. Gilmore. “But it’s not exclusive to them. Anyone who spends a lot of time outside, whether it’s for work or for fun, puts themselves at a higher risk unless they take the necessary precautions.”
When applying sunscreen, don’t skimp. “You should fill your palm with sunscreen and that should be enough for your body,” says Dr. Gilmore. “When I go to the pool, I see people put a couple of dabs on their arms and legs and shoulders and leave it at that. You have to get total coverage, including your hands, your feet, under your arms, the front of your neck and the top of your head, especially if you’re losing your hair.”
The experts at Fitness Magazine say sun worshippers should rely on more than just sunscreen to protect their skin. In addition using the appropriate SPF cream, it’s advised that anyone who ventures outdoors on a sunny day wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Even if you wear sunscreen, you should be aware that two-thirds of your sun protection is gone after four hours in the sun. That percentage increases if you swim or perspire, according to the American Cancer Society, which advises reapplication of sunscreen every two hours.
Skincare Routines Change for the Summer
Both Silbar and Dr. Gilmore say they switch up their skincare routines when the weather heats up. “My skin gets much more oily in the summer, so I need to do a better job of cleaning my face,” says Silbar.
Gilmore agrees. “It’s important to thoroughly cleanse your skin after you sweat,” she says. “Your nighttime routine should completely address the extra stress the sun puts on your skin.”
Silbar says she keeps her summer tan all year long with the help of tanning products.
“I spend a lot of time indoors when I’m at school, even though I’m in Boulder, which is just about the most perfect outdoor city on earth,” says the education major. “But I use self-tanning creams to keep my tan going. The idea is that you look like you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, even if you’re locked in your room studying,”
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