Have fun in the Colorado sun with these top tips for summer skin care.
The seasons are changing and the long, picturesque days of our Colorado Summer are calling you to adventure outdoors. The shifting weather and increase in sun exposure this time of year has an effect on your skin and is a good time to alter your skin care routine. From use-at-home products to full spa services, our top skin care tips from Denver Dermatologist, Dr. Richard Asarch, MD, are essential when caring for your summer skin.
1. Start Fresh- Exfoliation is the best way to get rid of dead skin cells and reveal fresher, younger looking skin.
2. Moisturize- This step may seem counter-intuitive during the summer months when your skin tends to feel a bit oily and sweaty. However, Colorado’s climate is very arid and skin re-hydration is essential. Choose a multi-purpose formula that both moisturizes and has anti-aging ingredients such as peptides and anti-oxidants. If your skin is dry, choose a cream. If your skin is normal to oily, opt for a light serum. Both choices should be non-comedogenic so they don’t clog your pores.
3. Protect Your Skin from UV Damage- Colorado’s UV index, a measure of the strength of UV radiation in a particular area, is consistently one of the highest in the world making SPF protection a priority. UV damage leads to sunburns, premature skin aging and eventual skin cancers. Apply a “broad spectrum” sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 fifteen minutes before heading outdoors. Generously cover all exposed areas and reapply every two hours. The most effective sun blocks contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide- the only two ingredients that provide both UVA and UVB protection and are gentle enough for everyday use. If your previous sun damage is severe, you may be a good candidate for Intense Pulse Light Treatments which remove age spots over the course of a few weeks.
4. After The Sun-
Your skin can feel overly dry after a day in the sun even if you didn’t get a burn. Try a deep hydration mask to calm irritation and improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture. These can be done at home or at the spa. Got a sunburn? Apply a cold compress and take ibuprofen or aspirin, which will help reduce inflammation. If it is a severe burn that is blistered, see your doctor who may prescribe a topical steroid cream and antibiotic ointment.
5. Excessive Sweating-
In the summer, sweating more than usual is a common occurrence. However, Hyperhidrosis- a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably- is the result of overactive sweat glands regardless of the season. If anti-perspirants are not working for you or your sweating has become debilitating, you may be a good candidate for LAAP, Laser Ablation of Axillary Perspiration. LAAP is a minimally invasive laser treatment which results in a 75% or greater reduction in sweating in one treatment replacing the costly need for bi-yearly botox injections. Dr. Asarch is the first to offer this procedure in Colorado. Click here to watch Dr. Asarch talk about LAAP.
6. Sun Safety for school age children is so important because sun damage and skin cancer is so preventable! Simply changing a child’s behavior and attitude about playing outside makes a world of difference. The vast majority of skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly during childhood. Sun damage accumulates throughout your life- your skin never forgets a sun burn. Help children learn how to stay safe in the sun by teaching them why they need to protect themselves.
Sun exposure in the first fifteen years is linked to the increased likelihood of skin cancer, including melanoma, as an adult. Children may not be aware of the sun’s UV rays or be able to protect themselves from the sun without reminders from the adults in their lives.
Remind your children to follow the “Slip, Slop, Slap, Sleek and Slide” method created by the SunSmart Cancer Council NSW. When the UV Index is 3 or above, you should protect yourself in five ways:
- Slip on clothing that covers your arms and legs
- Slop on 30+, broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- Seek shade (see more below about how schools can provide shaded areas for school children)
- Slide on wrap-around sunglasses
The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 am and 3 pm and the strength of UV radiation varies with the time of year. While it is recommended that sun safety in Colorado should be a year-round concern, be sure to heighten the focus on sun safety, or to enforce sun safety policy, between March 1 and October 31. This is the time span during which the UV index routinely reaches or exceeds moderate levels.
Confirm the relevant dates for your area by checking the annual UV index record. It is provided in graphic format by the National Weather Service for numerous cities at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/uv_index/uv_annual.shtml