Summer is here! That means it's time to break out the swimsuits, shorts, tee shirts and show some skin to keep cool. Unfortunately, all that bared skin can put you at risk of sunburn and sun damage, as well as increasing your risk of skin cancer.
To help inform their readers about the best ways to take care of their skin during the summer, several U.S. Dermatology Partners providers were invited to feature in InFluential Magazine's May/June issue! Our doctors discuss their summer skin survival techniques, their preferred sunless tanning products and the secret dangers involved in getting a "base tan" for the season.
Skin Care Secrets During Warm Summer Months from the Experts
On pages 62 and 63 of the May/June InFluential Magazine, five our our providers recommend safety tips for showing skin this summer.
According to Dr. Daniel Walker, patients who want to protect themselves from sun at the pool should schedule their swim times later in the afternoon when the sun isn't as intense. He also urgest patients to cover up with swim shirts, rash guards and hats even when in the water, and to reapply SPF 30+ sunscreen every 2-3 hours.
Dr. Kathryn Celeste Durham also encourages you to check out sun-protective shirts like those from Magellan, Columbia and Coolibar, as they are built specifically to have a UV protection factor. Also, give your sunscreen, preferably a SPF 50, at least 15 minutes to settle into your skin before exposure.
Amanda Wolthoff, MD also prefers sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, but likes her sunscreen with broad spectrum protection and zinc oxide in it. The zinc oxide is nearly invisible in today's sunscreens, and will physcally block UV rays instead of chemically blocking them.
John Biltz, MD reminds patients to seek shaded areas whenever possible. If shade can't be found, wearing protective clothing like brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts as well as a SPF 30+ sunscreed applied every few hours will help.
Sunscreen and Sunless Tanner Recommendations from the Experts
Our featured staff also recommended a collection of sunless tanner products that can help you get that summer glow without putting you at a higher risk of skin cancer. (Pages 64 and 65.) Many of these products also have a sun protection effect for twice the benefit.
For a faster way to a darker sunless tan, try Xen-Tan Premium Sunless Tan or Flawless from Fake Bake. You can get a quick bronzing that's a more subtle glow from St. Tropez Self-Tanning Bronze or Suplime Bronze Luminous Bronzer from L'Oreal. If you'd rather grow your glow over time, Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer and Neutrogena's Micro Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan can be applied each morning and will let you build a deeper "tan" over several days.
The Ugly Truth About "Base Tans"
In her featured full article on pages 66 and 67, Kathryn Celeste Durham, MD, busts some myths about the safety of "base tans," or tans that are supposed to help you avoid getting sunburns later in the season. In fact, a base tan might actually make it more likely to get a sunburn because it can make you more lax about applying sunscreen! The truth is, base tans offer no provable protection from the sun's rays, UVA or UVB.
Tanning is not a harmless activity. Every time you tan, whether in a tanning bed or out of doors, UVA and UVB rays break down collagen in your skin, speeding up the aging process. The popularity of tanning also means melanoma has become the most common cancer in people under 30. Worse, instead of that golden glow, tanning can cause unwanted skin discoloration like liver spots and sallowness, a sickly yellow discoloration due to dialation of blood vessles. Skip the tanning and get a SPF 30+ sunscreen instead.