Texas is a fun place to soak up the sun in the summer. We boat on the lakes, tube down rivers and hit the beaches along the coast.
However, most of Texas reaches its peak heat in August, just as we might be tempted to “slack off” on applying sunscreen to our face and bodies. We reached out to Austin Dermatologist Dr. Ted Lain for tips on caring for skin. It turns out there’s more to end-of-summer skin care than simply remembering to cover up with SPF!
Eight ways to put skin care first
by Dr. Lain
1) If you’re trying to “work on” your tan before summer ends, resist the urge and avoid tanning salons. Researchers have discovered that females in their 20’s and 30’s (the group who tans the most) is the age group with the fastest increase in incidence of melanoma.
2) Everyone – men, women, people with darker complexions – should keep wearing sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) daily all year long! Make it a habit and it won’t feel like a chore during these final lazy, hazy days of summer.
There’s the misconception that a person with a darker complexion doesn’t need to protect their skin. However, a “tan” is actually the body’s way of showing skin damage. Darker complexions just hide that damage for longer and people of color tend to find skin cancers on their body later because they’re harder to see.
Women can apply a sunscreen base under their makeup, like the MelaShield facial sunscreen we sell in the office. It’s slick and makes it easy to apply makeup immediately after application. Women can also use mineral-based makeup that offers a natural SPF.
3) Don’t slack off during that boating outing! Our lakes and rivers are full this summer, which provides plenty of fun for all of us. However, as we eke out the last fun of summer, it’s tempting to slack off on skin care. Wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours, wear a sun shirt and sunglasses. Sunglasses are very important to protect the eyelid skin and prevent formation of early cataracts from the sun.
And don’t forget a hat. A wide brimmed hat gives an SPF to the nose of about seven, while a ball cap gives an SPF of one. So wear wide brimmed hats, with 4” of coverage all the way around.
4) Don’t forget your lips! Use a lip balm with SPF daily.
5) Clothing generally has an SPF of 10. However, moms can wash their kid’s clothes in a color-free formula that offers greater protection (SPF 30) for these last days of summer camp and the first days of school when it’s still very warm outside. The SPF coating lasts for about 20 washes.
6) Take advantage of late summer sunscreen sales and stock up on a few extra bottles. Keep sunscreen in the car for quick reapplication or in pool and sports bags as we head into back to school season.
7) Diet is important for skincare. Focus on citrus fruits to give skin an antioxidant boost and greater protection. Did you know that if you eat an orange 20 minutes prior to entering the pool, your body gets a natural SPF boost?
8) Exfoliate skin, feet and lips. Summer sun, wind and sand have likely made your skin a bit rougher. August is the perfect time to gently exfoliate. Use an exfoliating product with “alpha hydroxy acids” at night and then be sure to wear sunscreen again the next day.
We sell a great exfoliant in the office from the SkinMetrics line. You can also create a mild exfoliant for yourself (see DIY recipe below). Finally, gentle in-office treatments can improve the look and feel of the skin: lunchtime peels, microdermabrasion or hydrafacial are good options for this time of year.
Facial Recipe — Skin Care Using Pantry Basics
1 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp coarse brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup yogurt
-Pumpkins will be in season soon and they’re easy to oven bake (or simply use canned pumpkin). Stir the pumpkin with a whisk and gently apply to face, spreading a thin layer with your fingers or a facial pad. Leave on skin for 8-10 minutes. Rinse well with water.
Pumpkin is naturally high in vitamins A and C, as well as Zinc. Vitamin A is related to Retin-A, commonly used by dermatologists to build collagen and help fight facial fine lines and wrinkles.
For additional enhancements, mix in the following ingredients:
-Coarse brown sugar can be added to the whipped pumpkin as a gentle exfoliant. It’s something we all have in our pantry and needn’t be purchased in prepackaged scrub form. Raw sugar works well, too! When you’re done with your mask, your skin will appear bright and fresh. Makeup looks great when applied to gently exfoliated skin.
-Honey is a humectant. It absorbs water from the air, drawing the water into our pores and naturally moisturizing skin. The added moisture benefits skin dried out from summer sun, wind and salt.
-Yogurt (or any dairy product, for that matter) has lactic acid. Lactic acid is also a gentle exfoliant. Add 1/2 cup of yogurt into the pumpkin puree so get the benefits of a gentle chemical peel.
Dr. Lain is the founder of Steiner Ranch Dermatology (opened in 2006) and Pflugerville Dermatology (opened in 2010). Both practices focus on general and cosmetic dermatology, including laser surgery and spa services. Dr. Lain has always focused on bringing the latest technologies and medications to his patients. For further information about the practice, please visit www.atxderm.com.