Summer Skin Safety

Kachiu Lee, M.D.

It's that time of year to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.

With longer days and more sunlight hours, don’t forget to prioritize your skin health! 

Here are some tips for protecting your skin during this season:

1.       Hydrate

It may not be intuitive, but hydrating is just as important in the summer as it is in winter.  The heat of summer causes lots of fluid loss, especially through sweating. Make sure you’re drinking lots of fluids like water – it will hydrate your body and your skin too. 

Pro tip: For a quick refresher, try using a sterilized can of water spray.

2.       Protect your skin

Protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage caused by the sun is vital, especially  in spring and summer. Even on a chilly spring day, the UV index in April and May can be the same as August and September.  Don’t let the chilly temperatures trick you into forgetting your sunblock!  In addition to wearing sunblock, I’m also a big advocate for using sun-protective clothing.

Pro tip: Try sun-protective clothing items. You’d be surprised at how lightweight they are! 

3.       Apply and re-apply

Even when you’re using SPF regularly, remember to re-apply!  Sunscreen starts breaking down the second it leaves the bottle, and it’s important to re-apply every two hours. I also caution against the use of spray sunscreen for children. In 2015, the World Health Organization issued a warning about the inhalation risks from using spray sunscreens on children.

Pro tip: Always use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or above.  Use one ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas of the body in order to get the SPF protection advertised on the bottle. That’s about the size of a shot glass!

4.       Repair your skin

If you do get burned, remember to soothe your skin. Aloe is helpful, but continued protection from sun exposure is a must, even after nourishing your skin.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to use sunblock or sun protective clothing over all burned areas.

5. See a dermatologist

Remember A-B-C-D-E: If you find a lesion that is Asymmetric, has irregular Borders, multiple Colors, Diameter greater than six millimeters, or is Evolving (new/changing lesions), you should always see a dermatologist.  These are the ABCDEs of melanoma, and anything that fits into these categories warrants being examined more closely. Additionally, if you have any non-healing spots or “pimples”, it is important to get these checked out.

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