First, let’s tackle sun damage. What best skincare practices do you recommend to protect yourself while soaking up some rays?
“The most important thing to do in the summer to prevent sun damage is properly using a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen,” Dr. Colombo explains. These sunscreens should have both UVA and UVB protection.
Moreover, how you put on your sunscreen is just as important.
“Sunscreen should be applied in a thick enough layer to cover all sun-exposed areas of the body. And, it should be reapplied every two hours you’re out in the sun,” she continued. Plus, if you decide to take a dip in the pool or ocean, that can impact your level of protection. Dr. Colombo advises patients to reapply sunscreen every hour if they are getting wet.
Since tanning is known to cause long-term skin damage, many women have turned to using self-tanners. Is this a healthy option, and does it have dermatological downsides?
“The use of self-tanners is definitely preferable over tanning through sun exposure or the use of a tanning bed,” Dr. Colombo says. Both of these methods can lead to skin cancers and significant sun damage over time, contributing to accelerated signs of aging.
She also shares how the active ingredient used in self-tanners is known as DHA (dihydroxyacetone). It does not absorb into the skin but rather sits on top of dead skin.
“This makes it not harmful. But some downsides to their use are that they can dry out the skin and cosmetically look orange-ish or uneven. And, if you sweat with self-tanner on, you may release an odor that some people find unpleasant,” Dr. Colombo explains.
Are other skin issues known to flare up during hotter months as opposed to the winter?
“Dryness tends to be less of a problem in the summer months, but some people that have sensitive skin with eczema may flare during the summer due to a reaction to heat and excessive sweating. “Sweat-related rashes such as tinea versicolor and jock itch may also flare in hot, summer months. These can be combatted by regularly bathing, thoroughly drying moist areas of skin, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, and making sure you only wear clean items.”
Finally, have you seen any recent trends people should avoid at all costs to maintain skin health?
“One trend that seems the most alarming to me as a dermatologist is the sunscreen contouring hack seen all over TikTok,” Dr. Colombo says. “With this trend, uncovered areas are susceptible to the harmful effects of sun exposure, such as future skin cancers and accelerating aging presenting as uneven pigmentation and wrinkling. You may look ‘naturally contoured’ while young, but it is not worth it!” Instead, Dr. Colombo reiterated that even and thick applications of sunscreen are the best way to go. And if you really want to get a contoured look, you can always use face or body makeup.
For more summer skincare tips and tricks, follow us on social media or speak to one of our Board Certified Dermatologists here at Skintap!