Summer is a great time to ramp up your self-care routine. The warm weather and longer days mean more time spent outdoors. While being outdoors is great for increasing your mood and getting Vitamin D, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause damage to your skin. Overexposure to the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. This doesn’t mean that you need to avoid going outdoors, but you do need to take the necessary measures to protect your skin.
Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial for everyone, even those with darker complexions. It has become a misconception that people of color do not need to use sunscreen. The belief is that the melanin in their skin protects against the sun’s harmful rays. However, while melanin does provide some protection, it does not provide total protection. African Americans and people of color can still get a sunburn and skin cancer. Therefore, people with darker skin tones also need to use sunscreen.
Below are some tips for protecting your skin:
Try to avoid staying out in the sun too long during the hottest times of the day between 10:00 am -4:00 pm. If you need to be outdoors for long periods during this time, try to find a shady area and protect your skin.
Wear sunscreen! Sunscreen should protect against UVA and UV and contain an SPF of 30 or greater. It should also be water resistant. It’s important to apply every 1-2 hours and especially after swimming or vigorous activity that makes you sweat. When applying sunscreen to exposed areas use at least two tablespoons. You should go no longer than 20 minutes in the sun without applying sunscreen.
Protect exposed areas. If you are outdoors for prolonged periods, there are areas of your body that get hit the hardest from the sun. The scalp, tip of the nose, arms, neck, and possibly your feet if they are not covered by your shoes. Make sure these areas of covered if possible; wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses or maybe wear shoes. If these areas are exposed, make sure you cover with sunscreen.
There are other ways you can care for you skin during the summer time.
Water is your skin’s best friend. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Carrying a water bottle can help you remember to get it all in. Water is not only a good way to clear out toxins but also great for hydrating your skin which improves its appearance.
Exfoliate your skin for a great summer glow. As the body sheds skin cells, the dead skin can set in and cause a dull appearance if not treated. When taking a shower, grab your favorite scrub and gently rub the product in a circular motion over your entire body. Then rinse clean. You can continue this routine 2-3 times per week. It’s great for your skin and is a nice selfcare routine. Below is an example of a DIY scrub
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown sugar- preferably organic)
1/2 cup oil (olive oil and coconut oil work great)
Optional: essential oils of your preference (5-7 drops)
Your skin is sensitive and beautiful. This summer, take the time to give it the attention it needs and deserves.
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