Hot, humid days. Warm, tropical nights. Evening barbecues. Pinacoladas by the beach. Oh, yeah, the joys of summer.
But in the midst of vacationing and making memories this year, don’t forget the damage these lazy days can have on you physically.
Heat, humidity, and the sun extract a heavy price. Not only are you more prone to heat stroke and sunburn during the summer months, you can also be doing long term damage by basking it in the sun’s warm rays.
Yes, it feels good to lie in the sun. And a tan looks hot—it’s a proud “I’ve been to the beach” statement.
But unless you take the necessary precautions, you’ll do irrevocable damage to your skin that can lead to skin cancer and make you look much older than you are.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
Obviously, you cannot escape the ultraviolet rays of the sun, nor should you try to. Sunlight, in reasonable doses, enables natural immunity, promotes skin growth and healing, stimulates hormone production, and contributes to an overall sense of well-being.
Getting some sunlight for 15 or 20 minutes a day enables the body to manufacture vitamin D, naturally, and is responsible for the synthesis of the pigment melanin, the skin’s natural sunscreen.
The trouble begins when excessive exposure, coupled with the fact that the ozone layer is eroding, allows more of the harmful UV rays to reach the Earth’s surface—namely, UVA (which contributes to increased skin aging), UVB (which contributes to sunburn and related damage), and UVC (the most damaging) rays.
UVB rays, dubbed the “burning rays,” target the upper layers of skin. UVA rays, referred to as the “silent killers,” penetrate farther and destroy the collagen matrix. UVC rays are considered the most dangerous, causing damage with even short exposure.
With all of these threatening light rays constantly battering your skin, it’s easy to see how wrinkles and other aging effects can occur. Furthermore, the disturbance of genetic material and cell formation are the factors that lead to the development of skin cancer.
SUMMER SKINCARE BASICS
So if you plan on some summer sun worship, follow these guidelines for healthier and beautiful skin:
Always use a sunscreen. Apply 20minutes before you go into the sun to allow your skin time to absorb it. Reapply as needed throughout the day, particularly after a swim.
Wear broad-rimmed hats, light-colored cover-ups, and UV protective sunglasses when in the sun.
Whenever possible, stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm to avoid exposure to the most intensive rays.
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and heat stroke.
Apply cool compresses to sunburned skin to help reduce the area temperature. Never exfoliate or use a mask on sunburned skin until the area has healed, and be sure to go light on your favourite perfume until the burn is gone.
Protect the lips with a lysine-based product that includes sunscreen.
Keep in mind that sun exposure occurs in any outdoor activity, not just sunbathing. Protect your skin anytime you are outdoors during the day. Use self-tanners, bronzing powders, and tinted moisturizers to achieve that sunglow.
Remember, the damaging effects of sun are cumulative; foster good skin health habits while young.
GORGEOUS HAIR IN SUMMER
These hair-care solutions turn the season into one that promises simple beauty:
Can hair become sunburned?
Your hair may feel “fried” after a day at the beach but hair can’t technically burn because it’s not alive. Sun exposure will, however, damage your hair’s natural protective film.
According to a study by the Renee Furterer Research Center, after just three days of sun exposure, the scale-like cells that cover each individual hair shaft begin to pull off. This makes your hair dry, dull, fragile and brittle. Choose hair products containing sunscreen since hair can suffer damaging effects from the sun if not well-protected.
How does sun exposure affect color-treated hair?
Hair that has been dyed or highlighted (stripped of it’s natural color) is especially prone to UV damage. Color treated hair is already damaged, the sun will make the cuticle even rougher which makes hair more fragile and dried out.
What’s the best way to prevent sun damage to hair?
Look for a product that contains an oil or sun protectant. Whatever you use, apply it liberally and often, especially after you’ve been swimming.
How do chlorine and salt damage hair?
Both chlorine and salt water bind to the hair. Mineral deposits in salt water, in combination with sunlight, severely dehydrate hair and can turn it brassy.
Rinse hair in fresh water immediately before and after swimming in a pool or sea water. This is because wet hair will absorb less chlorine than dry hair. Try a shampoo designed to remove chlorine and salt from the hair.
What’s the best way to treat hair that’s been sun damaged?
Deep condition your hair using a product containing keratin, jojoba oil, wheat germ protein or other natural ingredients that increase moisture, shine and elasticity.
Leave-in conditioners can be especially good choices during the summer months since heat helps activate the ingredients to better penetrate the hair. If your hair seems dull, condition after shampooing then rinse it with a mixture of vinegar and water.
Finally, schedule trims for the beginning and end of the summer season to rid your hair of dry, older ends and keep your cut in shape.