Summer is all about baring your skin. But you must be careful to avoid sun damage. With a little extra effort, you can achieve a healthy summer glow.
Q. What should I do to get my skin ready for the summer sun?
A. There are a few things you can do. First, throw away last year’s sunscreen. Once the expiration date has passed, it is no longer effective. Exfoliate to remove dry skin, and hydrate by using plenty of moisturizer.
Q. I love the sun-kissed glow of tan skin, but I’m worried about sun damage.
A. You should consider a sunless tanner. It’s a practical alternative to sunbathing. You can give your skin a tanned look without exposing it to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Topical sunless tanning products are generally considered safe alternatives to sunbathing, as long as they’re used as directed.
Q. I don’t have a much time to invest in a summer skin regime. Are there a few basics to keeping my skin healthy?
A. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can actually help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen when you’re in the sun.
Q. My dry skin seems to get even dryer in the summer. How can I manage it?
A. Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so be gentle. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, use warm rather than hot water, and choose mild cleansers.
Also, with bare legs comes shaving. Remember to shave carefully. Lubricate your skin with shaving cream, lotion or gel beforehand and always shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it. Finally, find a moisturizer that works with your skin type.
Q. I hate shaving all the time in the summer – what about laser hair removal?
A. If you don’t want to have to deal with the shaving process, laser hair removal may be for you. Most people experience little or no pain with laser hair removal compared to other methods like waxing or electrolysis. It’s ideal for large areas such as the legs and back.
Although a series of treatments over time is commonly needed, the result can be rewarding. Some individuals might even see very long-term hair removal that might last for many years, while others might require maintenance treatments over time to maintain their degree of hair loss.
It is truly impossible to determine in advance who will require how many treatments and how long the hair will remain gone. You should call your dermatologist for a consult.
Dr. Oswald Lightsey Mikell, certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is the owner of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.