San Francisco in the summer is breathtaking — the parks are in full bloom, the ocean breeze refreshes the soul, and the Golden Gate Bridge gleams in the sunlight. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when we see the most damaging effects of the sun on your skin. A little too much time outdoors, expired sunscreen, or an accidental sunburn can do some serious damage.
The good news is that there are ways to avoid skin damage and keep your skin safe from minor problems and major conditions. If you live in the Bay Area, Dr. Michael Macdonald at Aesthetic Surgery Center can help you get and keep healthy skin this summer and all year long. Here are our tips for protecting your skin as the sun reaches its maximum intensity.
Sunscreen: Never leave home without it
Nothing trumps sunscreen when it comes to preventing sun damage on your skin. Whether the fog rolls in or the sky is bright blue, the sun’s harmful rays penetrate the atmosphere and reach your exposed skin. When it does, it damages the cells deep within. At the very least, this causes premature aging; at worst, it can lead to skin cancer.
Sunscreen acts as a force field that blocks those harmful rays from getting in. Choose one that says broad spectrum on the label for maximum protection for all types of ultraviolet rays and make sure it has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply it every two hours and after you get wet or sweat.
Also, check the expiration date. If you’re using last year’s bottle of sunscreen, you may be slathering on a lotion that has lost its protective powers.
Clock the sun
Your skin is at the highest risk for sunburn when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The rays that beat down between 10am and 3pm are the most intense and can cause damage more quickly.
If possible, avoid spending time outdoors during the middle part of the day, and choose indoor activities instead. If you like to garden or jog, do it in the morning or evening to give your skin a leg up on warding off danger.
Stay in the shade
If you must be outside during the hottest parts of the day, look for shade. Stand under a tree or awning whenever possible.
If no shade is available, bring your own. Keep a wide-brimmed hat handy and an umbrella in your car so you can create your own shade wherever you go. Long sleeves and long pants provide an extra measure of protection, too, and some even come with ultraviolet protection infused into the fabric.
Remember your eyes and lips
It’s easy, even routine, to rub sunscreen all over your exposed skin, but many people forget that their lips and eyes are also vulnerable to the sun. A good pair of sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays and some lip balm with sun protection can keep your lips and eyes safe all summer.
What to do about sun damage
Sun damage is cumulative — it builds up day after day, year after year. Eventually, you start to see the signs of premature aging and outright damage, such as dark spots, wrinkles, and dry, rough skin. If your skin is beginning to show the effects of a life lived outdoors, we can help.
Dr. Macdonald drastically reduces sun damage with a wide array of effective treatments, including:
- BroadBand Light (BBL™) photo rejuvenation
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Custom chemical peels
These are just a few of our services geared toward removing sun damage and other skin imperfections. To learn more about how to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and repair the damage it’s already caused, schedule an appointment with Dr. Macdonald by requesting one online or by calling our friendly staff today.