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5 Tips to Pamper Summer Skin

The sun is by far one of the biggest threats to your skin so you need to take the steps to protect and pamper it.
The sun is by far one of the biggest threats to your skin so you need to take the steps to protect and pamper it.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Ahh, summer. Sun, surf, picnics, parks, lazy days by the pool ... and sweat, sunburn, clogged pores and oil-slick skin. Between the sun, heat, humidity, chlorine, sand and salt (not to mention all the poison ivy and mosquitos), your skin can really take a beating in the summer months. Someone needs to protect it, and -- surprise, surprise -- that someone is you.

The sun is by far the biggest threat to your skin -- all year round, of course, but especially in the summer. Skin cancer is the most common form of the disease, and sun damage causes a large majority of those cases. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, one in five Americans will get some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. So protecting your skin from the sun is one thing you cannot do halfway.

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Unfortunately, all that sunscreen you're slathering on your face -- and all that sweating you're probably doing -- can make your skin behave pretty badly in the summertime. But if you make just a few strategic seasonal changes to your skin-care regimen and makeup collection, you'll see a big improvement.

That said, we realize there are going to be times that you're not quite on your game -- when you fail to put your sunglasses and hat into your beach bag or forget to reapply sunscreen during a long day at the pool. So, here are five ways to protect your skin from the dangers of summer -- and how to make things feel better when there are some holes in that protection.

Everyone needs to wear sunscreen in the summer, no exceptions -- you're not off the hook if you're dark-skinned. Your sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 and be zinc-based, water-resistant and offer broad-screen protection. You'll need to apply at least 1 ounce of it to your entire body about 15 to 30 minutes before you head outside, being careful to remember your ears, lips and backs of your hands. Once you're at the pool, reapply every two hours. Got it? Good.

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Beyond your trusty sunscreen, there are plenty of other ways to protect your skin when you're outside. The darker and tighter the weave of your clothing, the better -- and clothes with built-in sun protection are actually better than any sunscreen. Sun-shunners should also add wide-brimmed hats and big sunglasses to their summer wardrobes. And if you want the sun-kissed look without the risk, there's no shame in fake-baking with a sunless tanner.

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If you do slip up and end up getting burned, you need to soothe your tender, dried-out skin ASAP. Add some baking soda to a cool bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice open the leaf of an aloe vera plant and apply the gel to your skin a few times a day. Dunk some washcloths in an icy bowl of skim milk and lay them on your skin for up to 10 minutes. Drink lots of water and pop ibuprofen. The good news here is that, once you've been burned once, you'll definitely be extra careful not to let it happen again!

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Even if your skin is dry and cracked during the winter, it can become an entirely different animal in the summer. Sweat and sunscreen buildup can really do a number on your skin, so you might need to rework your skin-care regimen in the dog days. First, switch to a lighter, water-based moisturizer. Second, you'll also want to exfoliate more to clear out clogged pores and get rid of dead skin. Salicylic acid peels can take oil out of pores, kill bacteria and even out your skin tone.

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While you're overhauling your cleansers and skin-care products, why not revamp your makeup bag for the summer, too? If you're using a liquid or cream foundation, ditch it in favor of mineral or powder. Remember, though, that even if your foundation has SPF, you still need to put on sunscreen. Try out bronzing powder for your cheeks instead of cream blush. Lip gloss (with SPF, of course) looks lighter and fresher in the summer than creamy, matte lipsticks.

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Sources

  • Almasi, Mary Rose. "Dermatologists' Summer Skin Secrets." Allure. 2011. (Aug. 21, 2012) http://www.allure.com/skin-care/2011/dermatologists-summer-skin-secrets
  • Daily Glow. "Summer Skin Care." (Aug. 21, 2012) http://www.dailyglow.com/skin-care-tips/summer-skin-care.html
  • Healy, Michelle. "Expert Advice on Summer Skin Care." USA Today. May 16, 2011. (Aug. 21, 2012) http://yourlife.usatoday.com/your-look/story/2011/05/Expert-advice-on-summer-skin-care/47074654/1
  • Zamora, Dulce. "How Your Skin Can Survive Summer." WebMD. (Aug. 21, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/how-your-skin-can-survive-summer

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