Here at my plastic surgery practice near Fort Myers, we like to joke that summer never really ends in Florida. But as our season prepares to transition from hot to hotter, and we make plans to spend even more time outside, it’s important to know the latest on how to protect yourself from the sun — as well as how to ease symptoms if you get too much.
- Daily: Everyday sun protection is mandatory for everyone, even people who don’t get out much. Leaving a note in your bathroom or setting a reminder on your phone to apply your sunscreen before you leave the house can help you make it a habit. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before you leave the house. If you find that sunscreen tends to get into your eyes, choose a formula that’s zinc-based to prevent that stinging sensation. Ladies, don’t rely on the SPF in your foundation or BB cream to do the job. Apply a sunscreen base before putting on your makeup for maximum protection. We offer an array of clinical-strength products that protect skin of all ages and types.
- When you’re outside: Whether you’re doing yard work or spending the afternoon at the beach, days with extra sun exposure call for extra protection. Follow the rules above, but reapply at least every couple of hours, especially if you’ve been swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Although it can be too hot to cover up with clothing, wear a wide-brimmed hat to help keep you cool and your scalp protected. If you can, try to take shelter indoors or under a canopy when the sun is at its most intense — typically between noon and 4 p.m.
- If you’ve gotten too much: Occasional sun “overdoses” can happen to even the most vigilant among us. If you’re feeling the burn, try to take cool baths or showers to soothe skin and preserve moisture. Keep burned skin hydrated with a fragrance-free moisturizer, especially one that contains aloe. If your burn itches or peels, do your best not to scratch. Instead, apply an ointment that contains vitamins A and D, which facilitate the healing process and ease the itch. (Diaper rash cream is surprisingly helpful, and you can pick it up at the drugstore.) Sprinkling cornstarch in your bed sheets and wearing loose-fitting clothing are also good ways to reduce pain while your burn heals.
In the long term, sun damage can cause lingering lines, wrinkles, and spots. Although we can’t undo your beach days, clinical treatments like IPL can reduce some of the evidence, fading sun spots and improving sun-damaged skin’s tone and texture.
We want you to have fun and be safe this summer and all year round. Contact us today to learn more about our most innovative options for caring for your skin.