Temperatures have started to rise in the Valley of the Sun, and with many businesses and organizations still closed because of COVID-19 related restrictions, people are spending their free time outside. While the sun’s UV rays will help the body make vitamin D, which is important for bones, blood cells and the immune system, exposure can also lead to things such as burns, premature aging and skin cancer.

Skin is the largest organ on the human body, guarding us from the extremes in the surrounding environment. Glowing healthy skin can raise our confidence and make us feel ready to face the world. So, what can we do to boost support for our first line of defense? Advanced Image Med Spa provides some suggestions below.

Seek shade: According to the Centers for Disease Control, sun damage can occur with as little as 15 minutes of exposure. One way our clients can reduce their risk is by seeking shade during outdoor activities. Find a book and relax under a tree, take a stroll with an umbrella, and take advantage of the availability of shaded structures when taking part in other outdoor activities.

Wear protective hats and clothing: Your hat or visor needs a boaClothing made from tightly woven clothing provides the best protection against the sun’s rays, as well as long sleeves and long pants when possible. But remember, we are in a desert! It’s also important to utilize clothing that will not cause you to overheat. Many outdoor retailers such as REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods sell clothing specifically made with sun protection and comfort in mind.

Don’t forget the accessories: Sunglasses protect our eyes and the skin around our eyes from damage caused by the sun’s rays. Look for glasses that offer protection from UVA and UVB rays. To give additional protection to your face, ears and the back of your neck, reach for a hat that has a brim all around the hat and not just on the front.

Avoid the peak times: Sunlight is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., during this time it is best to limit sun exposure by remaining indoors or in the shade as much as possible.

Apply sunscreen: Anytime you will be out in the sun, you should reach for a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Advanced Image Med Spa recommends using a mineral sunscreen, one containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and using enough to cover all skin not covered by clothing. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most adults need about one ounce – or enough to fill a shot glass – to fully cover their body. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Mind the extremities: It’s easy to forget smaller areas when applying sunscreen, but even the tops of our feet and the back of our necks need protection. Remember to apply sunscreen to these areas. Our office manager Karen recommends using sunscreen like you would use lotion on your hands intermittently through the day to keep up protection and prevent premature aging there as well.

Sometimes accidents happen, maybe you forgot to reapply or maybe you missed a spot to begin with. If you wind up with a sunburn here are some things you can do to make yourself comfortable and attempt to minimize any lasting damage.

Take aspirin or ibuprofen to lessen discomfort and inflammation related to the burn. Hydrocortisone cream may also be effective in reducing swelling and pain, but only if first used soon after the burn occurs.

Stay hydrated, internally and externally. Drink extra water while you recover from your burn and settle into a cool bath to soothe the damaged skin. Use Aloe Vera or an unscented moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated as it heals.

Avoid further sun exposure while the burn is healing, but if you have to head outdoors, make sure to cover the burn completely to prevent further sun damage.

It is extremely important to seek medical care if you develop blisters that cover a large area or if you start to show other symptoms such as chills, headache or fever.

We want you to have all the information you need to best protect your skin against sun damage and premature aging. If you have any concerns regarding former sun exposure and damage, contact us today to set up a consultation to learn what we can do to help.