Summer Skin Care

Sunshine, heat, humidity, and chlorine can do a number on summer skin. For
one thing, the sun’s rays are particularly strong, so the chances of developing
wrinkles, age spots — or even worse, skin cancer — increase. Plus, higher heat
and humidity mean more rashes, breakouts, and cloggedpores, while chlorine dries
out your skin (and your hair!) Hey, don’t let these potential downers rain on
your summer parade. Follow these 10 summer skin tactics and you’ll be good to
glow.

Don’t skip the moisturizer: Your skin may be less dry these
days, but don’t banish that moisturizer. Instead, switch to lighter, water-based
formulas for both face and body, and swap your heavy eye cream for a lighter
serum.

Slather on the sunscreen: Choose products that provide
broad-spectrum protection (they block both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B
(UVB) rays) with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Apply sunscreen
liberally (at least a one-ounce shot-glass-size amount) before you go outside;
reapply every two hours and always after swimming. And don’t let those clouds
fool you — apply sunscreen every single day!

Bring on the balm:Lips are susceptible to skin cancer too,
so be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sun-protective lip balm with an SPF of at
least 15 to keep lips sun-safe and supple.

Switch to summer makeup: Trade liquid foundation for a
lighter, mineral-based powder with a minimum SPF of 15. Skip the creamy blush
and instead go for a natural-looking glow with a touch of bronzing powder. Use
waterproof mascara for streak-free swimming, and ditch that lipstick for a dab
of tinted gloss.

Don sun-protective clothing: No need to cover up head to
toe, but do consider a long-sleeved shirt, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses at
the beach, at least for part of the day. Remember, tightly woven, darker fabrics
are better sun blockers than lightweight, light-hued fabrics, or try clothing
especially made for sun protection.

Go for the faux: Minimize your chances of wrinkles, age
spots, and skin cancer by skipping the suntan altogether and opting for a
sunless self-tanner, spray tan, or airbrushing.

Exfoliate regularly: Sun, sand, sweat, and sunscreen only
increase the amount of dead skin cells that build up on your face and body.
Slough them off with an exfoliating scrub or loofah a few times each week. (A
beautiful bonus: Exfoliating will also help your self-tanner go on more evenly
and prevent streaking.)

Practice smart shaving: Short shorts and sundresses mean
more frequent shaving sessions, and that can irritate and/or dry out skin. This
season, be sure to replace your razor often, shave only after you’ve been in the
shower for a few minutes (when your hairs will be softer), use a moisturizing
shaving cream or gel, rinse thoroughly, and moisturize immediately
afterward.

Head off heat rash: High temps and humidity may mean heat
rash, especially if you’re overdressed or prone to sweating a lot. Do your best
to keep cool and stay dry, and avoid wearing clothes that rub or irritate your
skin. A mild heat rash should go away on its own, but if it’s accompanied by
swelling, oozing, dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing, seek medical
attention ASAP, since those symptoms may be signs of an infection or a more
serious heat-related illness.

Prevent rosacea: This common skin condition can be
exacerbated by heat, causing your face to swell, get red, and break out in
little pimples. If you’re prone to rosacea, seek refuge in air-conditioning,
wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, and keep cool by taking cold showers,
misting yourself with a spray bottle, and drinking plenty of cold water.

Use these 10 simple strategies for skin care in summer and you’ll have the
best-looking — and the healthiest — skin on the beach!

How can I keep my skin healthy?

Your skin is the largest organ on your body, made up of several different components, including water, protein, lipids and different minerals and chemicals. If you’re average, your skin weighs about six pounds. It’s job is crucial: to protect you from infections and germs. Throughout your life, your skin will change constantly, for better or worse. In fact, your skin will regenerate itself approximately every 27 days. Proper skin care is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this protective organ.

It’s easy to forget to drink that glass of water or to cleanse yourself at night when you’re tired. But over time, those bad habits can take a toll on your skin. Each day, provide your skin with:

* Plenty of water.
* Thorough cleansing.
* Balanced nutrition.
* Toning.
* Moisturizing.

Over the course of your life, you should pay attention to all parts of your skin. Familiarize yourself with it, so you’ll notice any changes that might occur, such as different moles or patches that might indicate skin cancer. Whenever you have a question or concern, make sure you see your doctor.

How Does My Skin Work?

Medical terms for various parts of your skin are commonly used today to sell skin care products and procedures. Here’s a rough guide to what those terms mean.

Epidermis: The Outer Layer of Skin

The epidermis is the thinnest layer in your skin, but it’s responsible for protecting you from the harsh environment. The epidermis has five layers of its own: stratum germinativum, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and stratum corneum. The epidermis also hosts different types of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes and Langerhans cells. Keratinocytes produce the protein known as keratin, the main component of the epidermis. Melanocytes produce your skin pigment, known as melanin. Langerhans cells prevent foreign substances from getting into your skin.

Dermis: The Middle Layer

This is the layer responsible for wrinkles. The dermis is a complex combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find collagen and elastin, two proteins necessary for skin health because they offer support and elasticity. Fibroblasts are the cells you’ll find in this layer, because they synthesize collagen and elastin. This layer also contains pain and touch receptors.

Hypodermis: The Fatty Layer

Reduction of tissue in this layer is what causes your skin to sag. This layer is also known as the subcutis. It hosts sweat glands, and fat and collagen cells. The hypodermis is responsible for conserving your body’s heat and protecting your vital inner organs.

Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin, making up 75% of your skin. This is also your fountain of youth, for it’s responsible for warding off wrinkles and fine lines. Over time, environmental factors and aging diminish your body’s ability to produce collagen.

Elastin

When you hear the word elastin, think elastic. This protein is found with collagen in the dermis, and is responsible for giving structure to your skin and organs. As with collagen, elastin is affected by time and the elements. Diminished levels of this protein cause your skin to wrinkle and sag.

Keratin

Keratin is the strongest protein in your skin. It’s also dominant in hair and nails. Keratin is what forms the rigidity of your skin.

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