Hot weather, humidity, salt water, and chlorine all take their toll on summer skin, but the most damaging factor, without question, is the sun. "The #1 cause of lines and wrinkles is sun exposure," warns skincare expert Renee Rouleau. "If you want to look young, avoid the sun. It's really that simple. A little sun damage = a little damage. A lot of sun = a lot of damage." To keep your skin safe and gorgeous all summer long, Rouleau offers these helpful tips and solutions:
WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY Researchers at UCLA discovered that 78% of all the sun damage incurred in a lifetime is caused by incidental exposure! Even if you're not outside all day, just walking to your car, or even driving adds up to a sizable amount of cumulative exposure, and windshields do nothing to protect you from UV rays. Be sure to wear a moisturizer that contains a sunblock with a minimum of SPF 15; apply it in the morning so you'll be protected all day.
SLATHER, SLATHER, SLATHER While super-high SPF numbers sound impressive - eg. SPF 30 compared to SPF 15 - in truth, the 30 doesn't offer double the protection...it offers only 4% more protection. The higher numbers (SPF 45, 50, 70 +) increase that percentage, but also expose your skin to more chemicals that could cause it to react in a negative way. The true secret to protecting your skin in the sun is to re-apply your sunscreen at least every two hours - and generously! A little dab won't do ya, you need to slather it on.
AVOIDING FACIAL BREAKOUTS It's widely believed that greasy foods and chocolate cause breakouts, but if cyst-like bumps appear on your chin and jawline, the likely culprit is dairy. Eliminate cheese, milk, ice cream, and frozen yogurt from your diet, and watch your skin clear up (to get enough calcium, try broccoli, asparagus and orange juice).
AVOIDING BACK BREAKOUTS If you're prone to breaking out on your back, check to see if your hair conditioner contains Panthenol. Although it strengthens hair, the residue left on your back after rinsing can clog pores. For a clear back all summer, avoid any hair products with Panthenol, be sure to exfoliate your back three times per week with a mild cleansing gel and a cloth, and apply an anti-bacterial lotion.
SOOTHING A SUNBURN So you thought you had on plenty of sunscreen and the next thing you know, you're fried. The worst thing you can do is keep re-applying lotion - especially one that's aloe vera based - as layers of lotion trap the heat, keeping skin red longer. To let out the heat, skin has to breathe. Apply an anti-inflammatory and heat remover such as chilled plain yogurt, let it dry for 15 minutes, and rinse; repeat every hour.
BLOT AWAY THE OIL There are no miracle products that control the extra oil you get during the summer months, but there is one great way to keep that shine under control: oil blotting paper. It removes oils from the skin, giving the feeling of freshly washed skin. In a pinch? The type of paper used for toilet seat covers in public restrooms is similar to expensive oil blotting papers. Tear off a piece and press firmly on the skin. Voila! (Or, for a touch of Ye Olde World Elegance, tuck a small booklet of Papier Poudre blotting papers in your makeup bag - available at Amazon.com)
For more on Renee and her customized approach to skincare, check out ReneeRouleau.com.
- Lesley Scott
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