Living in a sunny climate comes with many perks. More time spent in the sun means higher levels of vitamin D and lower odds for depression. However, all that sunshine also comes with an increased risk for premature wrinkles and skin cancer.
Other skin concerns for people living in sunny locales include increased flare-ups of certain skin conditions. This includes rosacea and rhinophyma, sometimes called “alcoholic nose.” Although rhinophyma isn’t tied to alcohol use, drinking alcohol does open the blood vessels and can cause a flushed face, which is how the two have been incorrectly linked.
Drinking alcohol can also, like the sun, be dehydrating. Try to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have.
Here are some simple things to keep in mind to protect your skin while still reaping the benefits the sun provides.
Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m
Bonus points if you can stay inside a bit longer even, until 4 p.m. This is when skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation and ultraviolet rays (UV rays) are at their strongest in the U.S. Especially avoid activities where UV rays can be magnified, such as by reflecting off water, sand, or snow.
Some dermatologists believe that this is the single most important thing that you can do to protect your skin. If you are able to stick to it very regularly, it can even be the only thing you need to do.
Wear SPF 30 sunscreen on your face, ears, neck, and hands every day
These are the places where skin cancer most often develops.
Research tells us that UVB rays, the rays responsible for sunburn, are mostly blocked by windows, but UVA rays, which are the ones responsible for premature skin aging and wrinkles, are not. Over time, exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer. So even if you’re spending primetime sunlight hours indoors or in your car, exposed skin could still be soaking up those UV rays.
Luckily, sunblock products have come a long way from their greasy, pasty beginnings. Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on your face, even if you’re wearing makeup that contains sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen every two hours you are in the sun.
Create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun
Permission granted to go on a shopping spree. Clothing, hats, shoes, and umbrellas can all play a significant role in keeping your skin protected from harmful UV rays.
Look for light, flowy clothing that covers the arms and the legs. Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics provide the best sun protection. Wide-brimmed hats, like bucket hats or floppy sun hats, often provide coverage for the ears and neck in addition to the face. Shoes that cover your feet are best, but when flip-flops and sandals become irresistible, just slather on the sunscreen first.
If handheld umbrellas aren’t your thing, look for big beach or patio umbrellas to use on the beach, at the park, or in other places where you’ll be relaxing outside.
Drink lots of water
Whether you’re inside most of the day or outside, drinking enough water is essential for skin health. In fact, a recent study showed that getting enough water improves the skin’s biomechanical behavior, which includes the ability to protect against UV radiation.
Current recommendations from The National Academy of Medicine say women need nine 8-ounce cups of water daily and men need 13 8-ounce cups. However, if you live in a sunny climate, you might need more than this. The group recommends higher water consumption for people in warm climates and for those who are very physically active.
A sunny day can make it easier to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and get the blood pumping. Take the few simple steps listed here to protect your skin from UV rays and feel good about all of your time spent outdoors.