July is the time for some “fun in the sun.” However, before you engage in summer outdoor frivolity, don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen. Why is sunscreen so important? It prevents sunburns, which can result in long-lasting damage to the skin and more importantly, it decreases your risk of developing skin cancer. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. So this summer, be a responsible sun worshipper and heed these facts about the importance and benefits of using sunscreen.
- Protects your skin from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun; the ozone layer is depleting, which means our body needs sunscreen as an added protection from these harmful rays.
- Keeps you looking young; while “fun in the sun” is great for your tan and vitamin D production, it’s also the cause of premature aging of the face. Lathering up with sunscreen is the best prevention for wrinkles and leathery skin.
- Prevents brown spots on the face and helps keep your skin tone even.
- Protects from sunburns; suntans are cute … sunburns are not and can sometimes be painful.
- Protects all skin types; yes, those with lighter skin tones are more at risk of getting skin cancer, however, don’t be fooled by the myth that if you have a darker skin tone, you won’t get skin cancer. People of color are more likely to have late-stage skin cancer diagnoses
- Is important to wear every day, even on cloudy and rainy days. Those are the days you’re more likely to burn!
- Is safe, easy to apply and comes in several options (creams and sprays, various SPF levels). Many sunscreens are built into most daily moisturizers.
- Should be reapplied every two hours (to the face, arms and legs) Don’t forget to apply lip balm with sunscreen on your lips!
- Combined with other safeguards from the sun (clothing, shade and hydration), protects from more than sunburn; sunscreen can lessen the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, as well.
Sunscreens – So Many Options
Sunscreen now comes in many options – spray, cream, stick, water resistant, mineral, and in SPF 15, 30, 50 and higher. How do you select the right sunscreen? It boils down to preference and the level of protection needed for your skin type.
Here are factors to consider when selecting sunscreen:
- Spray sunscreen is a great option especially for children. It’s easy to apply, but the key is to apply generously and reapply often.
- Moisturizers, lipsticks and foundations containing sunscreen are great for everyday use when not spending much time outdoors.
- Mineral or hypoallergenic sunscreens are available for those with sensitive skin or those who would like to avoid chemical sunscreens. These sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and provide protection without irritation.
- Water-resistant sunscreen is formulated to stay on the skin even after getting wet. Like regular sunscreen, it is important to reapply every two hours.
- Sunscreen sticks are ideal for spot application on the nose and ears, two areas of the face that are most prevalent to being affected by skin cancer.
- Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and SPF 30 or higher are recommended.
It may require trying several different sunscreen options before making a final selection, or you can seek out recommendations from a Board certified dermatologist.
Some Common Sunscreen Mistakes
- Using too little sunscreen
About one ounce or a palm full of sunscreen is recommended and is enough to cover the arms, legs, neck and face of an average adult.
- Not reapplying sunscreen every two hours
Apply sunscreen even more often if you are swimming or sweating.
- Believing that “waterproof” sunscreen will last all day
Typically, waterproof sunscreen lasts 40 to 80 minutes.
Best rule of thumb? Don’t be stingy with the sunscreen! Use lots of it and use it often.
What is Holistic Dermatology?
Holistic dermatology relies on using all-natural products and remedies to treat skin conditions. Using natural dermatology to treat the underlying causes of an individual’s skin problem using the least invasive means first.
What Causes Your Skin to Break Out?
Although everyone has different underlying causes for skin issues these are some common things that can cause anyone’s skin to break out. Acne affects up to 80% of people sometime during their lives. So, it’s important to know what might be causing the breakouts so you can preemptively treat the root causes instead of focusing only on the symptoms.
The simplest cause of most breakouts are clogged pores for an assortment of reasons. Acne of all stages, white heads, black heads and pimples are all caused when your hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. Often time in addition to regular daily activities, excess sweating, make-up use or a build-up of other products can affect negatively affect your pores.
One of the biggest factors when it comes to breakouts is hormonal changes. Hormones fluctuate for many different reasons and stress is one of them that affects both genders. Emotional stress hasn’t been proven to trigger brand new cases of acne, but it can prolong or worsen existing breakouts.
Contrary to popular belief cutting out greasy foods alone has very little effect on acne. However, many studies have found links between worsened acne symptoms and dairy products, sugar, and carbohydrate-rich foods. It’s important to note that people's bodies respond differently to all types of dietary restrictions, so it may not be a quick fix.
Tips and Tricks for Effective Holistic Dermatology
While many people are stuck at home unable to visit the dermatologist, the following suggestions are some holistic acne treatment tips that can be used at home.
Simple Stress Relievers
When cooped up at home, or under pressure from outside sources it’s important to take time for yourself and acknowledge the connection between a person's mental health and their physical well-being. Practicing deep breathing or yoga, reducing your caffeine intake, exercising, lighting incense or candles and listening to music are all simple ways to reduce some stress that can have a positive effect on your skin.
It may be common sense that you should establish a routine even when at home, but it can easy to forget. Avoiding touching your face is not only a good suggestion to avoid getting sick and spreading germs but it also keeps extra dirt and bacteria from transferring from your fingertips to your pores. While it is important to remove excess oil, buildup, and sweat washing your face too frequently or with harsh chemicals and exfoliants can have adverse effects as well. Use warm, water and a mild cleanser, do not scrub, rinse with cool water, pat dry with a clean towel and follow up with a moisturizer of your choice.
Switch Up Your Diet
While you may not have a severe allergy to certain foods or food groups if you are noticing worsening skin issues such as dryness, discoloration, itchiness and increased breakouts it’s worth it to examine your diet. Keep a food journal to help you keep track or try your own version of an elimination diet if you already suspect certain types of foods may be causing a break out. In general, decreasing your intake of processed food and sugar is a great first step. Increasing cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts will help detoxify your system and fresh berries can help reduce inflammation.
Use Natural Products
There are some natural products that you may already have at home that can be used to relieve some symptoms. Dry bouts of inflammation like psoriasis or eczema can be soothed with ginger root, spirulina, and turmeric which are all-natural anti-inflammatory immune boosters. Oily skin and acne breakouts can be reduced with witch hazel and tea tree oil. Both of these can be used as a holistic treatment for acne because they address bacterial build up and help keep your skin clean and dry. Bakuchiol, a new and exciting holistic treatment has been shown to act like a natural retinoid, with less irritation. It can reduce acne and inflammation and prevent wrinkles.
Power Up with Probiotics & Supplements
Keeping your skin healthy from home can be as simple as boosting up your internal nutrients. A lot of nutrients come from our diet, however, sometimes supplements can help fill the gaps. Studies have linked increased intake of probiotics, omega-3’s, vitamin B, vitamin D, and zinc to benefiting people with acne. If you are unable to get these supplements, work on incorporating a nutrient-dense diet, make an effort to eat and drink things with higher levels of these key nutrients.
Consult with a holistic dermatologist online!
While non-emergency in-person appointments have been put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving a virtual consultation with a holistic skin care specialist to better understand your individual situation is highly recommended.