‘TIs the season for the sun-kissed look. Except, with skin cancer rates on the rise and in your efforts to hold off aging skin tell-tales like wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines, you’ll want to treat your skin right this summer.

Your skin is your largest organ. Weighing about eight pounds for the average adult and covering over 22 square feet, your skin is not only the protective barrier for your other organs, muscles, and systems, it also processes vitamin D and a host of other transdermal agents. And it is also a powerful signal for your overall health. Issues with liver damage and kidney failure are often noticed first in the skin. Rashes, dry patches, and scaling can lead to helping diagnose autoimmune issues.

So how can you show your skin the love this summer? There are a host of tried-and-true habits that can help, while there are also some new players on the block. Check out these ideas for keeping your summer skin in tip-top shape.

Mineral sunscreens: If you’ve spent any time in some of the coastal waters off of Hawaii and other locations around the world, you may know that there is a move afoot away from wearing chemical-based sunscreens while in those habitats. Why? Chemical-based sunscreens are suspected in poisoning fragile coral reef areas and in causing damage to those structures. There is also concern about the impact of chemical-based sunscreens on wildlife and sea-based plants.

Given that chemical sunscreens are known to cause this kind of harm, should you be putting these products on your skin? And if you decide not to put these chemicals on your skin, what should you use?

Many dermatologists are recommending that their patients consider switching to mineral-based sunscreens. Dermatologist Anisha Patel, M.D., says, ““Mineral sunscreens offer the most protection because they’re literally creating a physical separation between you and the sun.” That’s great news because it means you’re able to give your skin even better protection while avoiding potentially harmful chemicals.

UPF Clothing: Another newer option on the market for protecting your skin is to adopt a protocol of wearing UPF clothing when you’re out in the sun. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. Clothing with this type of technology is available from several retailers. You might also consider purchasing UPF clothing in darker colors, as this adds even more sun protection. 

Hydration: Of course, we know that making sure we keep our bodies hydrated during hot summer months is important for our overall health. But appropriate levels of hydration directly impact your skin by keeping layers internally moisturized. It’s important to remember that hydration speaks to the amount of water you are drinking, not dehydrating liquids like coffee, sodas, or any caffeinated drink that can act diuretic and lower hydration levels. Also, keep in mind that alcohol can dehydrate the body as well. Hours spent under the sun are best spent sipping lots of water. ( Learn more about the health benefits of water here. )

Exfoliation: You may find that you need to exfoliate your skin more often during summer months. This is because, with the combination of warmer temperatures, more time in the sun, and exposure to lake, ocean, and pool water, your skin needs a little more help. When exfoliating, use natural products like a loofa or salt or sugar-based scrubs – and go easy. Always moisturize after exfoliating to keep your skin glowing and happy. 

Your skin is unique to you, so pay attention to what your skin is telling you. If you’re an Altrua HealthShare Member, be sure to have your healthcare provider evaluate your skin during one of your included office visits. If you’re not yet an Altrua HealthShare Member, check out our handy healthcare calculator to find out how much you and your family could save on healthcare , including visits to evaluate the health of your skin. Here’s to your healthiest summer skin!

  1. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/sunscreen-corals.html#:~:text=How%20sunscreen%20chemicals%20can%20affect,deform%20young%2C%20and%20even%20kill
  2. https://www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/is-mineral-sunscreen-better-than-chemical-sunscreen.h00-159540534.html