Forget the Polar Vortex from this last winter; the summer sun is the perfect storm – exacerbating skin conditions and premature aging are just two side effects from the intense sunlight of the summer. Premature facial aging is just as preventable as being overweight and out of shape. When living an active lifestyle we often fail to address skin fitness and health during and after our outdoor activities. Like exercise, it is never too early or too late to give your skin the care that it needs.
Is excessive sun exposure really that bad?
Sun exposure makes you look old by damaging your DNA and accelerating the aging process. Loss of elasticity, less pliability, facial sagging and sun spots are just a few of the side effects of UV radiation.
Photo-aging occurs over a period of years and your skin loses the ability to repair itself. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier when damaged from the sun. While it may seem that the signs of photo-aging appear overnight, they actually lie invisible beneath the surface of the skin for years. People who live in sun-intense area (such as Arizona) can show signs of photo-aging as early as their twenties.
Precautions we can make to avoid skin damage:
- UV Protection is your first line of defense against the UV rays. Use a lightweight zinc oxide SPF 30 formula that contains octyl methoxycinnamate—an organic sunscreen that naturally protects your skin. (We recommend the Advanced Protection SPF 30) Sunscreen should be applied at least every 2 to 3 hours. Reapplication is necessary after excessive sweating or water sports.
- Hydrate with a fluid replacement drink and drink more than you think you need. The effects of dehydration to our skin and body are always greater that the amount required to merely quench our thirst.
- Wash your face and other areas of anticipated sweat build up before your outside activities. This will help reduce impurities and skin irritation.
- Wear moisture-wicking workout clothing if you are planning strenuous activities. Proper clothing helps to reduce chafing and discomfort. Some clothing brands even offer anti-microbial treated fabrics which help reduce bacteria-induced rashes and irritation. Avoid the use of cotton fabrics which will hold moisture and then reapply sweat to our skin surface.
Post-activity skin care recommendations to consider:
- Shower and cleanse shortly after your workout. It’s important to reduce the amount of impurities that could be reabsorbed by the skin. Use a cleanser containing vitamins A and E and a pH balancing component along with a loofah for exfoliation. Apply a pH balancing deodorant.
- Moisturize. A light moisturizer containing a natural plant squalane component will help to protect and nourish your skin. Find one containing Vitamin C and antioxidants that promotes circulation, stimulates collagen and brightens skin.
- Eat right. Foods rich in vitamins C and E, such as fish, leafy greens, oranges and strawberries will help you produce healthy skin cells. The selenium in these foods can both help protect your skin against sun damage and aging.