In a recent interview with Marketwatch.com I coined the term “sun hygiene” to specifically refer to those activities that are proven to help maintain your skin in healthy condition while outdoors. Dermatologists talk frequently about the ways to protect your skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, and dentists talk frequently about the importance of good dental hygiene to maintain your teeth and gums in a healthy state. In essence, care of your skin needs to follow the same daily routine that you pursue for dental health. The care, when it comes to your skin, goes beyond just the use of sunscreen, which is critical, but involves a whole range of simple steps that will help your skin stay healthy and attractive throughout your life.
Here are five key steps to effective sun hygiene:
1. Wash daily with a nonsoap cleanser and apply facial moisturizer with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.
2. Wear a brimmed hat and other sun protective clothing.
3. Avoid the sun during peak hours between 10 AM and 4 PM.
4. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher every couple of hours while active outdoors. Use a quality sunscreen–ingredinets do matter. While the precise amount of sunscreen that you will need will depend on whether it is a lotion, cream, spray or the new foaming sunscreen, be sure that you evenly cover all exposed areas of your skin. Also, be sure to reapply after swimming, sweating, or vigorous activity.
5. Become familiar with your skin and be sure to have a full body skin examination by a dermatologist once a year. Scheduling the appointment around your birthday or some other memorable time will ensure that you don’t miss a year. Use the examination as an opportunity to learn from your dermatologist what you should be watching for.