Post Summer Skin Care: preventing and treating Sun Damage
Summer officially draws to a close on Sept. 22, and after months of being out in the sun, many of us may be wondering if there’s anything we can do to help our skin recover from sun damage.
Dermatologist Dr. David Chu from Scripps Health visited the studio to share his insights.
IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF SUN DAMAGE:
• Take frequent cool baths or showers, followed by moisturizer, to help ease dryness and soothe the skin.
• Use moisturizer with aloe vera or over-the-counter hydrocortisone to treat uncomfortable areas of the skin
• Consider taking ibuprofen/aspirin to help reduce swelling, redness, and pain
• Drink extra water to prevent dehydration
• For severe sunburns (e.g., blisters, swelling), do not pop blisters
• Protect your skin from the sun as your sunburn is healing
• For very severe cases of sunburn, consider seeking care from a board-certified dermatologist
LONGER-TERM SUN DAMAGE:
• Topical skin lightening agents (creams or lotions) are available for longer-standing skin damage (some are over-the-counter and some require a prescription)
• Certain procedures, such as laser treatments and chemical peels, can also be effective in treating “sun spots”
• (Lasers are focused beams of light that break up pigment particles in the skin)
• Any skin lightening procedure will also require sun protection and sun avoidance for maximum benefit
• It can be useful to have a discussion with a board-certified dermatologist to help choose the most suitable treatment option for your needs. It is also important to make sure that the “sun spots” that you are treating are not actually skin cancers or pre-cancers.
STEPS TO TAKE IN FUTURE:
• Protect against sun damage (broad spectrum SPF-30 sunscreen, clothing, hats, shade, sun avoidance)—UV damage not only increases the future risk of skin cancer, but it will also accelerate skin aging.
• Avoid tanning salons and tanning beds
• Yearly skin checks (sunburns increase the risk of future skin cancer) with a board-certified dermatologist