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Summer Skin Care Secrets

Solana Beach dermatologist Melanie Palm reveals the steps to a healthy summer glow



Published:

girl showering on the beach
Photo by Priscilla Gragg

Sunscreen 101

Read the label. You want something that’s broad spectrum and with an SPF of at least 15 or higher. Thirty is ideal. The added benefits of using anything above 30 are minimal.    

Don’t skimp. Everybody under-applies! You should be using one ounce, the size of a shot glass, for a whole body application during a day at the beach. Most people only do about 50 percent of that.  

Reapply regularly. The FDA recommends that you reapply every two hours if you’re in the sun—every hour and a half if you’re active and outside.

Prevent acne. Something with physical blockers such as zinc and titanium, which are anti-inflammatory and can help active acne. If the label says “non-comedogenic,” it shouldn’t clog pores. Elta’s SPF 46 is a clear and light daily moisturizer that also fights acne.   

Soothe a sunburn. Use an anti-inflammatory like Advil or Ibuprofen, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, and green tea compresses (steep the tea, add ice cubes, soak washcloth, and apply). If you use aloe vera, make sure it’s pure, so it will have a lower alcohol content.

 

Between the lines

The FDA is cracking down on sunscreen labels. Here’s what to look for:  

The term “broad spectrum” was previously unregulated. Now if it appears on a label, it means the product has been tested and proven to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

They can no longer use the word “waterproof,” because nothing is truly waterproof. Now the label should say “water resistant,” and the rules require it to specify how long the product can stand up to water or sweat before it stops working.

You won’t see the word “sunblock” anymore, because “block” is an overstatement. 

 

The Wrinkle-free Trifecta

1) Use sunscreen. No big shocker. But Dr. Palm cautions, “About 90 percent of wrinkles on Caucasian skin come from the sun and UV rays.” Apply daily.

2) Use a retinoid. Retinoids should be applied at night before bed. The vitamin A derivative increases collagen production, while decreasing the look of fine lines. It also unclogs pores that can lead to acne. Most brands, like the popular Retin-A, are prescription only. But retinols, a lower-strength version, are available over-the-counter.

3) Use an antioxidant serum. Ingredients like vitamin C, coffee bean extract, and resveratrol (from the skins of red grapes) create a preventative layer. Apply in the morning. Dr. Palm says, “You want something like this on board in the morning to protect against free radicals caused by the sun and other activities going inside your skin.”

 

Dr. Palm’s Picks

revision vitamin c serum olay regenerest

Revision, Olay Regenerist

Revision: A great vitamin C serum for the morning. $65-$95

Atralin: Contains the same active ingredient as Retin-A, plus a hydrating component called hyaluronic acid, a main constituent in the second layer of our skin. $50 and up

Replenix: The Power of Three contains a good mix of antioxidants. They have a great eye cream as well. $68

Heliocare: An herbal supplement that helps prevent burns. Recommended for fairer skin tones. $25 and up

Olay Regenerist: An over-the-counter line that makes a nice sunscreen plus serum. $20-$30

Elta: Armed with physical sun-blocking agents, and specially formulated, so it goes on clear. $29

» Check out Dr. Palm's Art of Skin website here.

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