August Sun Protection and Skin Care

6. Consider Sunless Tanning

Sunless “self-tanners” are a great option for those of us who desire a bit of color for the summertime.  Newer formulations that are streak-proof and have less orange tint offer a cosmetically pleasing glow. Nonetheless, be aware that self-tanning preparations do not necessarily contain sunscreen nor do they protect you from unwanted UV exposure.

Avoid “tanning pills.”  Tanning pills are marketed to offer a healthy glow without the danger of UV exposure.  Tanning pills, however, often contain canthaxanthin.  Canthaxanthin is approved by the FDA for use in very small amounts as a color additive in foods but the use in so-called tanning pills is not approved.  Ingestion of tanning pills may lead to retinal deposits and diminished visual acuity that is often permanent.


7. Retinoids and the Summertime

Yes, you can use retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, Retin-A) in the summer months. One of the biggest myths of the summertime is that retinoids should be avoided. The benefits of retinoid therapy for skin health have been widely studied.  Retinoids stimulate production of collagen and elastin, which are major building blocks of healthy skin, even out skin discolorations and reduce pore size.

Two factors contribute to the common misconception that retinoids should be avoided in the summer months.

First, retinoids are inherently very unstable and degrade rapidly when exposed to sunlight. That is exactly the reason why they are packaged in opaque containers and are recommended to be used at night.

Second, initiation of retinoid therapy may be associated with “retinoid dermatitis,” commonly known as dryness, redness and irritation.  That may indeed predispose one to increased sun sensitivity.  During the initial few weeks of use, the stratum corneum, the very top layer of epidermis, is indeed thinned, rendering the skin more susceptible to sunburn, but susceptibility to sunburn returns to normal with continued use of tretinoin. The epidermis is actually thickened with continued use of topical retinoids.

Dr. Reszko’s Tip: Continue your retinoid during the summer months!  If you plan to start, introduce retinoid slowly by using a small amount only two to three times a week.


8. See Your Dermatologist

Schedule your appointment with your dermatologist for a botox touch up to prevent the lines formed by excessive squinting and to establish skin treatment protocol for the fall to reverse sun damage.

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.