Summer Sun and Skin Health

Now that we finally had some summer weather this weekend, it is time to think seriously about sun protection and other ways to maintain healthy and glowing complexions. We know that over 70 percent of UV radiation exposure occurs in the summer months so sun protection is essential. Remember to apply sunscreen all year round just as enthusiastically as when you go to the beach or pool for the most protection against harmful UV rays. Here are some important tips on skin care.


  1. Allow Your Skin to Shine From Within

“You are what you eat,” says an ancient proverb. This is especially true in the summertime.

As the temperature rises, staying hydrated is the key to supple, younger-looking skin. Hydration has other real advantages, including proper functioning of muscles and joints, removing toxins from the body and helping to maintain energy and focus.

To combat sun related oxidative damage consider adding the following anti-oxidant rich foods to your diet:

  • Berries containing both antioxidants and flavonoids that counteract sun-induced skin damage.
  • Citrus fruits that contain the potent ingredient limonene, which reduces the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Reszko’s Tip: Avoid direct contact of the citrus juices with your skin prior to exposure to the sun.  Citrus juices combined with sun exposure are a leading cause of photophytodermatitis, an acute sunburn-like reaction that can result in skin discoloration that may take months to fade.

  • Leafy greens, like dark green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are top sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
  • Red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables that are packed with carotenoids that may reduce sunburn intensity.
  • Green tea
  • Salmon and nuts, which are great sources of oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids protecting against sunburn and direct UV-induced DNA damage.


  1. Hydrate Your Skin

Summer exposure to UV radiation from the sun, saltwater and chlorine can dry out your skin tremendously. Try a lightweight, non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) moisturizer with alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) or facial serum with hyaluronic acid. It can plump up dry skin without causing a greasy feeling.


  1. Refresher on Sunscreens
  • Sunscreen is a highly recommended defense against sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer.
  • What’s the best kind? The type that YOU like, that feels good on your skin and that you are likely to reapply throughout the day.
  • Make sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before exposure to sun. Put on enough so that it takes a full minute to rub in. Spread at least 1 ounce—enough to fill a shot glass—on your face and entire body. Apply liberally for good coverage. If you swim, sweat, or are outdoors for a long time, reapply every two hours.

Choose sunscreen that:

  • Is water resistant if you plan outdoor activities or if you are likely to sweat.
  • Has SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen with SPF 15 deflects 93 percent of sun-burning rays, whereas SPF 30 deflects 97 percent.
  • Provides broad-spectrum protection. Look for sunscreens containing ingredients that protect against both harmful UVA and UVB rays, like mineral sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) and chemical sunscreens containing benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, and avobenzone.
  • Look for “value added” sunscreens. You may opt for newer sunscreens containing moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and antioxidants (Vitamin C, green tea extracts).
  • If you don’t like that greasy feeling, you might consider fast drying or powder based sunscreens.


  1. Clothing

Choose UV protective garments.  Similar to the SPF rating on sunscreens, the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) on UV protective garments indicates how much of the sun’s rays are absorbed by the fabric. Articles with UPF 30, for example, allow only one thirtieth of UV light to penetrate.

If UV protective clothing is not an option, choose items made of unbleached cotton, tight weaves, high-luster polyesters, and thin satin or silk.  All of these fabrics can absorb or reflect UV radiation, preventing damaging rays from reaching the skin. Darker materials tend to absorb UV light, keeping it away from your body.

Always wear a stylish wide brimmed hat.

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