Healthy skin is in! A dermatologist’s tips for proper skin health this summer

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Between running the kids around to what seems like endless activities, planning family vacations and finding time to stay on top of our own lives, summer sometimes feel like anything but a break.

If you and your family are spending quality time together in the great outdoors , summer can be hard on your skin, too.

We sat down with Dr. Alexandra Theriault, president of Apex Dermatology Group  in Denver, Colo., who gave us some fantastic advice on practicing proper skin health this summer. Bright On!

Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!

The battle cry of every watchful mother and father during the summertime. Being sun smart is a crucial element of keeping your skin healthy during the summer months. Dr. Theriault recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with a minimum 30 SPF. Headed to the mountains for the weekend? Dr. Theriault recommends upping the SPF to 50 for added protection.

“You’ll also want to look at the active ingredients,” says Dr. Theriault. “The best sunscreens have zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or mexoryl. It should also be reapplied every two hours!”

Cover your limbs.

Especially if you have sensitive skin or light skin tones, wearing sun-protective clothing during peak hours is never a bad idea. “Hats and gloves during peak hours, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., can help prevent harmful rays if you’ll be outside for extended periods,” advises Dr. Theriault.

Dry climates beware.

If you live in an area with notoriously dry summers, finding ways to hydrate your skin can be just as important as protecting it from the sun.

“If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in the water, especially in a dry climate like Colorado, be sure to always rinse off after getting out of a pool or spa, and apply an emollient cream to damp skin to reduce the risk of dry skin eczema,” says Dr. Theriault.

Applying a non-fragrance emollient cream to damp skin even after a daily bath or shower can help keep your skin hydrated in dry (or wet) climates.

“Everyone needs a bath to decompress every once in a while,” explains Dr. Theriault. “But, try and minimize long, hot baths to avoid drying out your skin too much.”

Don’t forget your lips.

The hot summer sun can wreak havoc on your lips, too.

“Applying a broad-spectrum lip balm can help reduce damaging sun exposure and incidence of cold sores,” says Dr. Theriault.

Not only can it protect your lips, but everyone knows chapped lips aren’t fun for anyone!

Err on the safe side.

It’s always best to avoid sunburns and be proactive about your skin health, but if a long day in the sun leaves you rummaging through your cabinets for sunburn relief, Dr. Theriault recommends aloe vera and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, etc.) to help reduce inflammation.

If you’re recovering from the sunburn of the century and at risk for hyper-pigmented scars, Dr. Theriault recommends using an over-the-counter one percent hydrocortisone cream applied to the affected area daily for one week once the burn is healed.

“Hydration and sun protection are the most important things that you can use to maintain healthy skin,” advises Dr. Theriault.

“Apart from these, I always tell my patients to avoid tobacco use and tanning salons, as both can do harmful damage to your skin. And if you’re ever concerned about something on your skin, it’s always best to call your dermatologist or primary care physician for an appointment.”

Practicing proper skin health is a year-round job! Visit our Provider Finder  to find in- network dermatologists and primary care physicians for Bright Health members who’ve got you covered.

Author: Dr. Alexandra Theriault
Dr. Theriault graduated magna cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin. She completed her dermatology residency at the University of Colorado, and became board certified in dermatology in 2000. She also serves as an assistant clinical professor at The University of Colorado and is currently on the teaching faculty of Medical Education Resources. Drawn to dermatology because it is a mentally challenging field, Dr. Theriault finds it very rewarding to diagnose a tough case and implement promising treatment options. Dr. Theriault enjoys the personal relationships that have developed from treating families that she has been lucky enough to care for over her 16-year career. During her free time, Dr. Theriault enjoys skiing, running, hiking, playing the guitar and enjoying time with her husband and two children.

Author: Stephanie Sample

August 8, 2017