How to Customize Your Skin Care Regime for a Hotter World

Beauty

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If Mother Earth could speak right now, she’d probably start aggressively rapping the karaoke edition of “Hot in Herre” by Nelly, because these rising temperatures are no joke. Hotter temperatures don’t just have a profound effect on the Earth—they can also wreak havoc on our skin.

According to data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency, increased ozone depletion, which is the gaseous layer in our atmosphere that keeps us earthlings protected from harsh UVB rays from outer space, puts us at greater risk for non-melanoma skin cancer and malignant melanoma development. Currently, skin cancer is the most common cancer in America, the American Academy of Dermatology Association reports. It’s ahead of lung and colon cancer, Mona Gohara, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Yale School of Medicine, tells ELLE.com.

Decreased atmospheric protection “allows for less of a shield from cancer-causing UV rays, making sunburn and skin cancer more likely, especially without use of sun protective clothing or sunscreen,” Gohara says. “Humidity and [an] increase in temperatures can lead to more irritation on the skin as well.” Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ramp up your skin care game to keep the epidermis protected, moisturized, and glowing, no matter the weather. After all, skin is the largest organ in your body, so the more TLC you can give it, the better.

Taking small steps, like shifting the time you spend outside during the day can help stave off skin cancer risk. “Seek shade, and avoid the sun between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.,” Gohara says. Wearing SPF 30 daily is a must, even indoors, to protect the skin from visible light, “especially those with brown skin,” Gohara says. When you apply, make sure you slather on one-half of a teaspoon to make sure you have enough to cover your face, neck, and décolletage, Nichelle Temple, celebrity esthetician and founder of Inderma Studio tells ELLE.com.

Dr. Gohara’s Suncreen Recommendations:

Brittany Trent, a licensed esthetician in New York, says that in addition to wearing SPF and reapplying every two hours (especially when swimming!), antioxidants are a must. Antioxidants include a suite of vitamins like C (for hyperpigmentation & dullness), E (for dryness) and A (retinoids, for fine lines and wrinkles). You can also mix in niacinamide serum to combat rough texture and uneven skin tone. Trent explains that these ingredients “combat free radical damage.” Free radicals are unstable molecules that can run amok and damage skin cells. According to Trent, antioxidants can help prevent or slow down the damage free radicals cause. She notes that it’s important to consult an esthetician or dermatologist to find out which antioxidants are right for your skin care needs.

For darker skin tones, Temple recommends ingredients like niacinamide to address hyperpigmentation concerns. She said regular skin checks are important for everyone, but Black and brown individuals should be aware that skin cancer can present differently on darker skin, so it’s even more important to have a dermatologist take a look.

“Black and brown people have higher levels of melanin which slightly helps protect our skin by absorbing harmful rays, like UVA, UVB, UVC and even blue light, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need the extra layer of protection that a broad spectrum sunscreen provides,” Trent said.

Also, don’t be afraid to make skin care a fashion statement. Sunglasses and hats are not only chic, but also protective. Exposure to UV rays has also been linked to eye conditions like cataracts, according to the CDC, so remember haute eyewear is still eye care. Temple recommends dressing in light, natural fibers, like bamboo and cotton, for protective, breathable clothing. By incorporating even just a few of these skin-care tips into your regular routine, you are well prepared for an even hotter hot girl summer, and your skin will thank you for it.

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