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Summer Skin Care Tips: 7 Ways to Prevent Sun Damage

Summer Skin Care Tips: 7 Ways to Prevent Sun Damage

After a long winter, we New Jerseyans love summer. But too much sun puts your skin — and your life — at risk. So, how do you enjoy the outdoors without damaging your health?

We’re glad you asked. 

Santiago Centurion, MD, Maria Joyce Berabe, MD, and our team of experienced skin specialists at Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey have compiled a list of preventive measures to keep your skin and overall health safe this summer. Here’s what you need to know.

What is sun damage?

While some sun exposure is beneficial for vitamin D production, excessive exposure is harmful.

Your skin gets sun damage, also known as photoaging, when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate your skin and cause changes at the cellular level. It's a common issue, especially during the summer when UV exposure is at its peak.

UV rays come in two types — UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, causing long-term damage like wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays cause sunburns and can directly damage DNA in skin cells.

Why worry about sun damage?

You might think a little tan won’t hurt, but the truth is that even minimal exposure to UV rays can accumulate over time and lead to significant skin issues. Here's why you should be concerned:

Skin cancer

Prolonged sun exposure increases the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, which is the most severe form of skin cancer. 

Even non-melanoma skin cancers, like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, can be disfiguring and require extensive treatment. Fortunately, Dr. Centurion is a fellowship-trained surgeon and can perform Mohs surgery, a highly advanced surgery that spares healthy tissues. 

Premature aging

Sun damage accelerates the aging process of your skin. UV rays degrade collagen and elastin fibers, which keep your skin firm and elastic. Without those protein fibers, your skin becomes saggy and wrinkled much earlier than you might expect.

Hyperpigmentation

Excessive sun exposure creates dark spots and uneven skin tone.

7 ways to prevent sun damage

Preventing sun damage is easier than you might think. Here are our top tips for keeping your skin safe this summer:

1. Use a good sunscreen daily

Sunscreen is your best defense against harmful UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, like EltaMD® or SkinMedica®, and apply it generously to all exposed skin. Reapply it every two hours or more often if you're swimming or sweating.

2. Cover up

Clothes provide an extra layer of protection against the sun. Long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection are your best bets. Many brands now offer clothing with built-in SPF for added convenience.

3. Hang out in the shade

Stay in the shade whenever possible, especially during peak sun hours between 10am and 4pm. Bring an umbrella or canopy for extra protection if you go to the beach or park.

4. Just say no to tanning beds

Tanning beds emit UV radiation that can be just as harmful as the sun. Avoid them altogether and opt for safer alternatives like self-tanning lotions or sprays.

5. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated can help your skin recover from sun exposure. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and use a hydrating facial mist to keep your skin moisturized.

6. Use after-sun care products

After-sun care products can help soothe your skin if you’ve been out in the sun for an extended period. We offer high-quality, medical-grade skin care products and can help you choose the best product for your skin. 

7. Get regular skin check-ups

Regular skin check-ups at Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey help us detect any signs of skin damage or cancer. If you notice any new or changing moles or spots, make an appointment with us so we can check them out.

If you’re looking for personalized skin care advice, book an appointment online with one of our experts, or call any of our four New Jersey locations in Old Bridge, Freehold, Union, and Toms River, today. 






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