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woman wearing sunglasses at the beach and sunscreen following dermatologist advice

Simple skincare tips for Spring Break

Mar 16, 2021 Dermatology Share:

Longer, warmer days are here again. Whether you’re planning a trip to someplace sunny and warm for spring break or you’re just excited about shedding some layers, now is the perfect time to start caring for your skin.

Spring Break skin check

As the temperatures begin to climb, you may see some skin you haven’t seen in a while! Your feet probably spent much of the winter in socks, and your arms likely haven’t seen much sun since mid-November. Now is a great time to perform a self-check of your skin and, since it’s impossible to check your own back, schedule your annual skin cancer screening with your dermatologist.

While you’re performing a self-check of your skin, examine all of your exposed skin, including your face, hands, arms, neck, chest, stomach, legs, and feet. Look for spots that have any of the following features:

  • Asymmetry: If you draw a line to divide your mole or spot in half, it should be perfectly symmetrical. Most common moles are round or oval. Have your dermatologist look at any asymmetrical moles you find.
  • Borders: The borders of your mole or spot should be well-defined and smooth; if they’re not, it’s time to call the dermatologist. Abnormal borders are uneven, poorly defined, jagged, or scalloped in shape.
  • Color: Your mole or spot should be all one color. A dermatologist should examine any mole that is more than one color or that is darker than your other moles. Most normal moles are a single shade of brown.
  • Diameter: If you have a mole larger than 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser), you need to get your mole checked out by a dermatologist.
  • Evolving: Have your dermatologist examine any spots that have changed size, shape, or color, or appear different from your other moles.

Quick self-checks of your skin can help you monitor for new spots or changes in your current spots, but you can’t check your whole body on your own. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a skin cancer screening (or if you’ve never had your skin checked by a dermatologist), spring is the perfect time to schedule your appointment. You should also schedule an appointment if you notice any skin abnormalities, even if it’s been less than a year since your last check-up.

This spring break, protect your skin

Whether you’re planning a trip to someplace sunny and warm or you’re just planning to spend time enjoying the spring weather at home, make spring break skincare a priority. Protective skin care measures are important every day and every season, but they’re especially important if you’re enjoying some spring break sun.

Remember, your skin has been under cover all winter, so it’s important to be gentle with your skin. Although the sun isn’t as intense in spring as it is in summer, you still need to protect your skin from sun damage. You can still get sunburned on cool or cloudy days!

Dr. Kay Ellen Willoughby shares several tips for caring for your skin this spring break. Whether you’re planning to head to the beach, work in your yard, or catch some games at the ballpark, protect your skin from the sun whenever you plan to be outside.

  • Wear sunscreen every day! If you’re planning to be outside in the sun, you should use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 50. Reapply every hour, or after you get out of the water. Sunscreen is even important when you’re driving since UVA rays can penetrate your car’s windshield and can damage your face, arms, and hands.
  • Grab a wide-brimmed hat. A baseball cap only offers protection for part of your face. A wide-brimmed hat completely protects your face and neck (and places that can be hard to reach with sunscreen, like the back of your neck). A wide-brimmed hat will also protect the tops of your ears and your lips from painful sunburn. Choose a tightly woven straw or fabric hat to protect your skin and make a fashion statement.
  • Remember your sunglasses. It’s tricky to get sunscreen on the area around your eyes without actually getting it in your eyes. While no one wants to deal with the pain of getting sunscreen in your eyes, your eyelids, under-eye area, and brows are especially vulnerable to sun damage. Good sunglasses are a painless way to protect this extra-vulnerable part of your face.
  • Consider protective clothing. Sun-protective clothing provides the protection of sunscreen without the need to reapply. This protective clothing is specially designed to block both UVA and UVB rays. While anyone who’s ever gotten a farmer’s tan knows that a t-shirt will provide some sun protection, a white t-shirt only provides a UPF of about 7. (And that protection factor drops when your clothes get wet.)1 Sun-protective clothing such as rashguards, shirts, and pants are designed to protect your skin without feeling too heavy or hot.
  • Use an umbrella at the beach. If your spring break plans include a pool or beach, bring or rent an umbrella while you’re there. Lounge in the shade and give your skin a break, but make sure you still apply plenty of sunscreen.

Everyday skincare tips

Even if you’re not going anywhere this spring break, spring is a great time to implement some new skincare habits. Dr. Willoughby recommends adding the following skincare habits to your daily routine this spring:

  • Cleanse your skin twice a day. Use a mild cleanser without fragrances, twice a day. If you have problems with acne, a medicated cleanser with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help treat bumps or pimples. Use micellar water right after cleansing to get rid of the impurities the soap may miss. You can find high-quality cleansers at the drug store.
  • Wear sunscreen every day. Dr. Willoughby says that everyone should wear sunscreen, every day, even if the only sun you get is while driving in your car. Use at least SPF 30 on your face, arms, and hands.
  • Add some supplements. Biotin, fish oil, and Vitamin E are all great supplements to boost your overall skin health. Vitamin C and Vitamin D are also great everyday supplements to boost your immunity.

Spring break is a great time to start thinking about your skin health again. Remember to check, protect, and care for your skin as the sun comes out whether you’re at the beach or enjoying some sunshine at home.

Is it time for your skin check?

Annual skin checks are important for early detection and screening of skin cancer. Take care of your body’s largest organ!

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