Save Your Own Skin

Now is the time of year that all Columbusonians, including myself, have been dreaming about for many long, dreary, winter months. We haven’t seen the combination of warm temperatures and sunny skies since October, and we’re ready. Or … we think we’re ready. We need to make sure our skin is just as prepared for those precious rays as our souls.

Before you step out for the first of many sun-drenched days to come, make sure you take more than just a hot pair of sunglasses. I spoke with a few local experts on how to keep your skin healthy, happy and protected.

Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham from Downtown Dermatology, located at 500 E. Main St., offered some real talk about what everyone should know about skincare. We discussed three myths, two truths and one phrase to keep your skin healthy and glowing from now until fall.


Three Myths

Myth #1 You need a base tan before the summer starts or before you go on vacation to protect your skin.

This is wrong mainly because a tan itself is evidence of harm. A tan means your skin has suffered damage to its DNA as a result of too much exposure, and has turned color in order to protect itself. Instead of working toward a base tan as a means to an even deeper tan, work on protecting your skin and appreciating its natural color.

Myth #2 Summer skin is greasy, so you don’t have to moisturize as much, or even at all.

Wrong again! Your skin is becoming greasy probably because you aren’t keep it moisturized enough! Your body produces too much oil when your skin is dry and often overcompensates. Your skin needs to stay moisturized to keep its barrier intact and be less susceptible to irritation, such as sunburn. Make sure you moisturize this summer!

Myth #3 It is important to use toner during the summer to keep skin clean and healthy.

All those harsh chemicals in toners and other extra-strength cleansers can be very damaging to skin and will end up making your problems even worse. Stick to a light cleanser for daily use, and only use toners, rough brushes and other tough skincare products once a week at most.


Two Truths

Truth #1 You need to wear an SPF of at least 30 when in the sun.

SPFs of at least 30 get the job done pretty effectively during our summer months. However, you can find lotions with up to 80 or more SPF if you want to be even more protected. The spray-on SPFs work just as well as the lotions, as long as you are making sure to rub the spray into your skin. Also, remember to apply your skin protection BEFORE putting on your bathing suit because you’ll hit lots of areas you might miss otherwise.

Truth #2 You need to reapply your skin protection frequently.

Just because you rubbed on that lotion doesn’t mean you will be protected all day! You need to make sure you are reapplying every two hours AT LEAST. You also need to reapply after every time you get out of the pool or sweat excessively. Even the most waterproof or sweat-proof lotions need to be reapplied. Create 90-minute playlists for spending time poolside, that way when your playlist ends you know it’s time to protect your skin again.


One Phrase

The all-important skin-protection phrase from sprays and lotions – “broad spectrum.” Broad spectrum means that your product is protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays, both of which can damage your healthy skin.

Dr. Hicks-Graham ordered you to moisturize your skin during the summer months. Crissy Conner and Lori Clark of the locally owned company Live Love Dew have made it incredibly easy and healthy to “dew” just that.

All of Live Love Dew’s products are free from alcohol, paraben and formaldehyde, which not only contribute to drying out your skin but are the leading ingredients in many moisturizers sold today. The Grove City-based duo sells gluten-free, allergen-free and vegan-friendly skincare products. You’ll also find many essential oils that naturally help prevent sun damage while moisturizing, which is exactly why their products are so much healthier than other skincare products. (Just watch out for citrus oils before going outside because those make your skin more apt to burn.)

You read the ingredients label for the foods you put into your body, so why wouldn’t you take time to read and understand the ingredients label on the items you rub into your body’s largest organ on a daily basis?