Skin needs protection from summer sun

The summer months are very important to our health and well being. Sunshine helps our body generate vitamin D and has been shown to increase levels of serotonin, a hormone in our body that improves mood and helps with anxiety.

While we should enjoy the warm weather and stay active outdoors, it’s important to protect our skin.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

We lose a lot of water from heat, wind, and physical activity. The conventional “eight 8-ounce glasses of water” is enough for most people. However, if you are exercising, outside on a hot day, have certain medical conditions, or take certain medications, then you might need more or less water.

How does water affect our skin? Without enough water, our skin can become dry, flaky, and tight, making it prone to wrinkles. While there is no data on water improving the appearance of skin, many people claim their skin is more radiant and healthier when hydrated.

Protect yourself from harmful rays!

The sun radiates a lot of electromagnetic waves onto Earth, particularly infrared radiation (heat), visible light (colors), and ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). This radiation is important to our environment and ecosystem but can be harmful to our skin.

UV radiation and visible light has been shown to penetrate our skin, resulting in tanning, sunburns, aging, and, possibly, skin-cancer formation. In fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with a skin cancer in his or her lifetime.

How can we protect ourselves? Staying in shade during peak sun hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; wearing UV-protective clothing; and, finally, putting on sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen that is broad-spectrum (protecting against ultravioletA and ultravioletB rays), has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and is water resistant.

Sunscreen should be worn every day, even on cloudy days when up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful rays are able to damage your skin. The average adult will need about one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) for the entire body to be applied about minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen as directed on the bottle.

Certain people are especially sensitive to sunlight and can develop redness or hyperpigmentation. In addition to UV radiation, visible light itself can cause significant redness and hyperpigmentation. Tinted sunscreens can reduce your skin’s exposure to UV rays and visible light.

How can we keep our skin looking healthy and clear? Hydration and daily sunscreen are the first steps. Exfoliation can help remove dead skins and stimulate growth.

Remember to gently rub your skin with an exfoliator for 30 seconds and rinse with warm, not hot, water. The frequency you exfoliate depends on the sensitivity of your skin.

For people with certain skin types, medications (retinols, benzoyl peroxide, etc.),and other skin products can make their skin red, hyperpigmented, and irritated. For those who are prone to hyperpigmentation on their faces, topical vitamin C has been shown to prevent UV-induced pigmentation and photoaging.


Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services, including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Its funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. Community Caregivers also provides services by phone in Rensselaer County to reduce isolation and make referrals for other needed services.

Editor’s note: Kanthi Bommareddy is slated to graduate from Albany Medical College on May 27. He is a volunteer for Community Caregivers.