The weather has been practically tropical in Chicago this March so it might be hard to believe, but spring break season is just beginning. Whether you’re planning a staycation to enjoy the streak of unseasonably warm weather or heading out of town to play in the sun, it’s important to keep your skin care practices top of mind.
To keep you safe and healthy this spring break, we chatted up Dr. Brooke Jackson, Board Certified Dermatologist and Medical Director of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Next time you settle out in the sun, keep some of these important tips in mind.
Don’t make your Spring Break a Spring Bake. According to Jackson, there’s no such thing as a healthy base tan. Exposure to UV (ultra violet rays), whether from the outdoors or a tanning booth, is harmful to the skin. “Not only can it prematurely age your skin, but it puts you at risk for skin cancer, regardless of skin color,” said Jackson. “A tan is a result of thermal injury to the skin, so the only healthy tan is one that comes from a bottle – use self tanners.” As an avid runner, Jackson encourages people to enjoy outdoor activities, but to always wear an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 or higher, keeping the body covered from the sun with hats & sunglasses, reapplying sunscreen often and staying in the shade when possible.
Prepare your legs for shorts/skirts. Rid legs of those pesky spider veins with Asclera injections, which Jackson and other Chicago dermatologists offer in-office. Women who are looking to reduce nicks and cuts while shaving should keep legs moisturized with an oil-free moisturizer.
Go Natural. Dr. Jackson encourages her African-American female patients to ‘go green’ and rid their hair of harmful chemical straightening treatments which can cause hair loss and scaring. Instead, she says to let the hair grow natural. Women who often subject their hair to intensive beauty treatments should reduce the frequency of these and instead look for organic ways to let hair and skin shine.
Don’t forget your hands and chest. Most people take great care of their faces, so do the same for your chest and back of the hands. “Fraxel Laser treatments help treat sun damage, discoloration and acne scars on the chest and back so you can wear that cute little sun dress with pride,” Jackson said. Be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to these hidden problem spots as well.
Add some bright, bold colored berries to your diet. Berries, especially blueberries, are loaded with antioxidant compounds that are very effective in neutralizing damaging free radicals. (Free radicals lead to skin cell damage and premature skin aging and are generated in the skin by excessive UV exposure or from other sources). Besides blueberries, look for blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries because they help the body manufacture collagen which makes the skin supple and smooth. The Green City Farmer’s Market has plenty of fresh produce – so get outside this spring and enjoy the new season’s fresh produce.