Summertime is all about enjoying beautiful weather and showing off some skin, but it’s also essential to protect our skin’s barrier at all stages in life. Vaseline Dermatologist Partner, Dr. Fran Cook-Bolden shares key skin care & beauty tips to ensure you are looking your best, while maintaining healthy and luminous skin. Women of color oftentimes come across additional concerns when it comes to best skin care practices – Dr. Cook-Bolden has provided her expertise to advise persons of all skin tones on how to look radiant this season.
Don’t Fall for the “Melanin Myth”
Did you know most persons with skin of color have an average “inherent” SPF of 13.4? This is close to the past recommended SPF for everyone of 15, but current recommendations are at least an SPF of 30. Skin of color is very reactive to sun and can produce unwanted and uneven pigmentation. The use of sunscreen is the first and one of the most important steps in addressing uneven pigmentation all year round and especially in the summer. While the melanin pigment does offer some photo protection, ultraviolet rays still have the potential to cause sunburn, damage skin and lead to often-undiagnosed skin cancers.
Clog-free Pores for the Summer
Make-up and other debris from the day can build up and clog pores, and excessive sebum (our natural oil) may fill the pores and build up and worsen acne for those who are prone. Washing our face morning and night is very important provides a form of gentle exfoliation of the face to remove dead skin cells that may naturally build up (this buildup can cause the skin to look dry and lose its natural glow). A gentle cleansing can exfoliate these cells – and always be sure to follow this up with a light moisturizer and sunscreen. In the summer, an ultra sheer, matte, light moisturizing sunscreen is an ideal choice.
Vitamin Rich Foods for Radiant Skin
This season, you’ll want to snack on mandarins, tangerines and oranges– they are rich in Vitamin C which remains a key antioxidant to tackle those free oxygen radicals that wreak havoc on our skin and bodies. If you’re looking to improve the quality of your skin, eat foods high in in Omega-3 such as salmon, nut butters, and flaxseed oil. When it comes to beverages, a polyphenol-rich green tea will protect the skin from further sun damage and benefit overall skin quality.
Nourish your Skin’s Barrier…All Year Round!
Maintaining a healthy and hydrated skin barrier is important all year round, including in the summer. Sun exposure can leave the skin dehydrated, feeling sensitive and even inflamed and often cause uneven skin tone in skin of color as it stimulates the skin’s cells to produce more melanin. Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant lotion, with its 100% pure cocoa butter and micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly, can soothe and hydrate the skin while repeated sunscreen use and sun protection measures reduce the risk of a sunburn and future development of skin cancers. Recommended sun protective measures include the following:
- Minimizing your time in the sun overall.
- Limiting sun exposure between the hours of 10a and 3p when the sun is at its greatest intensity
- Covering sensitive areas and even wearing specific sun protective clothing for those who are most sensitive.
Pro Practices for Hair Removal
Be mindful of the lifespan of your razor blades! Dull or bacteria-ridden blades can lead to patches of tiny, flat red spots. To prevent this don’t keep your razor in the shower – the heat and humidity accelerates rusting and bacterial growth. Also remember to throw out the blade after about 5 shaves! Red bumps are commonly a mild allergic reaction to perfumed shaving creams or products, but the act of hair removal itself can also be the cause. As the blade slices the hair, it can cause a superficial cut or abrasion or just irritate the surface of the skin and–voila–inflammation. How to prevent this? Throw out that scented shaving cream and buy a fragrance free cleanser or unscented shaving cream or gel for sensitive skin. If you prefer waxing, always remember that in skin of color, the inflammatory response associated with waxing can lead to unwanted pigmentation which can be long lasting. Immediate treatment using steroid creams and or hyaluronic acid may be key in minimizing challenges following waxing.
Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a top-ranked, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon is dedicated to providing high-quality, individualized care. She treats patients throughout the tri-state area, across the US and internationally at her New York City office. She is the Founding Associate Director of the Skin of Color Center and currently is a clinical assistant professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Health Systems and Director of Skin Specialty Dermatology and the Ethnic Skin Specialty Group where r. Cook-Bolden conducts cutting-edge clinical investigations as Principal investigator directing a highly qualified research team on a wide range of skin, hair and scalp concerns and the use of lasers and other devices in all skin types. Widely published in medical and lay publications, she is the co-author of Beautiful Skin of Color: A Comprehensive guide to Asian, Olive and Dark Skin. She has been a guest on numerous local and national radio and television news broadcasts and internet media to address a broad range of skin health and beauty concerns.