We interviewed Dr. Tanya Futoryan, board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, and Medical Director of the Westport Dermatology and Laser Center and a location in Darien. She shared her best advice on how to keep skin safe and healthy during the spring and summer.
Q: What the most important element to consider when caring for skin in the spring and summer?
A: Protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It’s crucial to use sunblock daily, especially in spring and summer. If you are running errands, or outside sporadically, Dr. Futoryan recommends using a broad spectrum sunblock (which means it blocks UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 25 or higher. If you’re going to be outside all day— by the pool or on the beach—use the highest SPF of broad spectrum sunscreen you can find, but at least 30 or higher. Make sure to reapply at least every two hours. When possible, take breaks from the sun, and consider wearing sun protective clothing.
Q: Can you recommend a good sunblock for your face?
A: Look for a non-comedogenic one that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, the two chemical-free sunblock agents. These ingredients are inert, which means they sit on the surface of the skin and reflect both UVA and UVB rays. One face sunscreen I love is Clinique City Block 25 SPF. It’s tinted, non-comedogenic and great for everyday use. Neutrogena is an excellent sunblock for kids—make sure you choose chemical-free ones for children.
Q: What sunscreen do you recommend for the body?
A: Look for an SPF of 30 or higher. Most body sunscreens contain a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and other ingredients— it’s difficult to find a body sunscreen that is totally chemical-free. If doing outdoor activities, look for a water- or sweat-resistant sunblock, and reapply frequently. Spray sunblocks are fine too, when applied carefully to cover the whole body.
Q: When is the sun most dangerous for our skin?
A: The worst time of day is between 11-2 when ultraviolet rays are the most direct. If you’re outside during these hours, always wear a hat and a cover up, use sunblock, and wear sun protective clothing.
Q: Will I be more prone to acne breakouts during spring and summer months?
A: Possibly. Many sunblocks can be heavy and block pores. After a day in the sun, your face will produce more oil, so be vigilant about cleansing and exfoliating. Use a mild exfoliant that contains alpha or beta-hydroxy acids. An example of an alpha hydroxy is glycolic acid, which achieves more of a uniform exfoliation. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy, which targets sebaceous glands. By exfoliating, you’ll help your skin looking fresh and radiant.
Q: Are retinols safe to use in the spring?
A: If you’re already using a retinol in your anti-aging regimen, ask your dermatologist or skin care provider about this, but be sure to use sunblock in conjunction with the retinol, especially in the morning. Retinols are agents that come in creams and gels that stimulate collagen and are used for anti aging and sometimes acne. Be aware, though, that retinols also make the skin more vulnerable and susceptible to sun rays.
Q: What you can do to make your skin look better in the spring?
A: For your morning routine, cleanse skin, and after cleansing, use a serum containing antioxidants like Vitamin C, which helps protect again free radicals (unhealthy byproducts of skin’s cells as a result of sun damage). Follow by moisturizing, then applying sunblock before putting on your make up. Also, stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Q: Can I just use make up with an SPF, or do I need to use sunscreen separately?
A: This is an important question. A lot of women don’t realize that most makeup products have low levels of SPF, so you’re not getting an effective sunblock. It’s best to choose a specific sunblock and use that before applying your make up, instead of relying on a makeup product for your sun protection.
Q: What do you recommend for patches of discolored skin that occur in spring/summer?
A: These dark patches are either reactions to ultraviolet light, either as a result of your skin type (darker skin tones show more pigment than lighter skin tones) or from a hormonal reaction called “hormone induced pigmentation”. To prevent this, use serums for the face that contain lightening ingredients (like alpha-arbutin and kojic acid). “Is Clinical-Innovative Skin Care” has a wonderful, all-natural line of products that can help with hyperpigmentation.
Westport Dermatology and Laser Center
489 Post Road East #1, Westport; 203-226-3600