After one of the toughest winters ever, hitting the road for some much-needed sun is on everyone’s agenda. But before you pack your bags, take a second to think about what the season means to your lifelong friend – your skin. From airplane rides to long beach sessions, a little bit of care and preparation can ensure a great vacation and even better skin ten years from now.
Recently, Parlor chatted with New York dermatologist Dr. Carlos Charles about what the summer travel season means for the skin. Dr Charles puts his melanoma and pigmentation research experience to work every day in his Derma di Colore practice, which specializes in dark skin, so you know he had a lot to say about what summer means. for brunette girls who love to travel. . Get inside!
Dr Charles on… Skin and Air Travel
What general precautions should women take with their skin to prepare for a flight?
We all know that flying exposes the skin to extremely dry recirculated air. As such, women should prepare for long trips by making sure they have followed a few guidelines in the days leading up to a flight. Some very simple steps include: bathing in lukewarm water (as opposed to hot water), using mild scent-free soaps, and limiting baths or showers to less than 5 minutes.
Plus, applying a fragrance-free moisturizer immediately after bathing while skin is still slightly damp can help lock in moisture to create a protective barrier against the outside elements. Other more proactive steps in preparing the skin for travel include using oils such as those from SW Basics of Brooklyn. They contain a beautiful, simple and natural body oil that can be used on its own or with your moisturizer after bathing.
For skin prone to eczema and allergic rashes, the overall stress of flying combined with dry air can often exacerbate these skin conditions. Make sure you have all the topical medications on hand and that they are up to date for your trip. These include topical creams prescribed by your dermatologist and physical scent-free sunscreens.
Finally, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during the flight.
What would you recommend specifically for flights of 6 hours or more?
In addition to the guidelines outlined above, I would add that you need to make sure to get up, walk, and even stretch a bit at least every two hours. Not only will this help avoid potential blood clots in the legs, but increased circulation will also help supply the skin with much needed nourishment and oxygen while helping to flush waste, including free radicals, from active cells. Additionally, applying a therapeutic oil such as RMS Beauty Oil in the evening before and after a long flight can help combat the typically dry air in airplane cockpits. Particular attention should be paid to cuticles, nails and hands in addition to the face. All of these simple procedures can greatly improve the appearance of your skin during a long flight.
Dr Charles on… Skin and Sun
Beach season has arrived. What precautions should we take to protect our body and facial skin in general in addition to sunscreen?
Well, sunscreen is by far the most important item in protecting our body and facial skin during beach season. In addition to sunscreen, avoid potential allergens that can be exacerbated by UV rays. The most common allergens are found in heavily scented creams, moisturizers, and sunscreens. Ditch heavy scents at the beach and go for scent-free products.
One final tip, every summer I see a handful of patients who experience an often very distinct rash after a weekend at the beach. What is the most common culprit of these rashes? Margaritas! Well, not exactly the margarita. These patients typically handled limes for their cocktails or beers. The combination of chemicals in limes and ultraviolet rays from the sun can lead to dramatic rashes and itching. So be careful when chopping, slicing, and squeezing limes in the sun and make sure you squeeze as much juice out of the skin as possible.
For which sun protection products do you recommend our skin?
There are many sunscreens available in the market today. The key is to find a product line that works well with sensitive skin and will also blend well without any chalky white residue on darker skin. Elta MD does the trick on both fronts. Their UV Daily and UV Facial broad spectrum sunscreens both contain physical blockers such as zinc and titanium dioxide that are best suited for sensitive skin while providing protection against UVA and UVB rays.
For women with hyperpigmentation / scarring, what can they do to make sure their marks don’t darken in the sun while still maintaining a beautiful, sun-kissed appearance?
The truth is, the only way to prevent hyper pigmented spots from getting worse is to use a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Not only will this help keep dark marks at bay, but it will also help protect the skin from other signs of aging such as increased pore size and textural imperfections. Fortunately, almost everyone will still gain color even with a good application of a good sunscreen.
Dr Charles on… Skin and foreign treatments + Products
A great thing about traveling is exploring foreign pharmacies / apothecaries for new and interesting products to try. What advice would you give a woman to avoid buying a potential disaster? What should she look for in the ingredients of a product?
Whether in foreign pharmacies or at home, common sense always prevails when buying new products. Always keep in mind that on a beach vacation any product can cause unexpected skin reactions when combined with sunlight. Therefore, I would recommend staying away from new products on the beach. As mentioned earlier, fragrances can often act as allergens and new, heavily scented products should be reserved when you get home.
Also, I often find that some women will take the opportunity abroad to purchase strong bleach or bleach creams that cannot be purchased from home. Unfortunately, many of these overseas fade creams usually contain high strength steroids which can wreak havoc on the skin, leading to acne-like rashes and more permanent changes such as stretch marks. I would recommend avoiding creams with strong steroids such as clobetasol, halobetasol, or fluocinonide. In addition, creams containing hydroquinone in high concentrations (above 4%) can potentially cause irritating and allergic rashes that can lead to worsening blemishes and dark marks.
Many women also like to indulge in spa treatments while traveling. What advice would you give our readers on how to choose the right one?
In accordance with the above recommendations, spas that use products containing excessive fragrances, including so-called natural products, should be avoided. The right spa should pay special attention to the needs of clients who have sensitive skin and are sensitive to potential allergens. Finally, cleanliness is of the utmost importance when choosing the right spa. Instruments used for mani-pedis as well as damp towels can serve as breeding ground for bacteria such as pseudomonas which can lead to green nails and staphylococcus which can lead to various infections. Make sure the spa you choose follows basic sanitary practices and that all equipment, machines, and linens appear hygienic, at least after a cursory inspection.
If you are in New York, you can find Dr Charles in his Chelsea office by making an appointment with Derma di Colore. You can also follow him via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Take care of you!
Image: Photolyric / iStock