During the summer, as temperatures rise and the days are filled with clear, blue skies, many people keep cool by wearing clothing that displays more of their skin than they do during any other time of the year.
Because of that choice, the health of their skin is potentially affected.
Healthy skin is described by Warren / Howland dermatologist Dr. Kyle Wagamon as "skin free of damage from the sunlight and smoke exposure."
According to Austintown dermatologist Dr. Susan Woods, cleansers are best for women to wash their faces. “Cleansers promote exfoliation of dead skin cells from the skin,”?Woods said. “Cleansers allow natural oils, makeup and environmental pollutants to be removed from the skin.”
He said that what people might think are signs of unhealthy skin - such as freckles, skin tags, moles or rosacea, a chronic condition with skin redness - are actually predetermined by genetics.
Sun damage can cause wrinkles and skin cancer.
Wagamon believes there are steps you can take to lessen or prevent skin damage.
"I tell people to get SPF 30 or greater. It doesn't hurt to get the SPF 120, but it doesn't really help you that much," he said.
Wagamon said that a higher price does not make for a better sunscreen.
"All the prescription brands and name brands are about the same right now. Neutrogena is the leader but they don't have anything new out, so they aren't really any better than the other guys," said Wagamon.
Wagamon considers keeping your skin healthy a year-round issue.
"Put it on every morning, even if you're not going outside, even if it's winter time. I see a lot of people with skin cancer, and you'd be surprised. There's that rare January day when it's sunny and they end up going outside and talking to their neighbor, and they get a significant amount of sun exposure in that half hour, 45 minutes outside."
"I put it on in the morning and I'm set for the whole day," Wagamon said. "I'm indoors. I don't need to reapply. The only time you need to reapply is if you're going to be out all day like baseball games, at the beach. Then, reapply every three to four hours."
When it comes to makeup, he believes that every little bit of SPF helps.
"People say all the time, my foundation is 15. Is that good? I say it's pretty good. If you're putting on 15, it's decent, but if they've had skin cancers, get a moisturizer with SPF 15 and then you can have a foundation with 15 and then you have a little bit of a backup."
For women, removing their makeup well is essential for good skin health.
"I feel that cleansers remove makeup from the face the best," said Austintown dermatologist, Dr. Susan Woods. "Cleansers promote exfoliation of dead skin cells from the skin. Cleansers allow natural oils, makeup and environmental pollutants to be removed from the skin.
"Baby oil, makeup wipes and cold creams do not give that benefit. In addition, these products do not clean the pores, which can contribute to dull skin that has clogged pores. I see many people with clogged pores because their skin is never cleansed properly,'' she said.
Woods recommends taking your skin type into consideration when choosing a facial cleanser.
"Not everyone can use the same type of cleanser," she said. "Those with acne and oily skin will need to use a cleanser with glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Those with normal skin have the most products to choose from and can even use some that incorporate anti aging ingredients.
''Some people can use a bar of soap on their face and tolerate it just fine. Delicate, dry skin needs a soapless cleanser such as Cetaphil or Cerave."
Another thing that effects skin health is smoking.
"People don't realize it, but the big thing for women is that it makes you look older," Wagamon said. "It turns the skin yellowish, thickens it and almost makes it leathery and the lines around the lips."
How you treat your skin when you are younger can display damage as you age, such as bruises on the forearms of older men.
"That actually comes from sun damage," Wagamon said. "If you look at the forearm, especially on males, there's a lot of sun exposure there from driving cars and mowing lawns, and they never put sunscreen on, so over time, the sun will weaken the blood vessels there, so if they just brush up against something, they will get a three centimeter, four centimeter bruise."
He also said that some medications such as blood thinners could exacerbate the problem.
"Not only are they bleeding now because the sun has weakened the blood vessels, but now the bleeding doesn't stop because the Coumadin or Plavix or whatever medication they are on to thin the blood out is making the bruises triple the size," he said.
To keep your skin healthy throughout your life, Wagamon not only emphasizes using sunscreen regularly but also eating a healthy diet and not smoking.
"The best way to keep your skin healthy is to follow two simple rules: moderation and simplicity," she said. "First, use moderation with sun exposure and alcohol, and completely avoid cigarette smoking. As we know, the sun damages the skin and promotes wrinkles. Sunscreen is so very important to avoid skin cancer and keep the skin healthy. But, excessive sun exposure, even with sunscreen, will cause the skin to prematurely age. So, moderation is important when looking at keeping the skin looking its best.
"Second, simplicity. Know what products to use on the skin and keep it simple. It is not necessary to have a seven-step skin care routine or to buy the most expensive moisturizers."
"Whatever you buy, just make sure you're going to use it," Wagamon said.