Author | DIAKADI Intern Ron Michelson Now that summer is here as much as it can be in the City, there will probably be vacations for most of you that include sunny places. We’re going to examine what to do to have healthy skin, what to do to protect it and what can be done for minor irritations.

Healthy skin needs a great diet including plenty of antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, spinach and other leafy greens, tomatoes, beans peas and lentils, fish especially salmon and nuts. According to Dr. Susan C, Taylor of Columbia University, “Research has shown that the antioxidants...can protect the skin from sun damage and help reduce damage in skin cells...”. Dr. Taylor qualifies the statement saying eating a variety of healthy foods and staying well hydrated should help most people. There has also been some talk about Vitamin A for improving wrinkled skin but the Mayo Clinic has written these claims have not yet been proven. It is important to get your daily share of Vitamin A which assists in skin cell regeneration and can be found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and dark green leafys.

Conversely, it seems some foods have been associated with skin damage and ...”some research suggests that a diet high in fat and carbohydrates promotes skin aging” as stated by Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic.

The big practice for skin is DON’T SMOKE.

When cleaning your body, remember to limit bath time, use warm instead of hot water, avoid strong soaps, moisturize, and pat dry rather than rub. All of these moderate practices maintain the natural oils in your skin which aid in the regeneration of cells and promoting skin health.

To protect yourself from the sun, it’s best to avoid being out between 10a and 4p, wear protective clothing which includes wide brimmed hats and use a sunscreen. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is suggested of SPF15 or greater although the American Academy of Dermatology suggests SPF 30. In any case, apply the sunscreen every two hours and more if your sweating or swimming. Remember that UV rays can penetrate cloud cover so use it even on cloudy days.

In case you do burn, the damage is done and there is no quick fix. It may take several days to know the full extent of the damage but there are steps you can take to ease the pain. Keep skin cool by applying cold compresses or take a cool bath. Apply aloe or moisturizing cream avoiding products with alcohol or benzocaine. Leave blisters intact; you may have to cover them with gauze. Treat peeling skin with gentleness when bathing. Consult a doctor if there are blisters over a large portion of your body, you have a high fever or severe pain and the sunburn doesn’t improve within a few days.

Finally, since a great many people like to camp, be sure to be on the lookout for poison oak and poison ivy. If you don’t know what these looks like, you can go here to see some great pics of them both. The rash usually lasts two to four weeks and while it’s running it’s course, you can take oatmeal baths (one cup of oats in a coolish bath), cool compresses or use over the counter anti itch medications for relief. Be sure to see your doctor if the rash is widespread or there are a large number of blisters.

Have a great time outdoors and remember to treat your skin respectfully!