Summer has unofficially come to a close as dawn falls the day after Labor Day, but it still officially hangs around for a few weeks into September. To be precise, in 2019 the season began on June 21 and ends on September 23rd at midnight (at least in the United States). (Source). Depending on the region you live in, however, well before that it may feel like fall. Some parts of the country have even seen major snow falls (sorry Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada). For the rest of us, though, there are still likely some summertime UV rays to catch, with still long hours spent outside after work and on the weekends – even a vacation or two to squeeze in. All of this extra sunshine has an impact on the skin. The travel does too.
There are solutions that can help the skin to recover and to be healthier through the fall and going into winter, when the cold can do its own damage.
Summer Time; What Is It?
Most of us know summer as a season. Some of us mark our calendars by the time our kids or grandkids (or ourselves) are out of school and some of us use a marker of Memorial Day to Labor Day. The truth is that there are different variations of summer, and depending on where you live, they can be dramatically different from other seasons. The latitude you live at defines the temperature, or temperature range, that you are likely to experience during any given season. Here is a summary of what that means, which is a throwback to high school geography class:
One of the most important factors affecting temperature is latitude. Places nearer the Earth’s equator are far warmer than those near the poles. This is due to the shape of the Earth and the way the rays of the sun hit the planet. Since the Earth is spherical, the suns rays will be far more concentrated at the equator, as the sun is always far higher in the sky, so it will concentrate its rays on a small area. And as the sun is far lower in the sky around the poles, the rays are shared over a much larger area, and the temperatures will stay down. Also…towards the poles, the sun’s rays have much further to travel through the Earth’s atmosphere before they reach the Earth than the rays at the equator. As the rays pass through the atmosphere, they lose heat in the gases, dust and cloud, so the rays are far weaker the further away from the equator they are. All this combines to make the areas near the equator warmer than those to the far north or south. (Source).
In the United States we live in the Northern Hemisphere. As noted by Journey North, this impacts the way we experience summer.
During our summer, the Northern Hemisphere leans toward the sun in its revolution, there are more daylight hours, and the sun’s angle is more perpendicular to us than at other times of year. The longer days and more concentrated sunlight and results in more heating. (Shadows are shorter in the summer because the sun strikes Earth more directly.)…
Solstice refers to the two times each year when the sun’s strongest rays are furthest from the equator (north of it during our summer solstice and south during the winter). For the northern hemisphere, summer solstice occurs around June 21st; we have the maximum number of daylight hours at that time. Winter solstice is around December 21st when we have the fewest daylight hours. Equinox refers to the two times each year when the sun’s strongest rays are directly hitting the equator. Everywhere on earth has 12 hours of daylight on the spring and fall equinoxes. In the northern hemisphere, spring equinox occurs around March 21st and autumnal equinox around September 21st.
In other words, summer begins on or around June 21st (summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year) and ends with the autumn, or fall, equinox which is halfway to the shortest day of the year. During this time our little corner of the world is getting more UV radiation directed at it than other times of the year, and some areas, depending on latitude, are getting more or less.
The Impact of the Summer on Skin
A lot of the impact of the summer comes from the ultraviolet radiation that the sun emits. When there are longer days with more sunshine, so too is there more UV. Try as we might, it is virtually impossible to escape these. There are ways, however, to minimize exposure and the biggest one is to stay in the shade during the middle of the day. As pointed out in a 2016 piece published by Bustle:
According to the Sun Safety Alliance, the worst time of day for a sunburn is from approximately 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The American Skin Association agrees, as does the U.S. National Library of Medicine. But the American Academy of Dermatology names 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as skin damage (and sunburn) prime time — a full two hours shorter than the other recommendations list.
Despite the differences, though, what these time ranges have in common is that they’re basically when the sun is directly overhead. When the sun is in this position, its rays can hit your skin more directly, causing the damage that leads to sunburn. UVA rays tend to cause aging while UVB rays tend to cause sunburn.
Sunburn is the number one damager of skin. We have previously and extensively written about this, but to recap, it photoages (prematurely ages) your skin and can cause skin cancer.
Post-Summer Skin Rejuvenation
While there is no known cure for skin that has been severely damaged by the sun, there are certainly a number of fixes that can help bring back some youthfulness and erase a lot of the signs of summer that are less than desirable.
Explore BioTech put together their list of best skin rejuvenation techniques in 2019 and we happen to agree with a lot of what they find to be the best anti-aging treatments. We know that these will help with post-summer skin recovery. All are non-surgical. These include:
- Injectables and Fillers such as botulism toxin and fat transfers
- Liquid Facelifts, which involve using both of the above
- Skin Treatments with Dermabrasion
- Chemical Peels
- Ablative lasers destroy the skin tissue and allow the body to replace it with new and healthy skin tissue.
- Continuous ablative laser
- Fractional ablative which affects the deep tissue layers and requires a longer recovery period
- Non-ablative lasers which have the mildest effect. It heats the skin tissue but doesn’t damage it. It requires multiple sessions for maximum efficacy.
- IPI or other Heat Based Treatments