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Dr. Kseniya Kobets and nutritionist Jessica Shapiro of Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care Westchester share their advice.
Summer in Westchester is all about afternoons spent outdoors, dinners on the patio, and visits to local parks and swimming pools. Of course, it’s also a season that can do major damage to our skin (ahem, UV rays?) and overall wellbeing (looking at you, hot dogs and ice cream).
To find out how keep calm and carry on with good wellness practices while still enjoying all the attractions of the season, we touched base with Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care Westchester’s Dr. Kseniya Kobets, the Director of Cosmetic Dermatology, and Jessica Shapiro, MS RD CDN CDCES. With their tips in hand, you’ll be well on your way to summer fun while ensuring you look and feel good, too.
Summer Skincare Dos and Don’ts
Apply Mineral Sunscreen
As Dr. Kobets explains, one of the biggest skincare problems she sees in the summer months is that people simply do not apply (or reapply) enough sunscreen. Even if they’re applying SPF in the morning, by the time 3 p.m. rolls around, that coverage won’t do any good. Instead of sticking with a once-a-day application, Kobets recommends applying a mineral sunscreen (a.k.a. one that includes zinc oxide and titanium oxide) with at least 50 SPF every two hours. Added bonus: mineral sunscreen is healthier for skin, so you can feel good about putting it on each day.
Wear the Right Gear
Wearing SPF is great, but there are additional steps you can take to protect your skin as well. One way is to wear protective attire, such as hats and long-sleeve shirts with UPF. Sunglasses are important, too, and seeking shade whenever possible is always a good idea.
Incorporate Vitamin C Serum
“Use vitamin C serum twice a day for its antioxidant benefits,” Kobets explains. “It’s a great pairing to SPF for ultimate protection.”
In addition to antioxidant benefits, a vitamin C serum can be brightening as well. Just be sure to stick with it once you incorporate it into your skincare routine in order to see long-term benefits.
Treat Your Skin
While summer is not the right time for certain treatments that increase sensitivity to light, it can be a great time for faster skincare procedures with minimal downtime.
“Microneedling with PRP is a safer procedure which doesn’t use heat and only requires a few days of downtime,” Kobets says. “Neuromodulators and fillers are always in season, except [you should] allow for a few days of possible swelling and bruising. For someone who is busy working indoors, traveling but not spending much time in the sun during the summer, even BBL (broadband light) treatment is a good option for overall skin rejuvenation, acne, acne scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s a great way to promote skin glow and radiance.”
Kobets generally recommends planning for treatment appointments three to six months in advance, especially for anyone who has an event coming up.
“Many treatments take time to work and may require several sessions to achieve the desired results,” she explains. “This is especially true when planning to do an ablative resurfacing laser that is best done in the colder and less sunny months.”
Looking ahead, she notes that spring and summer are actually the best time to plan treatments, since they’re usually booked for fall and winter when the sun’s rays tone down and people spend more time indoors. She recommends getting a consultation first, since that will provide proper skincare information and help people to prep for future procedures.
“Planning and scheduling ahead always helps to choose the best times and dates that are convenient for the patient and provider,” she says.
Nutrition Dos & Don’ts
Hydrate Your Body
While many people focus on skincare in the summer, it’s easy to let nutrition fall by the wayside once the warmer weather arrives. Don’t forget about it though! Because nutrition and skincare are inextricably linked, summer is an essential time to focus on eating well and feeding your body what it needs.
One of the best ways to get started is to make sure you’re hydrating properly.
“After spending time in the sun, and especially if you get sunburnt, it is very important to drink enough fluids,” Shapiro explains. “If you are swimming all day, you might not even realize how much you are sweating when you are hanging out in water all day.”
When it comes to what to drink, stick to water and unsweetened beverages, not the sugary stuff. A total of 8-10 glasses of 8oz cups of water is a good baseline, although this may need to increase if you’re working out or getting extra sweaty. Keep an eye on your urine color; if it’s too dark, you need to drink more water!
To make it fun, try adding fresh or frozen fruit or creating infused waters with flavors like cucumber and mint. Not only does it feel fancy, but it’s delicious, too.
Be Wary of Food Poisoning
Summer barbecue season is great, but it also comes with a risk of foodborne illnesses. Keep a careful eye on food at outdoor parties; if it’s been sitting for too long, you may want to skip it.
“Prevent foodborne illnesses by making sure to keep food properly refrigerated/cooled and raw meats cooked to the proper temperature,” Shapiro notes. “Watch out for cross-contamination by using safe-handling practices, including proper hand hygiene. If cooked food is outside in heat for longer than one to two hours, I’d consider not eating it.”
Along with food poisoning, summer barbecues can also be a hotbed for overindulging. After all, who can resist a spread of chips, snacks, alcohol, hamburgers, and ice cream sandwiches?
While avoiding these temptations is no easy feat, it’s important to create a balanced, healthy plate. The key is to follow the golden ratio, which Shapiro says is 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% whole grains or starchy vegetables (that means corn or potatoes, not both), and a small serving of fruit for dessert.
Plus, if the summer fiesta you’re attending is a potluck, use this as an excuse to prep a healthy dish that you know will be filled with healthy veggies and proteins. All in all, Shapiro notes that following the Mediterranean diet is an excellent way to stay healthy and fill up on whole, unprocessed foods in a way that energizes you.
Keep up Your Exercise Routine
Summer is a fantastic time to switch up your exercise routine, which may be feeling stale after the same ol’ circuit at the gym during winter and spring. Try out an outdoor activity like volleyball or swimming, or challenge family and friends to a game of pickleball. You’ll get moving and have a blast.
To learn more about skincare and nutrition at Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care Westchester, visit its website.