Categories: Anti-Aging, Skin Care4.4 min read

by Stephen Luther, M.D.


A Complete Guide to Summer Skin Health

Sunshine is a beautiful gift from God that brings warmth and brightness to our lives. With the proper skin protection, you can delight in the outdoors and soak in rays of vitamin D and mood enhancers! Dr. Luther and his wife, Debbie, enjoy morning beach walks and want to help you balance the sun’s health benefits while shielding yourself from potential skin damage caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Boosting Mood and Vitamin D Production

Sunshine profoundly impacts our well-being because sunlight stimulates vitamin D production in our bodies. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting our immune system, and enhancing our mood. Inadequate vitamin D levels have been associated with a reduced risk of depression and improved mental health. Sunlight also prompts serotonin, a neurotransmitter contributing to happiness and wellness. Additionally, sunlight triggers the release of endorphins which help reduce stress and anxiety.

How to Practice Safe Sun Exposure

Early morning or evening sunlight is preferable when the UV rays are less intense and indicated by lower numbers on the UV index scale of 0 to 11. There are three types of UV radiation: UVC, UVB, and UVA.

  • UVC is absorbed by our atmosphere.
  • UVB enables your skin to manufacture vitamin D, yet its strong potency is the primary cause of sunburn. The UVB rays can darken or burn the epidermis, which is the top layer of your skin (B for burn).
  • UVA comprises 95% of the UV light that reaches us. UVA is less potent but can penetrate the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin, contributing to premature aging and increasing your risk of skin damage (A for aging).

UV damage is cumulative, and overexposure may contribute to basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Harmful rays are a primary source of rough texture, sagging, and wrinkles on the skin because they degrade collagen and elastin.

The Science Behind Sunscreen and Sunblock

There are two shielding mechanisms against UV rays:

  • Physical blockers that sit on the skin’s surface and reflect the UV rays.
  • Chemical sunscreens that absorb and change the structure of the UV rays.

Physical blockers protect your skin from UV rays with minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that form a barrier. You can also naturally protect your skin with UPF clothing and hats. UPF is the ultraviolet protection factor, a textile rating for the sun protection it offers. A UPF of 50 means the garment blocks all but 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays. The UPF scale ranges from 15%-25% as good, 25%-39% as very good, and 40%-50% as excellent.

Chemical sunscreens, in cream or spray, have a sun protection factor known as SPF that measures its ability to protect the skin. It’s important to note that no sunscreen has 100% protection, and SPF 30 is the recommended minimum. Higher numbers mean more protection. However, sunscreens with SPFs of 50 or greater typically yield similar coverage. There are 12 FDA-approved ingredients, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, and avobenzone. Quality sunblock will contain multiple ingredients because some protect from UVB rays, while others are better at blocking UVA rays. By selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you ensure comprehensive protection against both types of rays reducing the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and potential skin cancer.

Hybrid sunscreens have a combination of active ingredients, including mineral and chemical compounds, allowing for a thinner formula with a lighter feel.

Symbios recommends medical-grade mineral protection from EltaMD Skincare, ZO Skin Health, and skinbetter science’s Sunbetter Advanced Mineral Protection. Personalized formulas protect your skin type with transparent zinc oxide that blocks a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB rays.

Hyperpigmentation, AKA Sunspots

As sunlight touches our skin, specialized skin cells, known as melanocytes, produce melanin, a protective skin-darkening pigment to help prevent sunburn. Prolonged sun exposure can increase melanin production or hyperpigmentation. Fortunately, these darkened skin patches that can mar our complexion are effectively treated with a Symbios hybrid facial and Alma’s Dye-vl. These innovative laser systems use variable pulse technology to break down excess melanin in the skin, which lightens and eliminates your sunspots. Precise treatment that targets the pigmented skin minimizes discomfort and downtime and restores an even tone and more youthful complexion.

Symbios Medical Spa specialists can also determine the best skin-brightening creams (available with or without hydroquinone) to lighten hyperpigmentation effectively.

Safeguard your skin to maintain its radiance, and step outside with confidence. Symbios Medical Spa is offering 10% off on all its high-quality sunscreens through the end of summer. Don’t settle for creams that cause acne, aging, or skin damage; your health and the well-being of your skin should always be a top priority. Call 843.738.4800 to talk to Symbios Medical Spa product experts to match your skin type with the proper sun protection.

Where to Buy the Products Recommended in This Article

  • EltaMD: A complete lineup of EltaMD sun protection products can be purchased at the Symbios Medical Spa. Receive 10% off on your in-office purchase through September 22.
  • ZO Skin Health: A complete lineup of ZO Skin Health sun protection products can be purchased at the Symbios Medical Spa. Receive 10% off on your in-office purchase through September 22.
  • skinbetter science: skinbetter science’s Sunbetter Advanced Mineral Protection can be purchased at the Symbios Medical Spa or online. The 10% discount is valid for in-office purchases only through September 22.


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