Ready for Summer? Not until you see your dermatologist!

sunscreen

After the rough winter we had this year, bring on the heat, the beach and the sun – but remember your skin needs a little extra TLC during the summer months.

The benefits of the sun are endless; it’s important for the planet and for each of us. Sunbathing helps your body create vitamin D, a vital nutrient for everything from your bones, to your brain to aiding in weight loss. Sun helps your skin heal things like wounds or conditions like acne. It’s been linked to helping with depression and building your immune system. The sun is wonderful and necessary – but as with all good things, you can have too much of it.

There are many easy steps you can take to avoid serious damage to your skin from the sun. To get you started:

  1. Wear a hat whenever possible to protect your face from the sun. Since your face is always exposed, it gets the most damage.
  2. Wear sunscreen and lip balm every day. It’s best to wear it even on cloudy days since the sun can still come through. Many moisturizers and foundations have up to SPF 30 included to help make this even easier.
  3. Since the sun can cause melanoma build up in your eyes, wear UVA-protective sunglasses.
  4. Stay out of the sun from 10-2 if possible. This is the most intense sunlight of the day, so if you need to be outside, be cautious.
  5. Never tan in a tanning bed – this can increase your chances of skin cancer by up to 75%. It’s not worth it.
  6. Moisturize and hydrate. Even when you’re not in the sun, you can take actions to make your skin healthier. Drink your water and moisturize every night before bed!

The best step you can take for healthy skin is to make an appointment with your dermatologist. You stick to your daily dental routine but you wouldn’t skip your bi-annual dentist check up. Similarly, everyone should make their skin and seeing the dermatologist a priority, especially around the summer time. It is recommended that even if you have no skin ailments, you see a dermatologist once a year for a thorough exam.

Dermatologists will check each mole and can give you better, more specific instructions for how to protect your skin. With so many sunscreens and other skin care products on the market, a doctor can help you choose which is best for you. You can also find out which moisturizers are best, what to be on the lookout for and key signs that you need to come back for a check up. Seeing a dermatologist can help with prevention, early detection and recovery, especially for you sun lovers.

So, buy some sunscreen and a hat for the beach, and then book an appointment with your dermatologist today.

Trying to Improve Your Inner Chi and Outer Beauty? Five Health and Fitness Apps that are Actually Useful

Summer has finally arrived! In order to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather, I’ve set a few goals to improve my mind, body, and overall health. To aid in my wellness goals for the summer, I found a few fitness, diet and mental health apps that I’m sure will allow me to get the most out of my summer. With literally thousands on the market, it’s tough to decide which ones are actually useful and which ones are duds.

Since I’m not jumping on the wearable bandwagon, I was looking for something that could track my activity and improve my overall health without bursting my wallet with overpriced additions. Here are some of my favorite downloads:

MapMyFitness is an easy to use tracking app that allows me to input my food consumption, workouts, and even track the wear and tear of my sneakers. I especially love the calorie counter feature so that I know how much more I can eat during the day. You can connect with friends to hold each other accountable and sign up for challenges together.  Sharing my weight loss triumphs and failures with other likeminded friends has given me the encouragement and strength to continue. One negative about the app is that they have large amount of available features, which can be overwhelming and confusing for a first time user. (Free; iOS and Android)

Calm is a great app for your overall mind and body health. The interface delivers multiple themes with calming music and compositions for any mood. I discovered this app during a particularly stressful time on the job and realized that listening to it at work not only lowered my stress and anxiety levels, but it increased my productivity! For a small fee, you can even download guided meditations that can lower your anxiety, give you pep talks, improve your sleep, and help better your self-esteem. ($9.99/month; iOS and Android)

If you are a foodie or an adventurous eater, you need to download Ingredient1. It’s the perfect app if you’re looking for something different to spice up your mundane menu. You can create a personal food profile with a list of food allergies, diet specifications, and your favorite flavors and cravings and Ingredient1 provides suggestions of healthy foods to eat. I always crave something salty around 3pm, and with this app, I now have multiple new foods and ingredients to try. The app even lets you know the nearest location to pick up these delicious new treats so that you can try them right away. (Free; iOS)

Pump-Up is a fun, interactive, and dynamic app for building a targeted workout and then sharing your successes with friends. The app features customizable workouts for every part of the body. My favorite part about it is that it’s a new platform to share your post workout pics, that healthy salad you just ate and encouragement posts to other health and fitness gurus.  The social feed is a great place to find inspiration to make this bikini season better than last.  (Free; iOS and Android)

Need a step-by-step guide to loose weight from personal coaches? Noom coach is the perfect app for people like me who have no idea what they are doing when it comes to dieting!  The simple interface allows you to log in your meals and lets you know how many calories you have left in your daily budget. Noom coach also gives you simple suggestions for improving your diet and tips for getting the most out of the app. For a small fee, you can even go pro to unlock recipes, join groups of other dieters, and access additional features. (Free; iOS and Android)

If you are like me, and have been searching for tools to help improve your mind, body, and spirit, try downloading some of these apps. We are always on our phones anyways, might as well use that device for something useful! I guarantee that this summer will be the best one yet.

Best of luck, Morgan