PHOENIX -- Summer is drawing to a close, but not before doing a number on our skin.
Now it the time to starting thinking about giving your skin a break. It is, after all, your largest organ and a summer of fun in the sun probably has left its mark.
Sarah Neumann, a dermatology PA at Ahwatukee Skin & Laser, said there are four things you need to do.
Once the heat of the summer passes, many people forget about good hydration. No matter the weather, hydration is essential.
Hydration works from the inside out, which means you need to drink plenty of water every day.The general recommendation is 64 ounces per day, but that amount can vary from person to person.
"Fine lines and wrinkles look far better when your skin if soft, supple and plump," Neumann explained. "That comes from basic H2O."
Sodas do not count when it comes to hydration. In fact, caffeinated drinks can actually dehydrate you.
Neumann went on to explain that our dry, arid climate makes daily exfoliation a must for most people. Removing dead and damaged skin cells will leave your skin with a soft, healthy glow.
While some people think exfoliating every day is too much, Neumann says it's fine as long as you use a gentle brush and cleanser. She recommended the Clarisonic.
"It takes off two to three times more of the toxins and debris than normal washing or cleansing along," she said. "It also, more importantly, allows whatever you put on after it to be better absorbed and more efficacious."
Other exfoliation options include a body scrub in the shower, glycolic retinol pads and daily vitamin A.
That brings us to step three - repair. Neumann says you need to go back to the basics for this -- vitamins A, C and E. These topical can be used either in the morning as another layer of protection or at night to promote healing after a day of exposure to pollution and toxins.
Dermatologists love Olay Regenerist, which is an easy-to-find and affordable product line. Check your local Walgreens or CVS.
"It's one of the top skin-care lines you can buy over the counter," Neumann said.
The last step is protection, which means wearing sunscreen.
"The only way that you can be responsible and safe in the sun is to realize that it has to be part of your daily regimen -- like brushing your teeth," Neumann said.
She went on to explain that most people do not apply enough sunscreen.
"Every day we should be applying it to the exposed areas," Neumann explained. "The average adult should use one regular-size shot glass full of sunscreen to cover all exposed areas [including your eyelids and ears] if your going to the beach or are going to be at the pool. ... People don't put on nearly enough."
The highest risk hours to be in the sun are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so try to avoid those whenever possible. Also, reapply your sunscreen -- completely -- every two hours.
Skin tips provided by Ahwatukee Skin & laser, located at 4425 E. Agave Road #148 Phoenix, AZ 85044. Call 480-704-7546 for more information.