Fine Tune Skin Care for Spring & Summer Fun and Beauty


Dr. Irwin, I’m currently not using a vitamin C serum on my face as part of my skincare regimen, but I keep hearing about the importance of using it along with my sunscreen and face cream. Is adding this product to my arsenal of anti-aging skin products essential and if so, what should I look for in a vitamin C serum? Thank you for your time and help.

Let’s start with the premise that none of can be perfect at this in summer, and that we’re not trying to keep every ray of UV off our skin. That could be a recipe for frustration! And…we don’t want to live in caves, so, let’s do the best we can.

Think about it this way. Sun/UV damage is cumulative. Your skin is a like a cup; as you receive more sun/UV rays, it will start to get full. First, we see small changes of red and brown blotchiness (and yes, freckles count here). Then we start to see texture changes…slight yellowing, coarser texture and fine wrinkles. After that, it’s deeper wrinkles, leathery or very blotchy skin, precancerous and then skin cancer. I’m really not trying to be depressing here. Just look at the different areas of your skin and do a quick assessment. Are you at 50%, 75%, 100% (you already have had skin cancers) full? Also, know that other body parts will be different.

For example, my face, neck and chest are good for my age, my arms have a touch more sun damage, and the backs of my shoulders have quite a bit more — because I can never seem to reach far enough back — and I like racer-back tops. Remember, the most common site for melanoma in women is the legs!

Try these tips for extra help with sun damage, skin beauty and skin cancer protection.

  • Body:  Never forget that sun protective clothing works better than sunscreen. Think light footless tights under a bikini bottom or maillot, or a sun shirt from REI or, or swim gloves for the backs of the hands if you’re a swimmer, for example.
  • Body:  Waterproof, sweat proof and high zinc is the key. If I’m really going to be out, I’ll use an inexpensive drugstore Sport sunscreen and then layer over key areas (like chest, shoulders, backs of hands, etc) with high (10-20%) waterproof, sweat proof zinc oxide.
  • Face:  Hats – I’m in love with Filson hats right now… But any hat is better than no hat.
  • Face:  That water/sweat resistant high zinc sunscreen may look very white and chalky for all of 5 minutes. Most absorb quickly and you can put a tinted moisturizer or makeup over them to give you more color.
  • Face:  Double sunscreen your nose, ears if not covered by hair, sides of the face and lips. These are the most at risk for skin cancers and get missed.
  • Face:  Lips – make sure you’re not just using lip balm; find a high zinc one.
  • Face:  Persistently scaly places on your lips aren’t just chapped lips, they are often precancerous spots. Please get these checked!


I Hope this Helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD
Founder of SkinTour
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!