Melissa Hu, MD

Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

It's natural to take steps to look your best
  • Dr. Melissa Hu

Summer Skin Care

Updated: Jun 20, 2018

The summer heat in Houston can be brutal, and the summer sun can be just as harmful to your skin.

Make sure to choose a sunblock or sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. The difference between sunblock and sunscreen is in its active ingredients. Sunblock contains minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which physically reflect UV rays away from the skin. Sunblock takes effect immediately upon application. Sunscreen contains chemicals and organic compounds that absorb UV rays, and should be applied 20 to 30 minutes before going out into the sun to have full effect. Nowadays, the terms are often used interchangeably, and products labeled sunscreens may also contain the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide ingredients for physical sunblock. So, make sure to check the active ingredients of your sunscreen or sunblock to determine how to effectively apply it.

The most important tip for the summer is to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours when you are out in the sun. Regardless of the SPF strength or being waterproof, these lotions will partially wash off, sweat off, or rub off. So, to reap the maximal effectiveness of sunblock or sunscreen, be sure to reapply frequently. If your goal is to prevent further aging of the skin, there are several medical grade sunscreens and sunblocks that include ingredients that nourish the skin and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.


Mineral makeup is so named because these powders and foundations contain naturally occurring minerals that provide a natural, soft, shimmery texture to the skin while also having properties to absorb, repel water, moisturize and nourish the skin.The two main minerals that protect your skin from the sun in mineral make-up is the same in physical sunblocks – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in powder or makeup form, these minerals act to reflect UVA and UVB rays that may damage the skin.Most of these makeups are applied in a thin coat across the face to avoid a heavy feeling or caked on appearance. As a result, this often leaves small gaps of coverage where the sun can penetrate.

The method of application can also affect the coverage of the makeup and sun protection. Brush application tends to scatter and disperse the makeup, while finger, sponge, or pad application provides a more cohesive and protective layer. Furthermore, make sure you know the level of your makeup’s SPF protection – most range from 15 to 30. For optimal protection, you want your skin to have at least SPF 30 coverage. The best advice is that if you will be in the sun for more than 15 minutes, broadly apply a light sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before you apply your mineral makeup. Use the mineral makeup as an added layer of protection. It can serve as the foundation of your makeup, but not the foundation of your sun protection.


There are several steps you can take to repair sun damaged skin. The first step is to rehydrate your skin. Try to use a hydrator that penetrates beyond the superficial layers of dead skin to nourish the inflamed and healing tissues. Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits, vegetables and natural foods. Avoid processed and high salt foods which tend to further dry your skin and cause inflammation. Second, use an antioxidant to help repair the damaged skin. For this, I recommend vitamin C and E which have been scientifically proven to reverse skin damage from UVA and UVB rays, respectively. Third, to treat the red and brown mottling of the skin in the summer, you can use medical grade anti-redness serums, calming balms, skin brighteners, anti-pigment skin gels and anti-pigment facial washes that can help lighten and brighten the skin. After summer, a medium depth chemical peel is ideal for effectively refreshing the skin and treating the irregular skin tone and textures.


Oftentimes, it is advised to avoid sun exposure after certain surgeries or skin resurfacing procedures in order to prevent complications of hyperpigmentation and darkening of scars. However, many people only have the summer months available to complete any rejuvenation procedures. In these cases, I often recommend non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures such as botox, injectables/fillers, and kybella. Botox is a neuromodulator that helps treat wrinkling caused by facial movement. Injectables/fillers include such things as Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse, Voluma, and Sculptra. Fillers, in the right hands, are extremely versatile and effective at eliminating hollowing in the temples, bags under the eyes, sagging corners of the lips, deflated cheeks, jowls, and thinned lips. It is important to have someone like a facial plastic surgeon who thoroughly understands facial anatomy to perform injections for optimal results. There are important vessels, nerves, glands and sensory organs that can be affected. Done properly, the effects can be sublime, natural, and flattering. Kybella is an FDA approved injectable used to eliminate fat under the chin. Treatments are spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart with the average requiring three injections