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Summer may conjure up images of days spent relaxing in a hammock with a cool drink by our side, but the last time I looked in the mirror, my skin was looking definitely ... haggard.  The season should have been all about rosy cheeks and carefree days, but the truth is that summer can hasten the aging of skin.

Here's how summer can play havoc with the health of your skin:

1. More airplane time.   Flying the friendly skies can wreck skin largely due to low humidity in the cabins.  While normal humidity in an average home sits in the 30% to 50% range, it can dip to as low as 1% on an airplane.  It's no wonder skin and hair feel completely devoid of moisture!  Hydrate, inside and out, by drinking plenty of liquids and applying moisturizer and hand cream often.

2. Unprotected UV exposure. We naturally just end up spending more time outside in the summer, yet unprotected UV exposure may be the number one factor in premature aging of the skin. With repeated exposure, collagen in the skin breaks down, elastin weakens and damage shows up as wrinkles, dark spots and loose, leathery skin. Protect yourself by using a broad-spectrum [Link Removed] , seeking shade when available and wearing sun-protective clothing.

3. Air conditioning. As necessary as central heating in the winter, air conditioners keep homes and offices cool when temperatures soar. In addition to blowing cool air, air conditioners also pull humidity out of the air at the same time. When we spend our days at the office and our nights at home in these controlled environments, our skin is constantly being robbed of moisture. Although [Link Removed] , which includes hyaluronic acid to moisturize and plump skin cells.

4. Not getting enough sleep. With the kids out of school, the temptation was certainly there to take advantage of the weather and pack in as many activities into our waking time as possible. Coupled with the longer days and later bedtime, the simple truth is that we just aren't getting enough sleep. A recent study found that the [Link Removed]  can actually double the signs of ageing skin.  Do we need any more reason than that to turn off the lights?

Now that September is here and the kids are back in school, it's time to put "taking care of my skin" back on the top of your list.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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