Erm, calling summer, where are you?!
Warm sun, blue skies and that delicious feeling of a day outside. It is coming, but my goodness is it taking its time this year?!
Last year, I wrote a piece on SPF, the sun was shining and the summer rolled out ahead of us all with barely a moment of interruption to the rays.
So far, 2021 is not shaping up quite as beautiful, however, there is still plenty of time for the sun to rule the skies and brighten up the year. In hopeful anticipation of this, let’s take a look at some summer skin survival suggestions.
For a total SPF and UV refresher, tap here. Before we move on, let’s briefly recap a few key points to set the scene.
UVB – B is for BURN.
Short wave radiation affecting the outermost layers of skin.
UVA – A is for AGEING.
Long wave radiation that can penetrate glass, even on an overcast day. UVA damages deeper, beyond the dermis.
Both cause cumulative effects over time. Highly reactive free radicals cause oxidative stress, fragility, inflammation and premature signs of photo-ageing, for example wrinkles and hyperpigmentation; add to this a greater potential for cancerous melanomas.
UVA is not rated by SPF like UVB. There is no one global definitive guide for UVA protection factor.
SPF rating is a guideline measure of how well your skin is protected from UVB rays, calculated to give an estimated extension to natural protection.
If your skin burns in 12 minutes – SPF 30 is 30 x 12 minutes = 360 minutes protection = 6 hours.
There are two types of sunscreen:
- Organic / chemical - absorb the UV
- Inorganic / mineral / physical – reflect and scatter the UV
REMEMBER: No SPF provides 100% protection
Prep, Prime, Protect
Whether you are going to fake it or bake it, know that ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’
Summer skin needs can require subtle shifts or significant changes in order to maintain equilibrium. A few considered beauty buys can maintain control and avoid seasonal melt-down.
The foundation of good skincare, irrespective of the season is a good cleanse routine.
It’s important to realise that you need to adjust cleansing options with the seasons often to optimise the health and balance of your skin.
Oily skin can become triggered by humidity and layers of sunscreen, leaving pores congested which can cause breakouts. Ensure you purify your skin with ingredients that help break down congestion and clarify the skin – salicylic acid is perfect for this.
If your skin errs to dry, you may find that it feels tight; a little parched from the increased heat and you may experience some redness or irritation. Make sure you switch to a soothing cleanser that nourishes the skin and calms stress reactivity.
Top to toe.
Your tan, whether sun induced or spritzed from a bottle, will be more even and natural if you have an even skin surface.
Your skin may look a little lacklustre after the winter lockdown and spring has been a wash-out (literally) so we have been able to cover up and ignore. It’s fair to say that our body skincare commitment is often lacking.
We are full of good intention but often forget to keep it up.
Revealing fresh, radiant skin by tackling dry patches, dull and lacklustre skin helps invigorate the circulation, stimulate cellular renewal and bring a more even glow to the skin.
Exfoliation is key to not only smoothing and polishing the appearance of your skin, but also functionally as it helps enable maximum moisture to penetrate through the skin’s tough outer layer. Boosting hydration is key during a season when we are often exposed to conditions that contribute to skin feeling drier than usual. It helps keep skin protected and fortify natural defences against lifestyle stresses and strains.
For the body – try Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish or Ren Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium Salt Anti Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub. These are deliciously scented and buff the skin beautifully with physical massage and ‘scrubby bits’ to slough away the surface dead skin cells.
For a sophisticated, clinical approach, Dermalogica Thermafoliant Body Scrub is a combination of physical scrub from bamboo particles and AHAs dissolving dull, dead cells and boosting cellular renewal.
For the face, I would always promote the use of a glow tonic daily such as Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, an enzymatic mask or treatment to engage the power of AHAs to remove surface unevenness. I recommend avoiding physical scrubbing as it can cause micro-tears in the complexion and stress skin, which leads to premature signs of age. Try The Organic Pharmacy Four Acid Peel or Eve Lom Rescue Peel Pads.
Once you have refreshed and smoothed the complexion to help prevent unevenness and highlights to skin texture, the key to healthy balanced skin throughout the summer is optimising hydration.
Whatever your skin type, whether oily or dry, you need hydration. Consider switching to a lighter weight texture of moisturiser for the warmer months. This does not compromise on efficacy, it may simply be more comfortable for your skin to absorb. Look for super hydrators like hyaluronic acid and a hit of antioxidants to help protect from environmental skin stress and damage.
As we step tentatively into the summer holidays (albeit nearer to home) we will have access to our arsenal of products that give us consistency and control, yet somehow still find ourselves in a spin over skin that refuses to conform.
Summer Skin SOS
Why is it, when we’re under the gaze of the sun our skin seems utterly glorious glowing, golden and radiant? Then, for some reason we step inside, the sun fades and boom….dry, patchy, flaky.
If you feel your skin is in need of some rescue, here are a few suggestions to regain some equilibrium:
1. Intensive hydration rescue – look for the super hydrator ingredient hyaluronic acid, it is the perfect way to replenish parched skin. Acting as a magnet for any moisture, it can absorb up to 1,000 times its own weight, resulting in skin that feels more plump, smooth and taut. Treat yourself to a hydration mask as part of your skincare regime a couple of times a week to help counteract the parched sensation.
2. Flaky shins – don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about! Is there anything more soul destroying than looking down and seeing a light dusting of dry skin over your legs? This is so common and most likely caused by sun exposure, shaving and hot showers.
Nourish and restore the skin on your legs and arms with one of my favourites – vitamin rich L’Occitane Shea Butter Body Lotion.
3. Cool things down - showers need to be tepid, don’t agitate your skin with hot water, this will cause shock to the system and can create dehydration and discomfort.
Beauty Insider Tip
If your skin is suffering damage from UV over-exposure you will begin to see the emergence of dark brown spots, perhaps some early signs of wrinkles or fine lines and skin may feel rough and dry. This indicates damage or interruption to the protective hydrolipidic film or barrier of the skin.
Introducing a protective, preventative antioxidant serum into your skincare regime such as The Organic Pharmacy Radiant Day Shield, helps provide a strong defence in the face of sustained environmental onslaught. To complete the reparative cycle reach for a hyaluronic acid rich formula to help restore balance and protection.