We’re in the midst of one of the warmest years (and summers) in human recorded history. The El-Nino phenomenon has raised global temperatures by some 2 Degrees Celsius. This affects the way in which we interact with our environment, meaning we’re spending more time close to air-conditioning, immersed in chlorinated swimming pools, under salty seawater and surrounded by hot summer winds that all take their toll on our skin, our largest and most visible organ. This ultimately causes moisture loss and dehydration.
Outdoor sports and activities with prolonged periods of ultra-violet radiation punish the skin further. UVA stimulates melanocytes to produce more melanin which turns the skin brown and produces what we call a tan. This may look very healthy but unfortunately this also causes a breakdown of collagen which in turn causes skin ageing and also those dreaded brown sunspots. UVB burns and causes DNA damage which can ultimately lead to skin cancer.
Mid-summer is definitely not the time for aggressive skin treatments to correct an overdose of summer sun but there are ways to give your skin some much needed first aid:
Exfoliating dry, dead cells on the surface of the skin will enhance cellular renewal and give your skin a youthful, healthy glow.
Some people have chronically dry skin all year round but never more so than in summer. Step up to the richest, most luxurious cream that provides a deep level of moisturisation in dry summer skins.
Incorporate serums into your skincare routine as they absorb and penetrate immediately giving the skin instant hydration during the dry summer months. They work well when used with a moisturiser in non-oily skins or on their own in oily skins. Apply weekly hydrating facial masks for an added boost.
Obagi Professional-C Serums 10% / 15% / 20%
Humid climates thicken the stratum corneum, the top layer of the skin, which becomes thicker causing pores to block and blackheads and whiteheads to appear. It is important to use the correct cleanser – one with a foaming action is often the best and to use a lotion or gel that contains Benzyl Peroxide (BPO).
Obagi Therapeutic Lotion (BPO)
Sun can make pigmentation-prone skin worse and it is best to use products that contain melanin inhibitors to minimise the formation of brown marks.
Rough, Dry Textured Skin
Use a body moisturiser that reduces dry flaky skin which is often a sign of dehydration and make use of a urea-based cream for roughness on the elbows, knees and feet. Always apply to damp skin just after a shower or bath.
ISDIN Ureadin Rx®30 Lotion Plus (Feet, Elbows, Knees)
Dry Chapped Lips
The skin on your lips is much thinner and more vulnerable than on the rest of your body – always protect your lips with a sunscreen but just as important use a good lip balm to moisturise. The lower lip protrudes more and with more sun exposure causes a condition called Actinic Cheilitis – this damages little glands in the lips which normally provide moisture causing to the chronically dry lips.
Sun & Skin
Use sunscreens which contain antioxidants especially Vitamin C or Vitamin C&E combination as they enhance the efficacy of the sunscreens. Minimize sun exposure and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day if possible. If you have a more oily skin, ensure that the sunscreen is oil-free and non-comedogenic so that it does not block your pores causing acne and a heat rash.
Further ways to support your skin health during the hot summer months:
Drink lots of water throughout the day to support body functions and skin hydration. Eat cool fruits and raw vegetables with a high water content such as watermelon and cucumber. Reduce your alcohol intake as this can further dehydrate the skin.
Use mist sprays for when you need instant heat reduction on the skin surface and you are not near water.
Always rinse off chlorine and seawater from your skin and moisture immediately after swimming.
You can still enjoy the mid-summer sun but look after your skin. It’s the only one you’ve got!