Sunburn? Breakouts? Dark spots? Our skincare experts help us navigate these summer skin setbacks
Your holiday is booked, your taxi is confirmed, and your summer clothes are packed in your suitcase, but did you remember the SPF? While summer is the prime time for soaking up some vitamin D, the hotter weather and humidity means that we’ll need to tweak our skincare routine to defend ourselves from harmful UVA and UVB rays. To find out how we can keep our skin safe during the summer months, we’ve asked the beauty and skincare experts to tell us how we can protect, nourish, and keep our complexions in tip-top condition when the weather gets hotter.
What can I do to help with a breakout?
A skin breakout can be caused by a number of different factors, but in the summer we tend to sweat more. When this mixes with the bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores. “Try non-comedogenic products to keep blemishes at bay,” says Lisa de-la-Plain, co-founder and professional beauty therapist (beautyflash.co.uk). “These are designed to not clog pores, which is important in summer as the heat and humidity can lead to sweat and this takes longer to evaporate off your skin. Combine this with oily products and it’s not a great situation for your pores to be in.” A great skincare solution is Estée Lauder Daywear Multi- Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturizer SPF 15 (£10, esteelauder.co.uk), which is not only non-comedogenic, but packed full of skin essential antioxidants to help fight free radical damage from the sun.
My skin feels dry and irritated, what can I do?
It’s not uncommon for some people to get itchy rashes during the summer months. This is normally caused by one of two things: a reaction to UV light, commonly known as prickly heat, or a sun allergy. Before trying to tackle this with skincare products, it’s important that you speak to your GP first. Sometimes prickly heat and sun allergies need to be treated with a mild hydrocortisone cream, but short-term solutions, including reducing sun exposure, limiting sweating with regular cold showers and wearing breathable cotton clothing can also help. But always seek advice from your GP first.
Should I exfoliate less or more during summer?
While you might be inclined to think that exfoliating will brighten dull looking skin, harsh exfoliators can leave you more prone to microtears, which can contribute to inflammation, redness, and irritation. “Regular exfoliation and the removal of dead cells, dirt and oils greatly reduces the appearance of discolouration, fine lines, lack-lustre skin and prevents further breakouts,” says Dr Gary Goldfaden (goldfadenmd.com). “It also allows topical products, particularly potent treatment serums, to penetrate deeper. However, if you do choose to exfoliate with a chemical exfoliant, be careful that it’s not too abrasive, and when you’re in the sun always wear SPF.” Opt for a softer exfoliator in the summer months and remember to shield freshly exfoliated skin with an SPF of 30 or more. When it comes to gentler products, we love Origins Never A Dull Moment Skin-Brightening Face Polisher (£28, lookfantastic.com) and for your body, try Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant (£9, lookfantastic.com).
Should I use the same SPF on my face that I do for my body?
SPF is a must-have for skin during the summer, but the type of SPF that you use depends on where you apply to the body. “UV radiation from daylight causes damage to our skin, especially when we can’t really tell how strong the sun’s rays are,” says Dr Ross Perry (cosmedics.co.uk). “When it damages the DNA in our skin, it can lead to possible skin cancer formation, but also premature skin ageing, such as brown spots, lines and wrinkles, as well as a decreased skin elasticity.” The key to ultimate sun protection? Use factor 50 all over, including your face. Reapply every two hours if you can, and if you choose to go swimming in the sea, re-apply after you’ve been in the water – even if your sunscreen claims to be water resistant. For extra protection on land, use a powdery, mineral-based sunscreen that you can brush over your make-up. Our favourite SPF? We love the ocean-friendly SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF 50 (£37, lookfantastic.com). It can be used for both your body and your face, and it’s reef-friendly – perfect if you’re planning to have a paddle in the sea.
How can I stop my skin pigmentation from getting worse?
If you already have irregular pigmentation, then the sun’s rays will only aggravate it – even if you’re on top of SPF application. Adding an anti-pigment serum into your make-up or skincare routine can be a great solution to this. “Summer weather can wreak havoc by activating the melanin in the skin, which can cause hyperpigmentation,” says Dr Goldfaden. “Look for ingredients that hydrate and repair, such as plant stem cells, which can help damaged, ageing and sagging skin. Organic red tea extract can restore important antioxidants and reduce uneven skin pigmentation, dull and lacklustre complexion, resulting in glowy-looking skin.” Try Odacité’s Hyperpigmentation Serum Concentrate (£37, cultbeauty.co.uk).
I’ve been burnt. How can I mitigate the damage to my skin?
If you forgot your SPF, or you didn’t apply it regularly enough, then you’ll need to use some after-sun products to help care for the damaged skin. Botanical-based products and cooling gels can help prevent peeling and reduce redness and inflammation, so lather these on as soon as you start to see a pink glow. “After-sun products can be especially soothing, but any moisturiser or butter designed for use on the body will help to revive dried-out skin,” says Dr Perry. We love La Roche-Posay Posthelios Melt in Gel (£13, lookfantastic.com). “Many people don’t even think to apply sunscreen to the soles of their feet, but if you’re lying on your front, pale feet that are unused to the sun are very prone to sunburn. Apply a high SPF, as the skin is naturally unaccustomed to sun exposure, and don’t forget to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been for a swim or a walk, as it can rub off when you’re active. Also, be aware of your eyelids, as they’re very sensitive and often forgotten – sunglasses and SPF should be used to protect these.”