Thanks to summer time fun, your skin may look and feel tired, stressed, inflamed and congested due to oxidative stress from UV radiation, dehydration from air conditioning, pore clogging from sunscreens and sweating and from perhaps a few too many margharitas on sunny patios.
So the question is… What can we do to lessen the stresses on our skin and help it look and feel healthy, balanced and vibrant?
- Stop aggressively cleansing. Aggressive cleansing disrupts the natural balance of your acid mantle-a protective layer supplied by a combination of water and oil that your skin produces. Unless you are working in a very dirty environment you do not need to super power wash your skin. If after cleansing your skin feels tight and in desperate need of moisture immediately after washing, it is time to reassess how and what you are using to wash your face. For those suffering from acne, stop scrubbing and intentionally drying out your skin. You are at risk of your skin producing more oil to get back to that balanced acid mantle.
- Give your skin extra protection and support. Give your skin the support it needs to combat oxidative damage with a potent antioxidant like L-ascorbic acid. This will slow down the accelerated ageing from sun exposure. Always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that is appropriate for you skin type. For those who suffer from redness/rosacea, a chemical free sunscreen is better option. Look for a product that provides a good dose of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
- Feed your skin. You know the expression, “ You are what you eat.”? Skin is an organ and needs nutrients to keep it working in a healthy way. Following a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is recommended. Summer social times usually involve yummy snacks and drinks. Do what you can and enjoy these treats in moderation. Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Hot weather, alcohol and caffeine are all dehydrating and your skin will show it.
- Get a professional facial treatment. The world of skin care is overwhelming. Drug and department stores are full of colourful boxes of products promising the world. Money is wasted on products that are not the right ones for your skin. When you get a facial it is an opportunity for a good skin assessment, a much needed exfoliation and cleansing of your skin and a time to get a personalized skin care regimen recommendation.
- Let go of the idea of “healthy tanning”. We should be thinking of tanning as mild skin damage. Sun exposure does help our bodies produce Vitamin D, but sun exposure to skin can cause damage, even without a burn. Use a sunscreen of spf 30 or higher and be prepared to reapply every 90 min or so. For tanned skin consider a spray tan.
- Don’t forget your hair is affected by the sun. Sun exposure can pull moisture from your strands leaving them dry and prone to breakage, not to mention what it can do to your colour. Consider wearing a hat and using a product that both moisturises and protects. Ask your hair stylists for their recommendation.