For most of us, summer means hard work with the added drawback of looking out the window, wishing we were outside enjoying the sunny day. If we get lucky, we may find ourselves catching some sun on a beach down South for a weekend or, if we're extra lucky, getting away for a week someplace that doesn't suffer from weather conditions that seem to change by the flip of a switch. Sun-kissed cheeks, playful freckles, acne-free skin... You can get the summer goddess look with some easy tips and tricks for your skincare routine - your healthy summer glow will add a little bit of happiness come the dreary autumn weather.
Skip the tanning salon
If you’re looking for that added summer tint on your skin or have difficulty tanning, it can be tempting to hit the tanning salon. Unfortunately, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlamps and tanning beds poses serious health risks. A tan is indeed the skin’s reaction to exposure to UV rays: the skin acts in self-defence by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. Over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer. Our advice: using a tinted cream can be a good way to add a bit of colour to make you look like you’ve just spent a weekend at the beach without going unnaturally dark.
The cornerstone of any skincare routine is exfoliating your skin. As your body sheds skin cells every day, it can make your skin look dull and tired if it doesn’t get scrubbed off, independent of how much lotion you use. Exfoliate your face and neck in circular motions no more than twice a week - avoid over-exfoliating, as it increases your skin’s sensitivity to sun and can lead to dryness and inflammation. Opt for a gentle foaming exfoliator, and avoid using acid exfoliator (whether it be glycolic, salicylic or lactic) a few days before spending extended time periods in the sunshine. Furthermore, scrubbing away dead skin cells will expose your delicate skin to the sun, which brings us to our next point:
Use sun cream
As your delicate skin is exposed to the intolerant sun, ensure to wear sun cream that has components that protect against UVA and UVB rays: the former penetrate the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer, and cause premature skin aging, while the latter burn the top layers of skin and can lead to skin cancer. Ideally, you should use a full teaspoon of sun cream on your face every single day 30 minutes and right before you go out, and if you’re spending time in the sun, reapply it every 1-2 hours. Opt for chemical-free sun creams with zinc oxide, which are suitable for every skin type and don’t cause breakouts.
Drink plenty of water
During the hot summer months, our bodies sweat more heavily, thus putting you at risk of dehydration, which will also show on your skin. While dry skin is a skin type characterised by lack of oil, dehydrated skin lacks moisture, i.e. water. According to the International Dermal Institute, even oily skin can become dehydrated, meaning that your skin may still appear shiny. Dehydrated skin is generally characterised by dullness, sensitivity, tightness, roughness, flaking or scaling, and the appearance of fine lines or premature wrinkles. To avoid dehydration, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and, if possible, take a sip at least once every half-an-hour.
Go easy on the makeup
When it comes to wearing makeup in summer, less is definitely more. If using foundation, ensure to apply face powder with SPF to avoid tanning unevenly. Protect your lips with an SPF 15 lip balm, and skip eye makeup altogether.
There’s a common misconception that with the increase in heat and humidity during the hottest months of the year, moisturiser can be skipped - that’s a myth! Using a daily moisturiser is essential to keep it thoroughly conditioned. If you find that your skin gets oilier in warmer temperatures or is prone to acne, opt for a light oil-free moisturiser with zinc oxide which will keep your pores unclogged - just remember to check it has SPF.
Treat yourself to a face mask or facial
Regardless of your skin type, summer heat is a stressful experience for your skin. If you have oily skin, you’ll want to get rid of excess oil; for women with dry skin, hydration is the number one priority; those with sensitive skin have to combat heat-induced redness. In any case, a weekly face mask or a relaxing facial will give your stressed skin a bit of tender loving care. Opt for a clay mask if you need help with oil absorption and clogged pores, reach for a cream mask to moisturise dry patches, and choose a gel mask to reduce redness.
Stock up on vitamin C
UV rays aren’t fully blocked by your sun cream, so opt for vitamin C-rich foods or even look for a serum containing this antioxidant. Vitamin C helps even out your skin tone, stimulates collagen production, smooths out fine lines and builds your skin’s ability to protect itself against sun damage. Foods rich in vitamin C include leafy greens, citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, berries, bell peppers and peas.