When you dream about your skin in summer, you might envision it being tanned, smooth and glowing, but the reality can be somewhat different as you tackle the risk of sweat, sunburn and premature ageing due to the sunny conditions. In a panic, you might think you need to completely overhaul your winter skincare routine, bringing in an array of new products to fix the problems you now face, but as explained by Dr Stefanie Williams, dermatologist, the devil is in the detail when it comes to perfect summertime skin.
- Make small changes
“Just like you wouldn’t wear winter clothes in summer, you might want to tweak your skincare products going into the summer season. If during the winter you used gentler cream cleansers and more hydrating moisturisers on your skin to counteract the drying winter climate and central heating, you may now want to change back to more thorough foaming cleansers and more light-weight moisturisers.”
- Summer skincare starts in winter
“Saying that, more often than not, my patients continue to use the same (optimal) skincare routine throughout the year, as healthy skin should be able to adjust to the changing climate without majorly changing your skincare routine.
“It’s important to give the skin a chance to adjust itself, rather than being overprotective and doing all the hard work for it by using overly rich skincare in winter. Over-caring for your skin by plastering on too heavy skincare, unless you suffer with genetically dry and eczema-prone skin, may make the skin ‘lazy’ (for lack of a better word) and dull. So, don’t wrap your skin in cotton wool. See whether it may adjust naturally, which will take a few weeks.”
- Sun protection, sun protection, sun protection
“I always recommend using sun protection all year around. The reason for this is that while the burning UVB rays are much weaker in winter, the skin ageing UVA rays don’t fluctuate as much throughout the seasons. My recommendation is to wear an SPF30-50 to slow down the ageing process and keep your skin in optimal condition long-term. However, should you have down-graded your SPF (or even worse, not used one) in the winter, then now is certainly the time to go back to daily SPF – no excuses.”
- Avoid burning at all costs
“Avoid getting burned at any cost! For fair skin types, even tanning is a sign of sun damage on a cellular level, so if you are fair, don’t aim for a tan. If despite thorough protection, you manage to get burned, oral antihistamines and a topical hydrocortisone cream can be helpful, but speak to your doctor first.”
- Break-up with moisturiser
“A good SPF will moisturise your skin at the same time as protecting it, so usually there is no need for an additional moisturiser in the summer unless you have very dry skin. In that case, you could layer a light-weight hyaluronic acid serum underneath your SPF.”
Having a good dermatology grade facial after your summer holiday is important as well, as the outer ‘horny’ layer of the skin naturally thickens when exposed to the sun. This means that, after returning from your holiday, you will have a tendency for clogged pores and breakouts, so exfoliation and extraction are key.”
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