Summer is great! The sun is shining (usually) everyone’s a bit nicer to one another and the evenings are longer, however, the effect of summer sun, sea and sweat on your skin is as different story and can sometimes leave your skin feeling less than happy. If summer skin woes can be an issue for you, here are some tips to keep those pesky problems at bay.
When temperatures and humidity levels rise, excessive sweating is hard to avoid. The more the body perspires, the easier it is for the sweat glands to become blocked and when dead cells and bacteria get caught up in the process, it leads to a sticky by-product becoming trapped beneath the surface, producing red bumps on the skin. Eventually the bumps burst and release this trapped solution resulting in irritation and that well known prickly or itchy feeling (also known as prickly heat). While most heat rashes tend to disappear after a few days, they can be unsightly and uncomfortable, so to help speed up the healing process, try and keep the skin as cool and ventilated as possible, either by taking cold showers or taking to the shade. A topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help bring down the inflammation along with cold water compresses and calamine lotion. For those who are particularly prone to heat rash, it might be worth considering supplementing your topical SPF with Heliocare Ultra Capsules. These boost the skin’s own natural UV and DNA protection and taking them can help to reduce skin redness and symptoms of prickly heat. Suitable for all skin types, take one capsule a day every morning before sun exposure (available from skinshop.ie). Lastly, a fragrance-free mineral SPF, like Bioderma Photoderm Mineral SPF50+ Spray or Green People Sun Lotion SPF30 will also minimise irritation and antihistamines can help too.
Pimples can happen year-round but throw extra heat, sweat, sunscreen and bacteria into the mix and breakouts become more likely and unfortunately, they’re not just limited to the face – bacne anyone! The best way to combat them when the temperatures rise is to keep the skin as healthy as possible. Ensure pores are clear by using a purifying cleanser, CeraVe Foaming Cleanser is a great non-striping option for oily skin or if skin is particularly bad, try Skingredients Sally Cleanse, a 2% salicylic acid cleanser that will help to clear pores and reduce congestion such as lumps, bumps, whiteheads and blackheads, whilst also encouraging the skin to exfoliate itself. To keep you skin hydrated opt for a hyaluronic acid serum like The Inkey List Hyaluronic Serum or Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum and if you need moisturisation The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factor + HA will give your skin the moisture cushion it needs but won’t be heavy or occlusive. When it comes to SPF, switch to an oil-free mattifying one that won’t aggravate existing blemishes or cause the pores to become even more blocked, try Image Skincare Prevention Daily Matte Moisturiser SPF32. Lastly avoid getting too hot as this causes the body to sweat and sweaty skin can quickly become congested and congested skin is no fun, even if the sun is shining.
One of the downsides of enjoying your time in the sun can be the risk of sunburn, and while new SPF technology makes shielding your skin at the beach or pool easier than ever, sometimes burns happen. No matter how careful you are with your application, areas of the skin can be missed, and you can end up being an angry shade of red at the end of the day. If this happens, keep in mind that speed is key to limit the damage to your skin. Once you’re safely in the shade or back indoors, cool and sooth the skin with a gentle moisturiser or a cool compress. There are various lotions, mousses, creams and gels out there to cool the heat of sunburn, prevent peeling and rehydrate your skin, getting it back to tip-top condition in no time. Aloe vera lotion is great to use on sunburn and contains repairing ingredients that will restore a healthy suppleness before the dreaded dryness and peeling sets in but watch out for gels containing alcohol as these might irritate the sensitive skin even more. Something like La Roche-Posay Posthelios After Sun is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. It combines the French pharmacy brand’s thermal spring water with shea butter to instantly soothe burning sensations and give well needed moisture to the face and body. It won’t clog the pores either. Store in the fridge for the ultimate feeling of relief when applying. Beyond that, hands off! Popping any blisters or exfoliating the peeling skin will just aggravate the area and take longer to heal.
When it comes to summer skin problems an area you might not think about is your bikini line but it’s an area that gets a lot of razor/waxing love during the summer months and with that can come the dreaded ingrown hairs. These not so nice little things happen when hairs have curled round and grown back into the skin which can lead to red, itchy spots and whiteheads. Often minor ingrown hairs can be left alone, and they’ll usually go away without you having to do anything but if the hair is close to the skin and you can see it, try using a sterile tweezers to gently tease it out. However, if it lies deep below the skin’s surface, do not go digging! leave it alone as you could end up pushing the hair deeper into the skin, or you could spread bacteria into the pores triggering an infection. Try something like Skin Doctors Ingrow Go, which does exactly as it says on the bottle (available from beautybay.com €15.99). The formula contains salicylic and glycolic acid, which cleans out and purifies the affected pore and helps dissolve any build-up of dead skin cells from the surface, releasing the trapped hair. It’s also a great anti-inflammatory, so any redness that ingrown hairs bring with them will be reduced. It will also help stop new ones from forming (apply to the skin several days prior to shaving/waxing) and can be used on legs and underarms too. Another tip is to avoid any tight clothing in that area, let your skin breathe and give the ingrown hair a chance to heal — constant rubbing from skin-tight pants is not going to help the situation. Like with heat rash, the use of an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream applied to the irritated area can also work wonders.
Hopefully Summer won’t play havoc with your skin but in the unfortunate instance it does, you’re well prepared!