By Lubna Khan-Salim
Lubna is a surgeon, skin care expert and founder of timetobloom.uk
Summertime brings long, lazy days with a gentler pace and more time spent outdoors. It can also bring changes to our skin. As our body’s largest organ and made of approximately 64% water, it makes sense that hot, humid weather can change how it feels and its appearance. Our skin is also the body’s first line of defence against the elements so spending time on a new summer skincare routine will help keep your healthy-looking glow, whatever the weather.
If there was only one product choice that is vital all year round, then sunscreen is the most important. UVA and UVB rays are harmful all year long but are especially damaging during the summer months when our exposure levels are higher. That's why it's important to focus on sun and heat protection, in addition to maintaining your regular skincare routine. I advocate a liberal application of SPF (ideally factor 50) as the last step in your skincare routine in the morning and just before you apply makeup.
It is advised to use half a teaspoon for the face and neck but this is not the place to skimp, don’t forget often neglected areas such as around the eyes, tops of ears and the back of necks, take the SPF right down to the décolletage and cover the backs of hands too with any excess. It is recommended to top up every 2 hours as the effectiveness of the sunscreen decreases as it works to absorb UV rays, particularly important if you are spending more time than usual outdoors. Products such as the Colorscience Factor 50 mineral powder make it easy to top up and can be used over makeup, so hassle free and easy to carry in your bag. And don’t forget sun protection also means wearing a wide brimmed hat, loose long sleeved clothing and avoiding the strong midday sun.
Warm humid conditions can be problematic for those with oily skin as the heat can lead to a spike in sebum production. This can give skin a shiny appearance often made worse by increased perspiration. An enemy to oily skin can be the humble air-conditioning we often crave in the heat; it can encourage skin to produce more sebum in an attempt to restore balance. Whilst the temptation maybe to use harsh oil stripping scrubs and exfoliators to dry the skin, this will again only exacerbate oiliness. So instead reach for both astringent and hydrating ingredients to restore balance. Start with a thorough cleanse to remove dirt, pollution, makeup and sunscreen and then follow with a toner containing ingredients such as witch hazel to restore balance. Hydrating serums containing hyaluronic acid are a great hot weather choice as not only are they lightweight but they also rapidly absorb without burdening the skin with a heavy layer under your SPF.
On the opposite scale, dry skin is more associated with the colder months but it’s not uncommon to experience dryness and dehydration as perspiration, air conditioning, humidity and chemicals in swimming pools can result in moisture sapped tight feeling skin. To combat this, I recommend a daily routine that is focussed on moisturising as every step. Starting with a gentle cream-based cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin and then using hyaluronic based serums before applying a moisturiser to help restore parched skin.
Finally, no matter your skin type, adequate hydration through drinking and eating your water are vital during the hot summer months. Food that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish, walnuts and chia seeds can help boost moisture from within. Avoid hot baths or showers as hot water can also strip the skin of natural oils, similarly a moderate approach to air conditioning will also help avoid dehydrated skin.
If you are in search of personalised advice, you can always get in touch for a consultation to receive bespoke tailor-made suggestions.
Enjoy the summer.