As temperatures begin to rise, you may be thinking about rehauling your skincare routine and swapping out some of the products in your cupboard in favour of others. Along with the much welcomed sun can come the unwelcomed oily skin and harsher UV rays. As our bodies naturally become increasingly more dehydrated due to the sunshine, our skin can often pay the price without us realising.
With an abundance of lotions, potions and SPF’s on the market, the contents of these products is, much of the time, unknown. So what changes should we actually be making to embrace a summery, glowy complexion?
This week, we spoke with consultant Dermatologist and skin wellness expert, Dr Alia Ahmed, to bring you a Dermatologist approved summer skincare routine, so that you can keep your skin healthy and protected throughout the summer months.
Here are the top tips that we learnt:
1. Wear SPF 50 - Sun protection factor (SPF) directly measures protection against sunburn caused by UV B rays. A SPF 20 sunscreen means that it absorbs 95% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 product can block 98%.A practical example is that if you take 10 minutes to burn in the sun, SPF 20 increases that 20 times to result in sunburn of the same intensity (so 200 minutes), SPF 50 increases that 50 times (500 minutes). Don't forget to apply to the lips as well!
2. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when in the sun. About 1/4 to 1/2 of people studied do not apply sunscreen adequately, so they are not receiving the right level of protection.
3. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin D through the skin. The amount of sun exposure required for this to occur safely without increasing the risk of sun damage is difficult to quantify. To ensure adequate vitamin D levels, diet and supplements are good sources. Vitamin D fortified foods include yoghurts, margarine and cereals, oily fish is naturally rich in vitamin D.
4. Infrared radiation penetrates deeper than UVA rays to cause sun damage and aging by producing free radicals. Antioxidants may counteract this, but importantly they do not offer protection against UVA (implicated in skin ageing) or UVB (implicated in skin cancer). I recommend layering your sunscreen over the antioxidant serum. Antioxidants can also be incorporated into your diet, for example citrus fruits, green and leafy vegetables, green tea, nuts, and wholegrains.
5. UVA can penetrate window glass and penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB.UVB rays damage the top layers of your skin, causing sunburn. Both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer. UVA radiation is associated with skin ageing. It breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin and leads to wrinkles, leathery skin and pigmentation. UVA protection in a sunscreen will help defend the skin against photo ageing and potentially skin cancer. Check the level of UVA cover in your sunscreen. Make sure it gives you broad-spectrum or UVA protection (4 and above).The safest method is to apply sunscreen daily as part of your skincare routine (either last or just before make-up), regardless of whether you plan to be outdoors or not. Your skin will thank you!
6. If you enjoy the look of a tan or sunkissed skin, as many people do, self-tanning can deliver the same psychological boost without the dangerous UV exposure of sunbathing. Do a patch test first!
7. If you are considering a self-tanning product, look for a hydrating and easily absorbed formulation that also nourishes your skin.
8. To protect your skin from premature ageing caused by the sun, limit the time spent in the sun, avoid the intense hours (11am-3pm), wear protective clothing, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 50, wear sunscreen all year round!
10. Vitamin C is a hero ingredient for the summer, it prevents hyperpigmentation, signs of premature aging and boosts collagen production. I like to apply it after washing my face in the morning before sunscreen.
11. Skin refreshing mists are great in hot weather, get the most benefit for your skin out of these products my looking for mists with actives like antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and CBD.
12. Hydrate skin with hyaluronic acid instead of using heavy moisturisers during the summer months.