It’s official! Yes, summer has finally arrived, bringing with it the opportunity to cast an appraising eye over our bulging closets and pack away our winter wardrobe. You wouldn’t wear the same clothes all year round. But many people forget their skin needs to wear lighter layers in warmer weather too. Now is the perfect time to evaluate your summer skincare regime. This is when you can introduce some new products in pursuit of complexion perfection.
A fresh start
It all begins with exfoliation. After all, this is the perfect way to give your skin a fresh start for summer and put your best face forward. Put simply, exfoliation means the removal of the dry/dead cells on the surface of your skin. You can do this mechanically (for example, by using a special scrub or brush) or chemically (with peels or other acid products, such as AHAs or BHAs).
The skin’s natural exfoliation process slows down as we age. As a result, an accumulation of cells can clog the complexion, leaving it looking dull and grey. Exfoliation not only removes these cells, it also increases blood circulation. This way, it will reveal healthy, glowing skin and allow topical products to penetrate better and therefore work more effectively.
How you exfoliate and how often depends on your skin type and sensitivity. So it’s worth experimenting until you find what works for you. Many people combine both methods for summer skincare, using a physical scrub once or twice a week, and an gentle exfoliating acid toner every day.
To kick-start the process now, it’s worth investing in a specialist aesthetic treatment such as HydroPlus Microdermabrasion (sometimes described as exfoliation with superpowers!). A professional treatment like this effectively removes dead skin cells and daily build-up, unblocks pores and prevents congestion. HydroPlus even includes a selection of specially formulated serums, to rejuvenate skin and deliver a fresh, youthful glow.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Many people mistakenly think that you don’t need to moisturise skin in summer. But just like the rest of you, skin gets thirsty when it’s hot. So make sure you don’t skimp on the hydration. That said, you can set aside your rich, winter moisturising cream for your summer skincare regime. Instead, treat your skin to something lighter and fresher in the heat. Clinique’s Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturiser is the perfect summer pick. This oil-free multitasking moisturiser helps to blur imperfections while providing day-long hydration. It also delivers a matte finish to combat sweaty shine and it’s lightweight enough for touch-ups during the day.
Pack on the protection
Sun protection is a must, every day. Sorry, there are simply no exceptions. We tend to be a bit better at this during the summer months. But the reality is we should all wear sunscreen every day, even in the winter. Sun damage and skin cancer are caused by ultraviolet rays, and they are present every day, throughout all seasons, regardless of the weather. So don’t be fooled by clouds or cooler temperatures.
There are literally thousands of sunscreens to choose from! So make sure you know that what you’re buying will do what you need it to. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This is basically a measure of how long your sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays – the principal cause of sunburn and skin damage. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate more deeply into the skin and play a greater role in premature ageing. So make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects you from both.
Above all, choose your SPF wisely! Many people incorrectly think that an SPF50 is twice as effective as an SPF25, but that’s not quite how it works. As a general guide, SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB radiation; SPF30 blocks almost 97% of UVB radiation; and SPF50 blocks around 98%. That difference might seem minimal, but over a lifetime it all adds up. Whichever factor you use, there are two golden rules: apply liberally, and reapply regularly.
Avoiding mosquito misery
We all love those long, lazy summer evenings, enjoying al fresco suppers in the garden and staying up late on holiday. Unfortunately, mosquitoes like to do the same, and when they dine on us, they leave our skin covered in unsightly, itchy red lumps and bumps.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Some studies suggest that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours, so wearing light coloured clothing (with sleeves and long legs) might offer some protection. But your best bet to add to your summer skincare regime is to wear an insect repellent. Those that contain the chemical DEET are considered the most effective, but there are natural alternatives such as citronella products. Just make sure you apply your insect repellent of choice after, not before, applying sun cream. And while it sounds obvious, make sure everything has dried thoroughly before you get dressed, or it’ll just rub off.
If the worst happens and you do get bitten, try not to scratch – easier said than done, we know! Wash the area gently; put an ice pack or cube on the affected area to reduce the swelling; apply calamine lotion or an anti-itch cream; and take an antihistamine. To camouflage the redness, use a green-tone concealer. NYX Professional Makeup’s version is perfect – and a complete steal at just £6!