With the triple threat of heat, humidity and the blazing sun, summer can take serious toll on your skin. Adding fuel to the fire Ramadan’s rich diet with fried sambosa’s, spring rolls and dates can spike your insulin levels leading to increased production of skin oils. Increased sweating and oil production both lead to blocked pores causing acne flare ups along with textural and pigment related skin issues. To keep our skin at its optimal during summer we all need to adjust our skincare routine along with adding some preventive measures to counter act the weather triggered changes.
Here’s your timely peek at what I recommend during my summer skincare consults in my derma practice.
Foremost Golden Tip -- Sunscreens and antioxidants should be a part of every one’s routine regardless of skin type. Actually in my opinion nothing is more important than wearing sunscreen (ideally, SPF 30) every day. In addition protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats that shield your face should be a part of your summer skin care routine. I also always recommend oil free products like Perfect Reflection from AminoGenesis, which are packed with antioxidants to counteract free radicals created by the UV rays. In addition to topical antioxidants, oral antioxidants such as Vitamin C, CoQ10, and foods high in antioxidants such as pomegranate and blueberries play a huge role in skin health. We now know that ingested antioxidants reduce inflammation, reduce free radicals and there is emerging data that they may even help stop pigmentation of the skin.
Daily Skincare -- People with normal & dry skin should avoid harsh foaming cleansers, which remove hydrating lipids from the skin. Hot water should also be avoided and humidifiers are often helpful when living in air-conditioned environment 24/7. I also recommend using a light moisturizer application, after every wash preferably ones containing ceramides, amino acids or humectants, which will pull water into the skin. Propylene glycol, urea, panthenol, lactic acid are all examples of humectants and amino acids are skin’s own natural moisturizing factors.
For people with oily skin, goal should be to reduce sebum production with retinoids such as Retin-A or Differin Gel and to unclog pores with retinoids, alpha and beta hydroxy acids. Oral contraceptives also come in handy to keep hormonal acne flare ups admixed with hot weather under control. Severe acne cases should see a dermatologist and inquire about Isotretinoin course.
To avoid permanent damage and scarring acne extractions should be avoided. Manipulating the skin to extract blemishes damages the skin, increases inflammation and increases the likelihood of scarring.
Hydrate Your Skin On The Go -- Spritz on thermal spring water like Avene Eau Thermale, it will hydrate and replenish the mineral loss due to sweating through your skin. Natural minerals in spring water keep the skin calm and make your skin look dewy too.
Exfoliation -- Can remove oil and debris from the surface of the skin and unclog pores. This can help decrease the levels of Propionibacterium Acnes (bacteria that causes acne flares) on your skin. Trick to get maximum benefit from an exfoliation session is to keep your skin well moisturized afterwards along with use of antioxidants.
You can try at home exfoliation once or twice a week with Clarisonic or Braun exfoliation brushes or by using products with alpha or beta hydroxy acids. I recommend Gamma Hydroxy Cream from Skin Doctors to be used at night daily or 3 times a week if your skin is sensitive. Retin-A 0.25% cream also works well to rejuvenate and exfoliate if used 2-3 times per week at night.
Professional exfoliation as an in-office salicylic acid peel twice a month is my mainstay. It clears up dulling, dead skin cells, which not only helps even out any discoloration but also draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny. Alternatively if you have sensitive skin use a 30% Glycolic acid peel twice a month it also clears out the pores, kills bacteria inside, and slows oil production and tighten the look of the pores.
Prickly Heat -- In most cases heat rashes clear up on their own taking few days if the affected area is kept cool and dry. The effort required on your part should be to keep your body cool in an air-conditioned room or with use of a fan, alternatively take cool showers or baths and let your skin air-dry. Once the skin is cool and dry, don't use any type of oil-based product, which might block your sweat glands.
To help prevent heat rash, avoid situations that can lead to excessive sweating, such as hot, humid environments. Avoid strenuous exercise when it is very warm. In hot weather, stay indoors and stay cool. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting cotton clothes. Drink plenty of fluids to cool the body and to keep hydrated. Avoid using oils or heavy moisturizers on your skin that can lead to pore blockage.
Sun Burn -- In case you were careless and got burnt by sun accidently first thing you need to remember is, it's all about getting the inflammation down as soon as possible to curb damage in the skin and to calm redness. To take the sting out of the burn soak a facecloth in a bowl of skimmed milk and ice and apply it to the area for five to ten minutes. Take aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and discomfort and apply hydrocortisone cream twice daily to reduce inflammation.
Globe Trotting During Summer -- Most people travel during summer and the altered skincare routines during travel can compound above mentioned skin related problems leading to out of control bad skin all summer long. Now that you’re wiser to the effects of hot weather on your skin revamp your skincare routine and sit pretty enjoying healthy skin all summer long.