Joanna is a proud contributor for DEPARTURES. This article has been reposted from DEPARTURES, click here to view.
As I look out at the city streets these days I am struck with the warmth of the sun and the bright smiles on all the faces I see. Like all of you, I am somewhat desperate for the summer months so I can shed the jackets that have been a wardrobe staple for months and finally feel the sun on my shoulders.
Just like clock work, as that sun becomes brighter and the days become longer, my clients at the salon want a complete refresh on their skincare game to hail what is arguably the best time of year socially, but a very tricky time of year that requires some extra attention.
While everyone wants to feel that Vitamin D penetrating the skin all over, I can honestly say the sun isn’t your skin’s best friend. In fact, inflammation, hyperpigmentation and fine lines are just the beginning of the challenging relationship our bodies have with the sun. So let’s start with some simple basics to keep in mind while we cheer for the summer season.
First, I would encourage you to avoid wearing heavy makeup or foundation on a daily basis. Warmer weather brings in more humidity, thus you are sweating more, so dirt and pollution stick to your skin way more. Even the simple act of walking down a sunny street can trigger inflammation, which can occur from the skin’s temperature rising. Inflammation can lead very quickly to breakouts and hyperpigmentation. Keeping your makeup routine minimal will be easier for the skin to manage.
Next, I would lighten up your skincare routine. People always wonder about serums and here is where they are the hero. Serums are highly concentrated, usually with a focus on active ingredients, that are meant to be more penetrating to the skin. In other words, your skin will absorb a serum and all its good ingredients, without becoming clogged or being too heavy. A gel based serum can hydrate, soothe, nourish and protect the skin and still be light as a feather. Further, using a serum with Vitamin C and other antioxidants can actually protect the skin against the damage the sun can reap. Additionally, serums can be layered. You can use a hyaluronic acid based serum to help hydrate and nourish the skin and then put on a great serum which contains Vitamin C argan oil, green tea or sea buckthorn to help protect the skin. Without anti-oxidants, the prolonged affects of inflammation and direct sun exposure lead to uneven pigment, fine lines, loss of elasticity, wrinkles and a rough skins surface. Protecting your precious collagen is a full time job in the summer and serums are a great way to manage that easily, no matter your skin type or skin tone.
Another skincare switch for summer is you are able to exfoliate more than in winter. Exfoliation can help smooth the skins surface, even out pigment, brighten and keep the pores clean. A good exfoliation will help get the sunscreen out of your pores while preventing breakouts from occurring. I always recommend to clients that they exfoliate twice a week in summer. My personal recommendation is the use of a physical exfoliant; my own Exfoliating Mask, even a clean wash cloth is great for getting all the sunscreen out of your pores. Using a chemical exfoliant in summer is fine, but you need to keep in mind that most chemical exfoliants can make your skin even more sensitive to sun damage.
Now here is one of my non-negotiables: you must always wear sunscreen and in fact you must always reapply sunscreen, even if you are only going in to the office. Make sure your sunscreen is a broad spectrum one that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and please reapply it every two hours if you are outside for the day, or before leaving for lunch and then again before heading home if it's a work day. A sunscreen that I find comes in handy for work days in the SuperGoop (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35. It’s a translucent powder, so it goes over makeup and is the perfect thing to magnify and reapply multiple times a day without clogging the pores.
While we are on the subject of non-negotiables, I would also like to point out that leaving the house with a proper hat and sunglasses also helps in making the skin feel and look better. Having some additional protection from the sun is very effective in protecting the skin against inflammation and redness. I always look for the shade wherever I go- I promise, you still feel warm and happy even when you are more protected from the direct rays of the sun!
Be mindful of using products in summer that would make your skin more sensitized to the sun. Things like peels, retinol, and even services like laser are fine in summer as long as you take steps to protect the skin from being in the direct sun at all times. I remember once I had a client who had recently been recovering from skin cancer surgery. Her dermatologist, a renowned doctor in NYC, told her in no uncertain terms that she was not to even think about doing yoga near a sunny window. Thats the level of care you need to take!
Now, if you have gotten too much sun accidentally, never fear! There are a few easy solutions that can take your skin back to being soft and calm again. First, you want to make sure that you get the skin clean and that it stays that way. If you are red from a sunburn, the last thing you want is to continue the inflammation trend by not washing properly. I would recommend a cleanser with chamomile to calm and hydrate the skin. Next, calm and rehydrate the skin further with a mask containing chamomile, hyaluronic acid, and aloe. The skin is stressed after too much sun. you need to calm it and replenish so the redness disappears by morning. Finally, do not exfoliate overexposed skin. Let it heal before any further intervention.
Summer is filled with fun activities, socializing with friends and exciting travel. Remember, there is not such thing as a healthy amount of prolonged sun exposure when we are talking about what’s best for your skin. While we need to work a bit harder to prevent more breakouts and to minimize sun damage, its rather easy to keep your skin fresh, clean and glowing!