Summer is upon us again so here are six things you can do to stay safe and be kind to your skin. 

Anti-oxidants – stimulate your skin’s collagen production and reduce your chances of burning by using vitamin C serums two to three times a week during the summer months. Foods rich in leafy greens, blueberries, kiwi, sweet potatoes and salmon- also help to decelerate skin cell aging and repair past sun damage. Taking vitamin C with zinc will double up on boosting the skin’s natural immune system too.

Stay hydrated – as well as drinking water make sure to eat plenty of water filled vegetables during the summer months. Cucumbers, asparagus, celery and lettuce are great for added hydration and giving the skin a glow. (See post in Lifestyle/Wellness category titled “Water).

Watch for sun sensitivity – prescription medications can cause some severe re-actions to heat and sun – everything from a painful burn, photo allergic dermatitis and pigmentation – the birth control pill in  particular can cause a type of pigmentation that is extremely resilient to treatment. So check labels for any warnings and consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure. My recommendation is to be a shade hound!

Sun screen application – lots has been written about this topic. As far as formulation goes, current wisdom recommends sticking with zinc, titanium and mineral based sun screens. Other anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients to look for would be aloe, green tea and pomegranate and as already mentioned in this blog, vitamin C. As we all know, a higher SPF does not mean double the protection and can often be irritating. Stick with an SPF 30 and find a texture and weight that suits your skin type. There are now powders as well as cremes and lotions.

Apply sun screen liberally at least 30 minutes before leaving the house and layer twice waiting 15 minutes before second application if possible. This ensures a more thorough covering. Consider any protection contained in make-up a bonus and not a main source of protection. (See this post in Seasonal category titled “Skin Sense on Sun Sense“).

Summer facials – all this extra product causes clogging and congestion so have deep cleansing facials every three weeks during the summer months. Avoid chemical peels, heavy exfoliation and laser treatments during this time. As already mentioned, the heat and sun can cause pigmentation and irritation – the very conditions that these protocols aim to correct. For maximum summer skin care, try oxygen facials. These super-deep cleansing treatments restore hydration and tighten skin tone.

Sunless tanners – using one of the many sunless tanning products is a healthy alternative to the sun and keeps the skin glowing throughout the summer months. Start with a spa visit and then re-apply at home every 2-3 days. Return to the spa for an exfoliation and re-application every month to keep the tan fresh and the skin properly hydrated. Be careful about using these products on the face – they can both dry the skin and stain the pores. Better to use a tinted moisturizer.