Lifestyle tips to support great summer skin
When the sun shines in the summer, it’s great to be outside and to ditch the heavy clothing in its warmth. In order to be ready for those heady days and to have (and keep) great summer skin, some adjustments to our winter skincare routines are needed. This article provides lifestyle tips that help you to achieve great summer skin.
How does the summer affect our skin?
In the summer, the sun is stronger, and the weather (hopefully) is hotter and drier. This can lead to skin problems such as dry patches, overactive sebaceous glands, hyperpigmentation patches, sunburn, tanning, blemishes and acne. To prevent or reduce these problems, simple changes to your skincare routine are needed.
Tips to help your skin in summertime
The sun’s UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the skin such as premature aging, fine lines, skin cancer, wrinkles and age spots in addition to providing you with a tan and/or sunburn. Always apply a sunscreen with SPF15+ to all exposed skin and re-apply every few hours. Look for products that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as these act as physical barriers to the sun’s rays in addition to natural herbs, oils and antioxidants. Avoid products with artificial fragrance (listed as parfum), parabens, propylene glycol and mineral oils.
Skin washing and exfoliating
Washing removes dirt, oil and bacteria that may accumulate on the skin. In the summer, sebaceous oil levels can increase leaving the skin feeling greasy. We also shower more frequently which can leave the skin feeling dry. Swap your usual cleansing routine to one that includes a mild, balanced pH and alcohol-free cleanser, limits exfoliation which increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and have cool showers morning and night to remove sweat, dirt and previously applied products.
Moisturising and Makeup
It is important in the summer to keep all your skin moisturised but allow the skin to breathe and sweat (sweating helps to cool the body and remove toxins). Apply after washing/cleansing. Choose non-greasy or gel-based moisturisers. Swap to lighter make-up products too to help your skin breathe, perhaps a tinted moisturiser. Look for products that have antioxidants such as vitamin A, or C and have SPF30 for added protection. Avoid products with artificial fragrance (listed as parfum), parabens, propylene glycol and mineral oils.
Getting enough quality sleep during hot summer nights can be difficult. Sleep is important to prevent skin aging and to improve skin repair and regeneration for better skin barrier function. Swap to a lighter duvet or simply use cotton sheets with thin blankets that you can lift off/add back as needed. Aim to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day to help your body develop it’s sleep routine. Keep your bedroom dark (use blackout blinds) and cool, switch off screens at least an hour before bed.
Regular exercise benefits the skin by improving blood flow which brings more oxygen to the skin cells for healing and renewal, and also increases removal of waste products. Being outside also brings benefits through fresh air and being in nature which are both restorative and good for our mental health. It is recommended that we take 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week plus 1-2 sessions of strength training. This can be divided into shorter sessions, for example 5x30 minutes or even shorted sessions (eg. 3x10minutes x3 per day) to fit in with your daily schedule. Remember to shower/wash and moisturise your skin after a sweaty workout!
Hydration is really important in the summer as we tend to sweat more in the heat. Drinking at least 2.0L of fluids per day in hot weather will help to maintain hydration levels and keep the skin looking great. Pure water is best, infuse with cucumber or lemon or watermelon or herbs for a refreshing change. Herbal teas and foods with high water content such as cucumber, watermelon, celery, strawberries are also useful ways to keep you hydrated. In addition, keeping a spray bottle filled with water to mist your face during hot weather will help your skin to remain hydrated.
Wear breathable fabrics
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing in the heat of summer. This reduces the likelihood of rashes and irritation, caused by sweating and being unable to wick away moisture from the skin.
In summary, you can support optimal skin health during the summer by using natural sunscreens, prioritising good quality sleep, ensuring adequate hydration, exercising and letting your skin breathe by avoiding heavy moisturisers and make-up.
He, H., et al. (2021) Natural components in sunscreens: Topical formulations with sun protection factor (SPF). Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, [online] 134. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3336004/
Khona, M. (2021) How Take Care of Your Skin in Summer (14 Ways To Follow). [online] Available at: https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/summer-skin-care
Lyons, A.B., et al. (2019) Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A review of the Literature. [online] 12(9). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777699/