Summer means sun, shorts, sandals, bathing suits and bronzed skin. But with beach hair and less clothing comes the dangers associated with too much or unprotected sun exposure. No one wants signs of sun damage or pre-mature ageing; so, taking preventative measures to prepare and care for your skin to keep it in tip-top condition is crucial. We have complied a list of useful tips to ensure that you protect your skin for the ultimate skin-baring season.
- Keep an eye on your moles!
We are all aware of the association between moles, sun damage and skin cancer. Radiation from repeated sun exposure can damage existing moles, increasing their risk of becoming cancerous.
It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if they:
- Change shape or look uneven
- Change colour, get darker or have more than 2 colours
- Start itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
- Get larger or more raised from the skin
Mr Ullas Raghavan, our Consultant Facial Surgeon says, “It’s really important to get your moles assessed. You’re at higher risk of developing a malignant melanoma if you have pale skin, lots of moles or freckles, a history of sunburn or a family history of skin cancer. I always advise my patients to apply SPF 50 every day during the summer, sunny or not! Overexposure to UV rays from the sun and sunbed use are the main causes of skin cancer.”
- Apply sunscreen religiously
You hear it all the time for good reason. It’s the only way to protect and prevent long-term damage to the skin. Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to leaving the house to allow your skin to absorb the product; re-apply every hour or as needed. Keep in mind that a high SPF number is no longer just enough – you need to look for sunscreens that offer protection against both UVA & UVB rays. You should also moisturise with SPF. This should be done all year round, but especially in summer. With the onset of warmer weather, consider switching your current favourite for another with higher SPF and lighter formulation to prevent sunspots, freckles and early signs of ageing. Signs of sun damage can come in many different forms including:
- Age spots
- Uneven pigmentation
- Melasma (brown or grey patches of skin)
- Fine lines
- Broken blood vessels/veins
- Dry and flaky skin
- Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliation is the key to brighter and smoother skin, especially when you have suffered from sun burn. It is important to remove the dulling, damaged skin debris and piled up dead cells. This debris prevents the skin from breathing and can congest the skin. Exfoliate with a natural home remedy, like coffee grounds mixed with oil and sea salt. Remember that exfoliation is required for your entire body and not just your face. You should, however, make sure to be gentle while exfoliating your skin. You should ensure that you don’t over-exfoliate your skin as it can cause bruising and rashes. If you have sensitive skin you should opt for mild exfoliators.
- Cut down on the makeup
Summer means that you should ease up on the makeup. Wear minimal facial makeup to allow the skin to breathe better. Humidity and heat suppress the skin’s ability to breathe and can heat up the makeup making it easier to sink into your pores. Putting makeup over damaged, sunburned skin can also irritate it further. Try to avoid anything heavy on the face such as foundations and powders. Try a tinted moisturiser or tinted lip balm, to give your skin some rest.
- Don’t forget to hydrate.
Hydration is always important for our skin, but even more so in the summer. Aim for eight glasses of water a day, which will have great results when it comes to your skin. Hydration can also help skin recover after a sunburn. Sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.