Alright Vermonters, let’s talk sunshine. Remember, that magical orb of light that appears for a few balmy months before retiring for the year? I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s finally here. And with that big old ball of joy comes picnics, hikes, swims and… skincare! This winter, I went over some basic changes for a winter skincare routine to implement during the cold months (see Winter Skin Glow article), now for skincare tips. skin in hot weather.
We’ll start where we should, with sun protection. The sun is arguably the most damaging thing our skin is exposed to and yet we so often neglect regular protection. While it’s important to soak up vitamin D and serotonin, it’s equally important to protect our skin from the obvious immediate consequences of sun damage (the “lobster look” will never be good) and the effects deeper in the long term (loss of elasticity, wrinkles, dark spots and maybe even the big “C”). Finding a safe and effective sunscreen is my #1 priority in the summer, but the process of doing so can be downright confusing. Don’t worry, I have you:
Go Minerals or Go Home – Physical barrier sunscreens are wonderful. They don’t rely on potentially harmful chemicals like homosalate, avobenzone and oxybenzone, which can disrupt hormone production, with particularly concerning implications for our growing little ones. Look for sunscreens containing only zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
There is nothing in numbers – SPF ratings can be very misleading. Generally, I recommend keeping it between 30 and 50 (lower won’t give you adequate protection, and higher only provides very slightly better protection).
Don’t Worry – Always, always choose a water-resistant sunscreen in the summer. With sweating, swimming, and generally being active, without a bit of water resistance, you’re going to have to reapply it every 10 minutes, and no one has time for that.
Just like you don’t use the same bar soap on your body as you do on your face, choosing a face-specific sunscreen will really help your skin look (and perform) its best. My personal choice for my body is Badger. Their sunscreens are great for your skin and also reef safe to keep our oceans healthy. I love CocoKind for my face and best of all it is environmentally friendly too.
OK, now that we’re all coated and ready to have some fun, let’s talk about summer skincare. I know it’s easy to freak out on that first hat line breakout, but put the products down. You should actually try to use less product in the warmer months. Your skin is more likely to be inflamed, irritated and oily in the summer, so keeping your daily skincare routine clean and simple is the best thing you can do for it.
Double cleanse daily to get rid of sunscreen, sweat and dirt buildup. Start with an oil cleanser to get a deep clean, then choose a mild cleanser or even goat’s milk yogurt for a second cleanse. Exfoliate weekly with a gentle enzyme; you want to avoid rubbing your skin, letting the enzymes do the work of dissolving and breaking down dead skin cells is much more effective and gentler. Calm and hydrate your skin with a simple hydrosol and nourishing oil. Using an oil to balance your natural oil production (yes, even for oily skin!) leads to fewer breakouts and happy, hydrated skin. For a special treat, masking with raw honey and goat’s milk yogurt feels amazing on stressed summer skin.
A note for you retinol users: It is especially important that you protect your skin as it is more sensitive to the sun. In addition to the diligent application of sunscreen, wear a hat when leaving the shade.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you all to increase that water intake! Your skin (and your beautician) will thank you. Have a nice summer everyone !
Emily MacGregor is an esthetician at Rutland Integrative Health.