Summer Skin Guide
Our Lifestyle & Grooming Editor Lee Kynaston's skin-saving strategies for summer.
You don’t need me to tell you that the sun is bad for your skin. Apart from the skin cancer risks (a dose of sunburn doubles your chances of developing malignant melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer) it’s the prime cause of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
In fact, researchers at University College Hospital in Besançon, France believe the sun could be responsible for up to 95% of the signs of visible ageing.
It’s not just the sun’s burning UVB rays you need to protect yourself against though – its ageing UVA ones are bad news too. In many respects they’re even more dangerous because they can damage the skin’s connective tissue, intensifying the effects of UVB damage and triggering premature ageing.
So if you’re thinking of soaking up some sun make sure you use a sunscreen which offers protection from both kinds of rays. Since it’s a spray it’s easy to use, and is excellent if you have body hair as it isn’t sticky. Great for protecting scalps and bald spots too.
Skin isn’t the only thing to suffer in the sunshine, your hair does too. The sun’s UV rays can damage its cellular structure, robbing it of its protective oils and leaving it dry, porous and susceptible to breakage in the process. Add to this the damaging effects on chlorine and sea salt and you can end up with hair that needs to be bailed rather than styled.
To keep hair in tip top condition protect it with TommyGuns ‘Leave Me In’ Conditioner and Styling Crème which contains a UV filter. Since it’s a leave in conditioner it’s especially good for holidays - you just apply, leave in and hit the beach.
The ultimate weapon against every day sun exposure, moisturisers containing built-in sunscreens are rapidly becoming a grooming must-have. They’re useful because the sun’s ageing UVA rays bombard us all year round, day-in, day-out. They can even penetrate glass.
Using them is easy (you just apply every morning as you would a normal moisturiser) but finding a good one, especially one that doesn’t leave any noticeable residue, can be harder. Not only do they protect from sun damage it also hydrates skin and gives it a little lift too, making it a sound investment, whatever the weather.
Sunburn might be the ultimate skincare no-no (for starters it doubles your chances of developing malignant melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer) but even the best of us get caught out sometimes, especially with the British weather as unpredictable as it is.
If, by chance, you have burnt yourself take painkillers to alleviate the sting, drink plenty of orange juice (to re-hydrate the skin and give damaged cells some antioxidant support) and slather on a good quality after sun lotion.
Milks and lotions are much better than oils (which can trap heat in) and are great for cooling skin, especially if you chill them in the fridge first. Aloe vera is a particularly useful ingredient, too, since studies have shown it’s great for reducing pain and burn size.
A hand-luggage essential, a high-performance moisturiser like Polaar Intensive Face Cream is perfect for combating the dehydrating effects of the air in aircraft cabins, which has a much lower humidity level than the stuff on the ground. Quickly absorbed, it instantly quenches dry skin and forms a protective barrier to guard against further moisture loss. Apply regularly during the flight and you’ll arrive at your destination as fresh-faced as when you took off.
If jet-lag’s a problem and you want to perk-up tired, grey-looking skin use Molton Brown Power-Boost Zinc Anti-Fatigue Hydrator and tackle dark circles and post-travel eyebags with the help of Nickel Energizing Eye Concentrate.
If you’re one of the people familiar with the telltale tingle that heralds a cold sore you’ll know what a (quite literal) pain they can be. Summer is a prime time for outbreaks, too, because sunlight – coupled with the stress of travelling if you’re off on your hols - often lowers the immune system just enough for the herpes virus that causes them to flare up. Any microscopic damage to lips can trigger the virus, too, so keep them conditioned and protected against the sun with Anthony Logistics Natural Lip Balm SPF25 and apply to the lips and just beyond the “vermillion border” which marks the edge of them.
Given that a long, hot British summer is scarcer than home-grown tennis champs it’s as wise to think about cheating when it comes to a confidence-boosting tan. With sunbeds a real no-no (using one under the age of 35 increases your risk of developing malignant melanoma by 75%) the perfect solution is a self-tanner. Today’s “fake tans” are far superior to the ones of yesteryear that left you looking like a tangerine.
Nickel’s Le Grand Bluff gives skin a superbly natural looking facial tan by building up the colour gradually the more you use it. Simply exfoliate skin before applying to ensure even results and to give the DHA (the tanning agent in the product) the best chance to bond with the skin and you’ll be a bronze age man in no time.
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