By Aparna Mele MD
Yes, the skin does change with the seasons. Winter brings dry weather that strips the skin of its natural moisture and causes scaly, itchy skin. Humidity during summer can lead to bacterial infections due to sweat, clogged pores and acne breakouts. Air conditioning in summer and heaters in winter can both dehydrate the skin. So each season comes with its set rules of skincare. Your skin requires extra attention and care during summer. With a few simple steps like cleansing and moisturizing, staying hydrated and using sunscreen, you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and heat. Let us know if our tips worked for you.
As the weather gets warmer and humidity increases in the environment, your skin’s sebaceous glands start producing excess sebum (natural oil). The oil secreted gets stuck on the surface of the skin, leading to stickiness, grease and blocked pores. Acne breakouts are the most common problem that occur in summer. When your skin is exposed to the harmful UV rays, melanin production increases in order to protect your skin from sun damage. Melanin has photoprotective qualities. Excess melanin results in darker, tanned skin. Other problems can include itchy skin, prickly heat, sunburn and rash due to sensitivity to the sun. Prevent breakouts and minimize sun damage during the summer months
How to Take Care of Your Skin in Summer?
1. Lighten up the skin care routine
If you aren’t wearing a winter coat, why should your skin have to? The heat and humidity of summer means you can swap out a heavier cream or oil-based cleanser for a gentle foaming option instead. Avoid heavy makeup, which prevents the skin from breathing in conjunction with the heat and humidity. Instead of heavy foundation, consider using a tinted lip balm and tinted moisturizer.
In summer, oily skin can just get oilier. Use a face wash suited to your skin type that can deep cleanse and remove all the dirt and grime. People with dry skin would need a non-foaming cleanser. Opt for mild, alcohol-free and pH balanced cleansers. Summer is a good time to sough away old dead skin cells. Incorporating gentle exfoliation into your skin care can help, especially alpha-hydroxy acid pads to open up blocked pores and remove oils that result in acne, plus are soothing on stressed out summer skin. Maintain a skin care regimen and follow it religiously. Choose gel-based (for dry skin) and water based (for oily skin) rather than cream-based products as the former are lighter and non-greasy. A good toner can be effective in closing opened pores. The maximum number of sebaceous glands are found on the T-zone of the face. To prevent sweat and oil from clogging these pores, use an aloe vera or cucumber-based toner as they are lighter.
Cleansing, toning and moisturizing twice a day will help keep your face clean and fresh.
3. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Hydration is key at all times during summer. The extra layer of sweat on your face does not count. Moisturizers reestablish the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin which protects the deeper layers from harmful pollutants and chemicals and prevents further irritation and dryness. Thicker moisturizers can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, and acne, plus give a very heavy feeling to the face during the hotter months. To help lighten things up, switch to a combination moisturizer with sunscreen in the summer, aiming for SPF of 30 or higher. You can use a hydrating face mask after you wash your face at night for some extra hydration while you sleep. Splash your face frequently with water or carry a facial mist to freshen your skin at regular intervals. Use a moisturizing under eye gel and a lip balm with SPF under your lipstick.
4. Use vitamin C serum
Vitamin C is essential year round for good skin health but especially in the summer, as it helps prevent hyperpigmentation, improve the appearance of fine lines, and can help with collagen production. Layer a few drops on your skin between cleansing and moisturizing.
5. SPF forever
The sun’s Uv-A and B rays are harsh and damaging. Beyond giving you a stubborn tan, they lead to premature aging, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. A solid sunscreen with SPF 3-50 is critical in the summer months for all skin types on all exposed skin, whether you are indoors or outdoors. Don’t forget to regularly reapply every 2 hours or so. Avoid long periods in the sun, wear sun protective clothing, wide brim hats, and sunglasses.
6. Hydrate and nourish your body
Your water intake in summer should be a minimum of 2-3 litres a day. Coconut water, watermelons, and fresh juices are a good way to stay hydrated. Drinking water also helps to flush the toxins from the body. Include yogurt and buttermilk in your diet. Include salads and vegetables like cucumber and lettuce in your food – these help the body stay cool from within. Seasonal fruits like watermelons, musk melons; citrus fruits and juices also help keep the skin healthy. Sugary carbonated drinks make you feel sluggish due to the excess sugar. Additionally, they don’t add any nutritive value and and are dehydrating, plus make you gain weight!
7. Wear Breathable Fabrics
Cotton is the best fabric to wear during summer. Wear light and loose clothing and avoid tight fitting garments in synthetic fabrics. These can increase your discomfort and make you sweat more, which in turn makes the skin itchy and can lead to infections.
Maintaining good hygiene is essential all year long, especially during summer. A cool bath in the night before you go to bed can help remove all the dirt, grime and sweat your body has accumulated during the day and prevent rashes. But limit bathing and showering to a few minutes as too long a shower or bath can lead to over-drying of the skin, especially with hot water, and this can lead to inflammation and summertime eczema. Of course, always follow your morning shower and a night bath, with a cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine.