IS YOUR SKIN ALLERGIC TO SUMMER?
You’ve lost a few pounds, bought your new summer clothes and applied your fake tan. But instead of flaunting a fresh faced glow, your skin breaks out. You’re not alone. It’s estimated that at least one in five of us will end up with a skin problem during the summer months. From blemishes to broken blood vessels, rashes to sunspots, the warm weather can wreak havoc on our complexions when damaging UV rays, pore-clogging humidity and certain products exacerbate problems. Here’s what you can do to prevent and treat those pesky skin issues
Adult acne, spots and blemishes are usually the main problem in humid weather, when skin can become excessively oily. Even if you usually don’t break out, you might suffer spots caused by the heat, which triggers excess oil and sweat to mix with the existing dirt and bacteria on your face. If you’re applying sunscreen and not using the right formula, or overloading your skin with too many products, your pores can also clog causing more spots. Bottom and back acne is often a problem mainly caused from sitting around in wet swimwear.
What you can do: Use a sunscreen that is non comedogencic or oil free – try La Roche Posay Anthelios AC Anti Shine Matte Fluid SPF30 (£12.00 boots.com) Wipe your skin in between applications with a wipe – try Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes £3.99, great for handbags/beach bags to gently lift away any excess grease, impurities and unclog pores. Cleanse skin thorough (boots.com) night and morning – try Nip + Fab Glycolic Cleansing Fix £7.95. Don’t sit around in wet swimwear and exfoliate skin at lease twice a week. A professional salicylic or glycolic peel once a fortnight (from £60) will also help remove any dead skin cells and draw out excess oil from the pore as well as slow oil production. Don’t wear certain acne preparations in the sun: UV rays, triggering irritation, can alter benzoyl peroxide products.
Hot weather, sweat and lying on damp towels can trigger a fungal infection where the yeast that naturally lives on your skin overpopulates and releases an enzyme that causes patches of discoloured skin. It’s most often seen on the back, upper arms, chest and neck
What you can do: See a pharmacist or ask your doctor to check the skin and to prescribe an anti fungal medicine that is applied to the skin or taken orally. Applying over the counter dandruff shampoos over the affected areas in the shower every day is another simple but effective option but be warned, the discolouration can take months to disappear and can return in warm weather.
You’ve religiously applied sunscreen, but somehow you’ve got sunburn. Perhaps you missed a spot or maybe you didn’t reapply often enough especially after swimming and now your skin looks red and feels hot to touch.
What you can do: First get out of the sun and if you feel faint or dizzy seek medical help. Get the inflammation down as soon as possible. Take a cool bath /shower to stop skin burning and to calm redness. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Use plenty of moisturiser – keep it in the fridge to keep it cool and reapply every few hours. Soak a facecloth in a bowl of chilled skim milk and ice and apply to the area for five to ten minutes. The fats and protein in milk will soothe sunburn by creating a protective film over the skin. After the redness has eased, and to ward off any potential sun damage apply a topical antioxidant to the area daily containing vitamin C and E – try Origins High-potency Night-A-Mins Skin Renewing facial oil (£35 origins.co.uk) which contains both cushioned in plants oils. In future try ‘ preloading’ your sunscreen by massaging in every night over your body for two to three weeks ahead of a holiday. Research shows that the sunscreen builds up in the skin’s stratum corneum making it less likely to burn
Brown Spots /Pigmentation
The appearance of those tiny brown pigments means you’re damaging your skin to some degree, usually because of unprotected sun exposure. Larger brown patches, (melasma,) can also occur on your cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin if you’re exposed to too much sun (especially if you’re on birth control).
What you can do: You can help prevent them by wearing a sunscreen with a minimum SPF30 every day. Pigmentation/melisma can be exacerbated by light so ensure your sunscreen contains zinc oxide which reflects light – try UltraSun Face SPPF30 (£20 from most chemists) Strengthen your skin’s defence by using sunscreen with a Vitamin C serum – research has shown that it not only gives your skin extra protection against the sun, it also acts as a skin lightener,” try Super Facialist by Una Brennan Glow Boost Serum (£15.99 superfacialist.co.uk) At home you can try a skin-lightening product. Try M&S Formula Advanced Skin Solutions Neurolight Dark Spot Correcting Intense Serum (£19.50) which promises to reduce pigmentation and dark spots in four weeks. At the clinic, laser resurfacing destroys pigment in the epidermis to eliminate discolouration and help restore your skin to its original tone and texture. Sunscreen must be worn after treatments From £ 250 depending on area to be treated
Broken Blood Vessels/Spider Veins
Continued exposure to harmful UV rays can cause your blood vessels to rise to the surface and even burst. They can be red, blue or purple and often develop in clusters, like little spider’s webs, hence the name.
What you can do: Always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF30 when you’re exposed to the sun to keep more broken blood vessels from cropping up. To conceal broken blood vessels, use a cover concealer – try Amazing Concealer (£19.50 marksandspencer.com) which comes in ten shades and is water resistant. Also include more Omega 3 in your diet (find it in salmon and tuna). Medik8 Red Alert Redness Calming Serum (£29 dermacaredirect.co.uk) contains Teprenone an anti –redness ingredient. At the clinic, a course of IPL can zap and shrink blood vessels in one or two treatments. From £120 depending on area to be treated.
This sun allergy occurs from certain chemicals in citrus juice or perfume that are hypersensitive to UV light.
When the sun’s rays hit the juice or perfume on your skin, it causes a chemical reaction which turns skin it brown. This can even lead to itching and burning.
What you can do: Wash your hands after touching any citrus fruit and skip wearing perfume when you’re in direct sunlight. See a doctor who can prescribe oral or topical medications to treat the pigmentation.
Prickly Heat/Heat Rash
When the temperature and humidity levels rise a heat rash, (miliaria rubra), can occur when sweat is trapped making the skin inflamed and itchy.
What you can do: Cool skin with a tepid shower and wash with a gentle cleanser – try Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash, (£15.99 cetaphil.co.uk) a soap free foaming wash that cleanses while avoiding irritation Exfoliate daily with a gentle body scrub – try Melvita Extra Gentle Body Scrub (£16 melvita.com) To reduce inflammation, apply a topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to irritated areas for three to four days. If that doesn’t help see your doctor for a prescription strength medicine. Use a body lotion containing aloe vera to help soothe skin- try Soltan Soothing Aftersun Gel with Aloe (£3.50 boots.com)
The chemical ingredients in sunscreens, combined with UV light, heat and sand, can easily irritate sensitive skins.
What to do PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) and Benzophe-none-3 are two of the most common sensitivity-triggers in sunscreens; Irritation is far less likely with physical blocks – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not bind with skin cells. Look for the ranges designed for sensitive skin or try Ladival Sun Protection SPF 30 ((£10.00 boots.com) which helps prevent prickly heat and sun allergies. If you’re trying a new product, carry out a D-I-Y patch test apply a small blob of sunscreen to the inside of your elbow or side of your neck each day for three days and if you experience any redness/stinging/itchiness, abandon that product.