the bottom line
it’s officially summer, beauty – at least here in the northern hemisphere. in addition to ice cream, strapless dresses, and long days, summer brings new challenges to our skin. if the thought of changing your skincare routine leaves you feeling hot and sticky, keep cool and read on.
first layer: the science
Warmer weather brings a multitude of changes that can affect our skin, from higher temperatures with bright sun and humidity outside, to the drying effect of air conditioners indoors. But the most critical element of the summer in relation to our skin is the effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from both the sun and man-made sources (including those evil tanning beds that we avoid). We find UV radiation in three flavors:
- UVA rays – “a” is for “aging”. Although these rays have the least energy, they can cause skin cells to age and even some indirect damage to DNA, resulting in wrinkles and some skin cancers. About 95% of UV rays from the sun that reach the ground are UVA rays.
- UVB rays – “b” is for “burn”. With more energy than UVA rays, UVB rays can cause direct damage to DNA and cause sunburns. These are the culprits behind most skin cancers. About 5% of UV rays from the sun are UVB rays.
- UVC rays – these rays have more energy and generally react with the ozone layer. But they’re also found in some man-made sources, including mercury lamps and UV sanitizing bulbs used to kill bacteria.
In addition to skin cancer, UV rays can cause photoaging with pigmentation, fine wrinkles, and coarse skin; eye problems in the form of cataracts and inflammation; and can even weaken the immune system.
second layer: summer layers
Now that we know everything we ever wanted (or didn’t want) to know about UV rays, it’s time think about our summer layers. In general, like clothing, it’s best to keep things light and simple:
- Beauty begins with cleanliness. While we’re usually big fans of the double cleanse, it may be too heavy for your skin during spells of high humidity. Gentle cleansers however are ideal for summer skin.
- Exfoliate regularly, ideally at least twice weekly, to remove dead skin cells and improve the effects of your other skin care products.
- We love toners at any time of year, but especially during the summer. Layer some onto a cotton pad and swipe over your face, or spray onto skin during the day as needed.
- Apply targeted serums for your skin’s needs. In the summer, many of us note the onset of hyperpigmentation. While the best solution to this problem is prevention by staying out of the sun, consider adding a brightening serum to the skin armamentarium at this point.
- Don’t abandon your moisturizer, as it helps to protect the barrier function of your skin.
- Finish with a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply during the day. The brand of sunscreen you use is far less important than actual use - it’s the single best way to protect yourself from skin cancer and limit discoloration and fine wrinkles. Use a teaspoon on your face and neck, and don’t forget your ears.
- And be sure to hydrate, beauty: those higher temperatures can trigger dehydration, so make sure you’re getting at least 6 glasses of water per day. Both body and skin will thank you.
third layer: sunny layers
Enjoy the sun, but keep it safe by staying in the shade, especially from 10 am – 4 pm when UV rays are at their strongest. Protect your skin with clothing that covers your arms and legs, and wear a hat to protect your scalp, face, and neck. Slather sunscreen over every layer that remains exposed. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
Remember that UV rays can get through even on cloudy days, and that they can bounce off of reflective surfaces such as water, sand, snow, and even grass, increasing your exposure.
fourth layer: how we do it
We like to keep it extra simple during those warm summer months. We start our cleanse with our oatmeal cleansing milk to wash away the sweat and dirt of the day. Next up is our lotus flower & rosewater toner, which contains a treasure trove of botanicals including burdock root and gotu kola to tone and refresh while infusing antioxidants to fight damaging reactive oxygen species generated by sun exposure. We finish with our jasmine serum – a light and hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and jasmine absolute to seal in moisture. Lighten up, beauty.
All this and more at www.anokhaskincare.com .
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