Summer skin

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Image: Getty
Hot weather doesn't have to mean skin that's shiny or sweaty. As temperatures soar, there are some easy steps you can take to stay cool, calm and comfortable. Simply follow our experts' prevention strategies and skincare advice to beat summer's most common skin dilemmas.

Problem number one: oiliness and breakouts
Keeping cool is more important than you might think in preventing the oily shine and accompanying pimples that tend to pop up on a hot day.

According to Sydney dermatologist Dr Stephen Shumack, to keep oil production down we should avoid sweating at all costs, as this increase in metabolism kick-starts oil production.

"If you've been exercising, wait 10 minutes to cool down before you have a shower or you'll make yourself sweat more. Keep showers cool and short," advises Dr Shumack.

Solution: products that work to mop up oil and help refine skin texture.
Try: Ultra Ceuticals Ultra Clear Treatment Gel, $53, Clinique Pore Minimizer Thermal-Active Skin Refiner, $64, Elemis Daily Shine Control, $101.20. Tip: rub ice over the skin twice a day for three minutes to prevent the spread of inflammation and breakouts.
Quick fix: carry a pack of cosmetic blotting papers to mop up shine.

Problem number two: dry, dehydrated skin
Summer is the party season, but don't forget that alcohol is dehydrating, warns Dr Shumack. Do your skin a favour by drinking a glass of water for every glass of wine.

"When it's hot and humid," he says, "even very dry skins should swap to a lightweight moisturiser, as a heavy cream could block pores, leading to acne, which is very difficult to treat in a dry skin."

Solution: lightweight moisturisers or serums with super-hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.
Try: Dr LeWinn's Private Formula Hydration Serum, $64.95, Elizabeth Arden Perpetual Moisture 24 Lotion, $78, Biotherm Aquasource Non Stop Oligo-thermal Cream Intense Moisturization, $59.
Tip: apply a moisturising mask before going to bed and allow skin to soak it up overnight.
Quick fix: smooth a few drops of pure rosehip oil over the entire face before applying make-up.

Problem number three: flushed, red face
Overheating is a definite no-no for anyone suffering from a red, flushed complexion or the skin disorder rosacea.

"In warmer weather it's particularly important to avoid large meals, hot spicy foods and to minimise alcohol," says Dr Shumack. "Seek out cool shade and avoid the sun wherever possible."

Solution: soothing, calming skincare with ingredients such as propolis to strengthen the capillaries.
Try: Pevonia Botanica Ligne Lavandou Soothing Propolis Concentrate, $99.50, Palmer's Skin Success Skin Stress Cream, $19.95, Clinique CX Redness Relief Cream, $160.
Tip: carry a spritz spray to cool the face as often as necessary throughout the day.
Quick fix: apply a green corrective concealer under your foundation to neutralise redness.

Problem number four: pigmentation
When it comes to sun-induced pigmentation, there are just three things to remember, says Dr Shumack. "Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock!"

While pigmentation may be reduced with fading creams or peels, the moment you go back into the sun without protection, it will return. So always apply sunscreen.

"The Pill can make pigmentation worse in summer months, so if you're on the Pill, changing to a non-oestrogen one that uses progesterone only should help," says Dr Shumack.

Solution: sun protection plus ingredients that help prevent pigment production — vitamin C, bearberry and licorice extract.
Try: Priori Bioengineered Skincare Even Tones with Idebenone, $190, Lancôme Blanc Expert Ultimate Whitener Spot Eraser, $90, Skin Doctors White Advanced Lightening Complex.
Tip: for a sun-free facial tan, choose a light, non-greasy self-tanner designed especially for the face, like Lancôme Sôleil Flash Bronzer Face, $44.
Quick fix: use a light, tinted moisturiser as a base and even out pigmentation with concealer.

Problem number five: sunburn
We all know it should never get to this, but what if the unthinkable occurs? "Take cool showers and keep skin well moisturised," advises Dr Shumack.

Liane Scior, education director for Pevonia Skincare, recommends avoiding oily products at first, as these trap heat.

"Hydrating gels help initially, then richer creams will help reduce flaking and peeling afterwards."

Solution: cooling, hydrating ingredients in light-textured gels or balms.
Try: Badger Bali Balm Soothing After Sun Care, $13.50, Aloe-Organics Skincare Certified Organic Pure Aloe Vera Gel, $15.95, Avon Sun Aloe Vera Gel, $8.99.
Tip: be wary of aloe vera if you are prone to allergies, as it is a moderately common allergen. Try sorbolene instead.
Quick fix: use a mineral make-up to tone down redness — pure minerals provide good coverage without irritating the skin.

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