A change in seasons brings about more than just changes to the weather. Moving from the cold winter months into the warm summer means longer days, visits to the beach, road trips and more. All of these things encompass a number of lifestyle changes that are specific to summer, and these are changes that can have an impact on our skin.
Not only do summertime lifestyle changes have an impact on our skin, but so does increased exposure to UV rays and, more generally, the warmer temperatures we experience during summer. So, we’re spilling all of our secrets to managing these changes so that you can refine your summer skincare routine and achieve your summer skin goals.
Increased UV Exposure
We’ll start things off by talking about a change that won’t be news to anyone. In the summertime, our exposure to UV increases. With increased UV exposure comes increased ageing effects on the skin.
A 2014 study found that UV exposure may account for up to 80% of visible changes to the skin that occur during the ageing process. That’s right - up to 80% of the visible signs of skin ageing may be preventable through the use of something as simple and inexpensive as sunscreen.
We could write an entire article about UV rays, but here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most important information you need to consider when it comes to skincare.
UVA rays are considered to be less intense than UVB rays. A good way to differentiate between the two is to think of UVB rays as those that can cause sunburns and blistering, while UVA rays are more responsible for contributing to the premature ageing of the skin, including concerns such as:
- Pigmentation / sun spots / age spots.
- Loss of elasticity and firmness.
- Formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
The difference between the strength of these rays from winter to summer is not that varied. However, the lifestyle changes and outdoor activities that summer encourages often means we are exposed to these harmful rays for prolonged periods of time when compared to other times of year.
As well as inducing a number of ageing effects to the skin, increased exposure to the sun’s rays can dehydrate the skin. When the skin becomes dehydrated, its protective barrier can become impaired, inviting all sorts of havoc on the skin, including:
- Reactions to products / sudden sensitivity to existing products
When your skin’s ability to retain moisture is compromised, it can also lead to:
- The formation of fine lines
The Secrets to Addressing Increased UV Exposure
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from any damage caused by UV exposure, from using a wide-brimmed floppy hat and/or a cute, tasselled beach umbrella, to investing in some lightweight protective clothing (turning sun protection into a cool aesthetic - it’s possible). However, the most obvious and effective way to help your skin combat UV exposure is sunscreen.
#1 Diligent Application of Your SPF50+ Sunscreen
As mentioned, this is an obvious remedy, so while sunscreen itself may not be much of a ‘secret’, the key is how often you apply it. SPF50+ sunscreen should be applied diligently - every day, non-negotiable. Yes, this means even the days you stay inside with the curtains drawn. UV always has a way of finding your skin.
We know nobody loves the feeling of a heavy sunscreen on a hot summer’s day though, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite lightweight, non-greasy sunscreens for you to try:
- Mesoestetics Mesoprotech Melan 130 Pigment Control
- Rationale Beautiful Skin Superfluid SPF50
- Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Oxybenzone Free SPF50+
- Ultraviolette Queen Screen SPF50+
- Ultraviolette Supreme Screen SPF50+
#2 Try Adding Vitamin A to Your Skincare Routine
You’ll probably find you need to make some alterations to your skincare regime during the summer months as well to help your skin manage increased UV exposure. The popular skincare ingredient, Retinol / Vitamin A, becomes a bit of a controversial subject in the summertime. This comes from the idea that Vitamin A makes the skin a little more sensitive to sunlight.
Despite common belief, Vitamin A does not cause the skin to be more sensitive to the sun. However, before you get excited, it does encourage younger skin cells to the surface that are more delicate in nature and thus more susceptible to damage by harmful UV rays. Does this mean you should avoid retinoids completely during the summer? No. It does, however, mean you need to be a little more savvy with how you use them.
Retinoids can benefit the skin throughout the entire year. They will help to repair the damage that the sun induces on the skin, such as the breakdown of collagen and then over-production of melanin, that causes pigmentation. You would waste an entire half a year of skin benefits if you were to restrict such an important ingredient to winter only.
The key to utilising this superstar ingredient all year round is sunscreen. Again, be diligent in wearing an SPF50+ every day and you will be adequately protected from UV, no matter what skincare ingredients you are using.
Another thing - follow your intuition. If you know are going to be in the sun for prolonged periods of time, where the upkeep of your SPF may take a bit of a back burner (beach days and sunny holidays - we're looking at you), maybe look at decreasing applications of your Vitamin A creams such as The Secret Cellular Repair Night Cream to alternating nights and using The Secret Day Brightening Elixir to pick up the slack.
The Day Brightening Elixir contains powerful brightening and skin protecting benefits that are particularly useful during the summertime. Speaking of beach days and sunny holidays – after a long day in the heat and sun, you’re going to need to replenish your skin’s moisture. If you're starting to feel the dehydrating effects of summer on your skin, it might be time to look at adding a serum into your regime.
#3 Hydrate Your Skin with a Serum
There’s not much out there that’ll make you feel better after a long day in the heat and sun than a tall glass of water… and your skin is the same - it needs its glass of water. That’s where The Secret Serum comes in. This will ensure extra moisture is delivered and retained in the skin to negate the dehydrating effects of UV rays, whilst simultaneously improving barrier function to support the skin's healing process. It contains:
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B3
So, you've heard all about the importance of SPF50+ when it comes to protecting your skin from the damage of the sun's rays… but what if we told you it is not enough to just apply it? What if we told you that the heat these rays omit during the summertime can also have a harmful impact on your skin?
Heat is considered to be a common trigger for melasma. Heat sources such as the sun’s rays, overhead LED lights and even hot yoga classes can cause your skin to form pigment… but how?
Heat, to put it simply, increases vasodilation. Melasma, while typically thought of as solely hyperpigmentation, can also be caused by vascular dilatation in the affected area. Heat also leads to more inflammation which stimulates melanocyte production – the process that leads to hyperpigmentation in the skin.
The Secrets to Addressing Warmer Temperatures
We could tell you to simply try and stay cool… but we live in Australia, so trust us when we say we understand that that's just simply not an option sometimes. The summers are scorching - and you can’t hide from the heat unless you stay inside and rack up the world’s most expensive power bill.
Fortunately, there are things you can do outside of hugging your air conditioning unit all day. Utilising tyrosinase inhibitors are a fantastic way to prevent the over-production of melanin (pigment) in your skin.
#4 Utilise Tyrosinase Inhibitors
Tyrosinase plays a key role in melanin synthesis - it is the enzyme responsible for the first step in melanin production. It is part of a conversion process that creates the pigment (melanin) to be transported to the top layer of your skin, resulting in a darkening of the skin. It is a defence mechanism against damage, particularly against the damage of the sun's UV rays, and inflammation.
When skin cells experience this damage, the Tyrosinase enzyme will send an excess of Tyrosine, resulting in overproduction of pigment. By targeting this crucial enzyme with Tyrosinase Inhibitors, you will prevent the overproduction of pigment - however this will require continued use.
Some well known Tyrosinase Inhibitors include:
- L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
- Kojic Acid
- Azelaic Acid
Vitamin C is a fantastic ingredient to use during the day to protect your skin as it faces the heat of summer. It is an ingredient quite prevalent in The Secret Day Brightening Elixir, which utilises an array of ingredients to help protect and fortify the skin's lipid-barrier against ageing free-radical damage. The medical-grade Vitamin C will reduce the likelihood of pigment forming whilst also offering brightening effects to the skin on a surface level.
Summer Lifestyle Changes
It's not the weather alone that has an impact on our skin. The sudden switch in weather, coupled with subsequent lifestyle changes people make as it gets warmer, will all contribute to the quality of your skin during summer.
From jumping into the salty water for a swim, to then drying off in the hot sun, walking around in the hot air outside, and getting into the blasting air conditioning of the car, your skin experiences a range of environments. This situation is quite typical in the summertime, with each contributing to the state of your skin.
You might also find yourself oilier than usual in the summer. As the weather gets warmer and humidity is heightened, the skin has to adapt, which often means feeling greasy as more oil gets trapped on the surface of the skin. It’s a bit of a catch 22 really - the heat is opening your pores and releasing more oil, but you’re dehydrated at the same time because of the UV rays - can you really even win?
Increased oil production can lead to more congestion and thus induce more breakouts. Increased sweating from the summer lifestyle mixed with makeup is also a recipe for congested skin. On top of all this, there seems to be some sort of event every other night in the summertime. Parties, dinners out, the holiday lifestyle and everything else that comes with the summer can lead to inflammation in the skin, induce breakouts and so on.
The Secrets to Addressing Summer Lifestyle Changes
Enjoy your summer, by all means. These lifestyle changes are some of the best parts about summer, but for all these reasons, it is more important than ever to stick to a good skincare regime.
#5 Find Your Regime and Stick to It
What does a good skincare routine look like, you may ask?
Simple and easy, to ensure you stay consistent and achieve results. Our minimalistic, three-step regime is something you just can't justify skipping out on (even after a big night out) with its simplicity and ease.
Include your Vitamin A, B, and C's. Resurface, nourish and protect your complexion with these three essential skin vitamins. All of which are covered in your Secret Skincare set.
Application of your chosen SPF50+ every day - do we need to stress this much more?
Cleanse every evening to remove the day's harsh aggressors. In the summertime, with increased oil production, we recommend first cleansing the skin with an oil cleanser. Hear us out - although it feels counterproductive, water-based cleansers will repel oil and therefore not remove impurities from the skin.
- Intuition. This isn’t something you can just purchase from a skincare range, but essential to any regime. It is up to you to listen to your skin when it is feeling sensitised from summertime lifestyle activities. You may need to adjust your regime to include more hydration and less active ingredients one day; less active ingredients and less hydration on another day. Be guided by how your skin is feeling and what you know it can tolerate.