Preventive and protective measures to keep your skin healthy throughout the warmer months
Daylight saving and longer days are here and while we Aussies love the sun and the beach, we have to up the ante when it comes to our skin care for summer. The sun can cause more damage during the warmer months and while we all love being in the sun, tanning is a no-no. Besides some handy tips, here are some cooling skincare ideas if you do end up with sunburn.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this product. It has to be the most important one you can ever use. On most days, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15-30 works for Australian weather, but in summer you could look for one with an SPF of 40 or 50 plus.
Apply it before you lather on the moisturiser (another daily habit) and your skin will stay safe. Read the label to see how long it lasts and refresh it if you are out for a long time. Use sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body like face, arms, legs and torso.
Protect your skin and hair
If you are a good swimmer and enjoy the water, whether it is in the pool or the ocean, protect your skin and hair. Have a shower before and after a swim. If you colour your hair, try and keep it covered – consider a swimming cap. The chlorine in the pool water can severely dry out your hair.
Moisturise from within and without. Using an effective, water-based moisturiser for the skin is vital in summer. As is drinking lots of water to maintain hydration – you can even have some coconut water or lemonade – but go easy on the high sugar fizzies.
If you can avoid being in the sun, then try and stay indoors between 11am and 4pm. That is when the sun’s rays are at their strongest and can harm your skin the most.
Always keep an umbrella, lip balm, a hat and sunglasses handy. That way, even if you don’t have sunscreen on, your sunnies and the umbrella or a hat can give you some amount of protection. And the lip balm is to keep the skin of your lips from chapping and cracking.
The great outdoors
Applying perfume directly onto the skin when you are going to be outdoors should be avoided. Chemicals in perfumes can stain the skin permanently as they cause a reaction once they are exposed to the sun’s rays. Instead, dab the perfume on your skin where it will be covered with your clothes.
Avoid using make-up during the summer as the cream-based foundations can clog your pores and cause acne. If you must use them, wash off as soon as you can.
After sun care
If you do spend a day at the beach and find your skin as brown as a potato skin, worry not, I have some kitchen fixes to help you reduce the tan. And if you get sunburnt, you can use some cooling packs to soothe skin. These can be used all over, not just on the face.
Milk and oatmeal
Take a teaspoon of oatmeal and mix it with milk to make a thick paste. Apply all over the face and neck and wash off when it dries up. If you are sunburnt, take cold milk and dip a piece of cotton in it. Dab all over the sunburnt area. Repeat when it dries. Do this a few times, and then shower with cold water. You will feel better instantly.
To remove a tan, mix lemon juice with aloe vera gel and apply. The lemon juice will nourish your skin with Vitamin C and work as a bleach too. The gel will cool the skin and reduce any redness.
Gramflour, turmeric and cream
As kids, we never used soap to wash our faces. Before we went to the bathroom, my grandmother would give us a little steel cup with a spoon of gramflour mixed with milk cream and a pinch of turmeric. The flour was a natural exfoliator, the turmeric acted as an antiseptic and the cream did the moisturising. This scrub works wonders for removing any tan and is gentle as it is chemical free. So for skin that is already aggravated, this pack can be the perfect remedy. You can even substitute the cream with honey if you have oily skin or have run out of cream.
As teenagers, when we got acne, we used sandalwood powder as a facepack. Sandalwood, combined with rosewater is one of the most cooling mixes you can apply on your face. So if you have a tan or are sunburnt, mix sandalwood powder with a spoon of rosewater and leave on till dry. It will soothe your skin instantly.