You know what they say: every cloud has a silver lining. That’s true, even in a global pandemic. One of the more positive things to come out of multiple lockdowns over the past 24 months has been our relationship with our skin health. According to a recent survey from Mintel, we have invested more money in skincare products than ever before. Even our use of hashtags like #beautyrituals is up, proof that we love to share our skincare routines on social media too. And these good habits, it would seem, have stuck. To refresh them for the summer months, we’ve asked three experts what key steps we need to add to our routines during hotter weather to keep our skin healthy.
It will come as no surprise that top of the list is SPF. This is because we now recognise that the majority of facial ageing is caused by exposure to UV light. “Always wear a broad-spectrum, high-factor sun cream,” explains consultant dermatologist at the Tarrant Street Clinic Dr Justine Hextall. “I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a daily sun cream that protects against UVB, UVA and longer wavelengths. I am often asked if an SPF in a moisturiser is enough; unfortunately it is unlikely to be — my advice is to add a protective layer of a good, high-factor sun cream as the final step in your skincare routine.”
There are several ways to achieve this. You can use a mineral SPF, which sits on top of the skin and contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to act as a shield blocking against UV rays. Alternatively a chemical SPF, which works by being absorbed into the skin and subsequently soaks up and disperses UV, is another method. One of the bestselling mineral SPFs on the market is REN’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF30. It uses naturally derived zinc oxide and is as good for the planet as it is for all skin types. If you prefer to go down the chemical SPF route, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid Sun Cream SPF50+ is an excellent all-rounder. Its ultra-light fluid consistency absorbs completely without leaving any white masking and offers extremely high protection. Even better, even the most sensitive skin types can tolerate it, including people who find that SPFs sting their eyes.
As odd as it sounds, that dewy, glowing skin we get during hot and humid months actually needs regular moisturising. “Skin can get very dehydrated in summer months due to things like sun exposure, the effects of sea or pool water, perspiration and air conditioning,” explains cosmetic doctor and founder of Cosmedics Skin Clinics Dr Ross Perry. “You need to keep skin hydrated in order to maximise its functionality.”
Even so, thick moisturisers feel counterintuitive in hot weather, so it’s worth trying a formula that’s lightweight but still effective. Hyaluronic, acid-packed serums are ideal. Glossier’s Super Bounce Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin B5 Serum is amazing value for money. It is also a beauty industry insider favourite thanks to its instant visibly hydrating results and light, non-sticky formula. Niod’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, meanwhile, packs a potent dose of hydration thanks to the formulation’s 12 hyaluronic compounds. They tell us these are delivered at three molecular weights – and what that means is that this serum penetrates the skin at many different levels and offers the most incredible hydration as a result.
You can wear both of these after cleansing and toning (or after pre-serum treatments). They can sit directly under sunscreen, or be layered with a lotion or light moisturiser in between, if required. And if that’s one step too many, Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream is a great multi-tasker. It has a light, gel-cream consistency but it’s also packed with two weights of hyaluronic acid alongside brightening botanical extracts.
However careful we are, summer sun skin damage can still creep up on us. The most obvious (and arguably ageing) kind is pigmentation. So it’s crucial to pre-empt this by adding ingredients that combat uneven skin tone to your summer routine. “Vitamin C is one of the big-player antioxidants against sun damage,” explains Dr Sasha Dhoat, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics. “It performs an important role in skin regeneration by supporting the production of collagen and elastin alongside proven skin-brightening properties. But when your vitamin C product turns brown, bin it — its super-power properties are spent.”
And since vitamin C is notorious for its swift degradation, Beauty Pie has come up with a clever solution with its Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & Vitamin E Serum. Each biodegradable capsule contains a single dose of vitamin C which means that the active ingredients maintain their skin-brightening potency right up until the second you open that day’s capsule. It’s even combined with skin-nourishing favourite vitamin E. If you prefer a straightforward serum, Skinceutical’s C E Ferulic is worth every penny of the slightly eye-watering price tag as it uses ferulic acid to stabilise its vitamin C. In turn, that maximises protection against photo damage induced by free radicals before it happens, while simultaneously combating its early signs. Both of these products can be applied as a serum step in either a morning or evening skincare routine, or even twice daily if your skin will tolerate it.