Hot weather, salt water, humidity, chlorine and vacation travel all take their toll on our skin during the summer months. As a celebrity esthetician, here are some of my favorite summer skin tips and solutions for keeping your skin safe and beautiful all summer long.
It’s not about the SPF number, it’s how often and how much you re-apply your sunscreen:
People are always asking me which SPF number should they use. The truth is, an SPF 30 only offers 4% more protection than an SPF 15. You would have thought it was double the protection, right? As you get up in the higher numbers (SPF 45, 50, 70 +) that percentage comes down, but you’re also exposing your skin to more chemicals which might result in a negative reaction on the skin. The key to protecting your skin in the sun is to re-apply your sunscreen generously at least every two hours. A little dab won’t do ya…you need to slather it on. For sensitive skins, trying using an all-mineral, chemical-free sunblock like the new Renée Rouleau Age Defense Moisturizer SPF 30.
Wear UV-protective clothing. Companies make special clothing that can block 97% of the UVA/UVB rays–far more than a regular t-shirt. Whenever I’ll be out in the sun for long periods of time, I always throw on one of these shirts with my big floppy hat. It makes it easy to stay safe in the sun without even having to apply sunblock to my upper body.
Keep your skin as cool as possible. Since overheated skin can increase both melanin activity and blood circulation, it’s important to keep the temperature of the skin low to prevent brown spots and redness. This can include keeping your skin care products, particularly an alcohol-free toner, in the refrigerator, so that when they are applied to the skin, they provide a cooling effect. In addition, I suggest keeping a gel-based mask in the refrigerator, and applying a thin coat, leaving on for 15 minutes, not only to cool the skin, but also to help deliver water to hot and thirsty skin. Don’t have a gel mask handy? A bag of frozen peas applied to the skin for 5 minutes can also help to instantly cool overheated skin.
Use a skin lightener if you’re prone to brown sun spots. In addition to keeping the skin temperature low, applying a skin lightener to the skin will help suppress melanin cells to fade and prevent brown spots. Many skin lighteners contain the ingredient Hydroquinone, which is a fairly controversial ingredient, so if you want to use something more natural, I suggest using Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a type of vitamin C commonly found in skin serums that is a proven skin lightener. Bonus: A Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Medical Center researchers determined that using a lotion or serum with Vitamins C and E under sunscreen actually provides four times the protection of sunscreen alone! To bump up your SPF, use Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment daily under sunblock.
Wear UV-protecting mineral powder. Most mineral powders have at least an SPF of 20, but when at the beach (like I was recently in St. Croix) I like to have a bit more protection so I use an SPF 50 mineral powder from ColoreScience. Applying cream and lotion-based sunscreens aren’t always as ideal for reapplying to the face (greasy fingers getting on my books, magazines and iPad) so what’s nice about the powder is that it comes in a self-dispensing brush so it can be easily dusted onto my skin. It’s also water-resistant so I found that it stayed on very well when swimming.
Cut back on exfoliation. Did you know that exfoliation can increase sun sensitivity by about 45%? The reason is because exfoliation removes some of the protective layers causing your skin to be more reactive to the sun, as well as the wind and heat too. This puts your skin in a vulnerable position so you do really want to exfoliate less if you’re spending time out in the elements. In addition, since it’s hot in the summer, this raises the internal temperature and stimulates blood flow which will increase skin redness.The focus should be less on exfoliation (which can exacerbate summer redness) and more on protecting the skin from the sun and keeping it calm. Go easy with facial cleansing brushes, acids, enzymes and scrubs–especially when you’re heading out to the beach, lake or pool.
Blot, blot, blot your oil.
Although there is no miracle product to never make you produce oil, there is a simple and fast way to get rid of excess oil. Blot! Oil blotting papers (or even tissue will do) are great to use during the day to actually remove the oils off the skin to give you the feel of freshly washed skin.
Wishing all the Beauty Snob readers a great summer!