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Summer skincare guide

Jocelyn Bailey
Article written by Jocelyn Bailey

Date published 25 June 2024

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Skin behaves differently in summer to winter, so adjusting your skincare is essential. From preventing UV damage and hyperpigmentation, to sorting dry skin and combating shine, here's how to protect your skin and keep it looking healthy.

🕒 5 min read

Heat, humidity and UV rays

The sun's UV rays can have a serious effect on skin. The closer we are to our longest day, 21st June, the more intense the sun's UV rays and the more hours per day they can cause damage. This can result in more, and faster, signs of ageing (including hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores), and potentially lead to skin cancer. Protection is vital.

Heat and humidity also cause changes. For example, heat makes our natural oils spread out, just like oil in a hot pan, so although our sebaceous glands aren't necessarily manufacturing extra sebum, our faces look shinier.

Meanwhile, humidity ramps up sweat production, which adds to the effect of having oilier skin; even though the sun may still be drying out its surface. As if all that wasn't enough, the warmth also relaxes pores, so they appear larger and more visible.

Six tips for healthy summer skin

The good news is that we don't have to accept these changes. The right skincare can protect our skin and keep us looking healthy; just don't overcompensate with the oil-zapping astringents. Here are six rules beauty experts follow when the summer comes.

1. Be scrupulous about sun protection

UV rays are fiercest in high summer, not only causing sunburn (which can lead to skin cancer) but also longer-term damage such as lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Stronger UV rays mean that even on cloudy days your most vital skincare essential is SPF.

Apply maximum defence SPF50 products over all exposed areas. This includes not only your face and throat, but also your décolletage, the tips of your ears and the back of your neck. Use about half a teaspoonful over your face and reapply regularly. If your arms or legs are exposed, coat them too, and don't forget the backs of your hands and tops of your feet.

Top pick, Healthspan's Daily UV Defence SPF50, provides high levels of UVA and UVB protection, plus skin-protecting antioxidants.

Two glasses of iced drink with fruit slices in the sunshine

Hydration is an important part of summer skincare, so keep drinking that water!

2. Hydrate inside and out

Warm, humid conditions make your skin's natural oils more liquid (not unlike melting butter) so they spread further. As a result, they actually do a better job of naturally lubricating the epidermis, so it's time for most of us to switch from winter's soothingly rich creams to lighter formulations.

Just don't neglect reinforcement altogether, as sun exposure and indoor air-conditioning still cause moisture loss and dry skin.

Since skin needs hydration rather than oil, look for products containing hyaluronic acid. Its molecules can hold about 1,000 times their weight in water, effectively plumping the skin so that fine lines appear less visible.

Long-time favourite Intensive Night Treatment Cream contains super-hydrating hyaluronic acid as well as anti-ageing antioxidants. These include vitamins A (retinol), C and E to help reverse damage caused by free radicals.

Don't forget to hydrate your body, too. Aim to drink at least eight to ten glasses of fluid per day, to allow for the hydration lost through sweating.

3. Cleanse twice daily

Even if you don't wear make-up, your complexion still needs cleansing every night in order to remove perspiration, natural oils, impurities, pollution and, of course, sun care products. These can result in clogged pores, causing blemishes and local inflammation.

You should also cleanse every morning to clear away overnight oil, sweat and night care products, which are often not formulated to deal with exposure to the sun.

Replenish Cream Cleanser & Replenish Gentle Toner are a popular summer duo, both gentle and rich in moisturising agents that won't leave your skin feeling taut. Keep your toner in the fridge to make it even more refreshing in the heat.

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4. Exfoliate regularly

A gentle scrub not only deep-cleans the pores, but refines the epidermal surface by whisking off dead, flaky cells, along with signs of dryness and uneven tone. With regular use, poor texture disappears and the complexion becomes fresher, clearer and brighter. The best time to exfoliate is at night, to make sure the active ingredients in your night products are better absorbed.

Gentle is the name of the game; which is exactly how the Skin Brightening Facial Exfoliator feels on the skin. Rice starch, grape seeds and papaya extract provide a polishing effect, while vitamin C adds antioxidant and brightening benefits.

You can also apply this exfoliator to the backs of your hands for an instant rejuvenating treat. Slather on hand cream afterwards, which will then sink in like a dream.

5. Don't neglect your body

When conditions are hot and sticky, we often like to bathe more than once a day; but for the sake of our skin as well as the environment, keep showers short and tepid. Too much hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, which means a damaged skin barrier and in turn an increased likelihood of irritation. Those with sensitive skin, or dry skin, need to be particularly careful.

Exposure to sun, saltwater, pool chemicals, wind, indoor fans, and air-conditioning, not to mention depilation, also contribute to dry skin, irritation, dullness and flaking, so use body moisturiser after every bath or shower.

Replenish Body Butter provides intensive moisturising, firming and elasticising benefits, but absorbs quickly: perfect for on-the-go summer days.

6. Use a primer

If sweaty weather makes your make-up slide off, or sink unhappily into lines and creases, a hard-working primer can help. It provides a smooth base so that colour glides on easily, then it anchors it in place so it stays put for longer.

Replenish Instant Skin Perfector is a clever solution for resisting shine, with phytoestrogens for antioxidant protection. It also has flattering, light-reflecting optical diffusers that help to blur fine lines, wrinkles, and open pores, so try wearing it without make-up on top.

And now enjoy the sunshine!

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Jocelyn Bailey

About Jocelyn Bailey

Jocelyn Bailey has been a health and beauty journalist for over 30 years, including 10 as beauty editor of Woman magazine. She is an expert in top-to-toe beauty, with a particular interest in ingredients.