Battling summer breakouts? You’re probably making these skincare mistakes
No, just slathering on sunscreen doesn't cut it
Real talk: Skincare routines don’t fall under the one-size-fits-all moniker. Yes, your intense moisturising regimen may have worked just dandy during the winter. But it probably won’t square off well against the blistering heat that has already invited its two besties, acne and clogged pores, over for an indefinite stay-cation on your face.
So how do you get the unexplained breakouts to quit the party? We called in expert dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia to draw up a dummy-proof skincare guide.
5 basic skincare mistakes you don’t want to make during summer
A gentle face wash may have gone easy on your skin during the colder months, but summer needs your daily facial routine to step up. Always, but always, opt for a foaming face wash to cut through the grease, get to the actual bacteria and drop it like it’s hot.
The other extreme isn’t a good place to inhabit either. People generally tend to over-wash their face during the sweaty summer months. The continuous stripping away of essential oils compels the body to create more to compensate. Limit facial washes to twice a day, and try using make-up wipes and blotting paper instead to get rid of the grease.
Done? Now step away from the bathroom kit and take your cleansed self to the kitchen. Spicy foods generate more heat in the body leading to additional acne. Play it safe, and fill up your daily diet with seasonal fruits; watermelon and grapes help cleanse the system from within.
Make fast friends with avocado. If you can't stand the taste while eating it raw, just throw it into a blender with some banana. Avocado generally turns tasteless once in purée form, so a smoothie is your best bet to overcoming that initial aversion.
Ready to graduate to the big league? Ensure your skin retains that radiant glow while on vacation by going on a four day detox just before your big holiday. No alcohol, no dairy, no processed foods. Stare resolutely away from ketchup and diet Coke, and if you’re feeling really committed, cut out all salt intake post 7pm. Your skin, and your body, will thank you for it.
How to save your skin from sun damage
Seeing as our collective lifestyles tend to invite more trouble from the sun, here’s a quick brush-up on the basics.
A combination of air pollution and UV radiation damages melanocytes, and accelerates the ageing process. Early morning walkers need to be particularly careful as the air quality index is the worst at this time. Avoid spending long periods under the sun as this can aggravate sun-mediated damage. Use a good sunscreen like the Antihelios XL SPF 50+ which is 100% hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (does not cause acne) and has a high concentration of La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, perfect for sensitive skin. Another favourite is Effaclar H Gel from La Roche Posay. The soothing moisturizer is fragrance-free, non-oily and perfect for most skin types. If you have excessively sensitive skin, opt for La Toleraine Ultra light moisturizer.
Make-up prevents the skin from breathing, so removing it the minute you get home with a gentle cleanser is imperative. If you prefer to go the natural route, coconut oil or baby oil is an effective remover.
Air pollution in urban areas and in areas with high concentrations of ozone depletes the levels of vitamin E in the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis). Vitamin E is an antioxidant and lipid that helps maintain the skin’s barrier function by fighting free radicals and inhibiting oxidation. It's crucial in keeping toxins out of the body for which the antioxidants help a great deal. Degradation of vitamin E weakens the barrier, which increases the risk of formation of harmful chemicals and inflammatory responses in the underlying skin layers. Add foods rich in antioxidants to your diet like green tea, red wine and strawberries among other fruits and vegetables like bananas, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and green leafy vegetables.
Of course your grandmother has cried herself hoarse telling you to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Supplement all the water you're drinking by making sure your skin is moisturised from the outside. Stock up on facial mists and water-based moisturisers. And don't forget to cover up when you're outdoors, this helps add another protective layer to your skin.