Skin Rehab: How to Reverse the Sins of Summer
Pollution, sweat and summer’s strong UV rays contribute to dullness and accelerated aging. Here’s how to reverse skin damage
Source: Best Health magazine, September 2015
We’re all guilty of it: We forgo the sunscreen once or twice, forget to wash off makeup after a night out, or skip steps like using serum. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not doing your skin any favours.
‘Eighty percent of our skin damage is incurred before the age of 18,’ says Charmaine Cooper, education manager at The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. ‘The damage just manifests in our 20s, 30s and 40s with one bad summer or strongly exposed season.’
Your skin constantly defends itself from extrinsic elements, many of which are at their maximum during summer. What fits the bill of extrinsic? Pollution, pollen, UV rays and poor lifestyle choices.
Of all of these, UV rays are the most problematic, robbing skin of two essentials: water and oil. Further more, according to Dr. William McGillivray, an aesthetic physician at Project Skin MD, UV light also accelerates photoaging, which is characterized by wrinkles, rough texture, irregular pigmentation and loss of elasticity. ‘It also causes changes in the skin which are linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.’
The trifecta of repair
It’s back to basics when it comes to repairing damage, says Dr. McGillivray. And, interestingly, the products that help repair skin are the same ones that we should be using to prevent problems in the first place: sunscreen and vitamins C and A.
‘We’re now able to pick from great formulas that suit the skin type and condition,’ says Cooper. ‘Higher SPFs now offer a safe, low-chemical delivery of optimal skin ingredients to be able to address concerns like oiliness.’ Apply daily without fail.
Try: Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen, $45
‘Vitamin C neutralizes damaging free radicals from environmental sources,’ says Dr. McGillivray. Since we can’t eat enough vitamin C to really affect our skin, it works best to brighten and rebuild collagen in the form of a serum.
Try: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, $165
Vitamin A, or retinol, enhances your skin’s natural exfoliation mechanism, helping to even out skin tone and slough off age spots. Because of vitamin A’s photosensitivity (meaning it chemically reacts to light), it’s best to use these products at night.
Try: Dermalogica Age Smart Overnight Retinol Repair, $110.50 (for set of two).
Beyond the basics, serums are worth adding to your repair rotation for their ability to absorb into and penetrate deeper layers, making way for smoother, firmer skin.
Dr. Sven Fey, head of product development at R&D Beiersdorf, also notes that serums often have higher concentrations of active ingredients to achieve specific effects. ‘Depending on personal preference, serums can be applied either once a day prior to moisturizer or twice daily prior to day and night moisturizers.’
Try: Nivea Q10Plus Anti-Wrinkle Serum Pearls, $20