Not trying to be a bummer to your summer but summer is probably ageing your skin right now. How, you may ask?
Well, for a number of reasons – from the obvious one being the sun down to the ice-cream waiting for you in your freezer.
So, what exactly about summer is causing your skin to age a bit faster than it should be?
The Endless Pints, G&Ts and Vinos
When you’re about to make the most of the weather and dine al fresco, it’s hard to resist an ice-cold glass of Pinot or a big goblet full of gin.
Do think twice though – alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it can dehydrate you and thus your skin.
This can cause dehydrated wrinkles aka “drinkles”. Stay properly hydrated to keep your skin plump and line-free. Failing that, do a hydration masque the day after drinking as a quick fix.
One of my faves is the YonKa R-Hydra No˚1 Masque (€47.50, millies.ie) (formerly known as YonKa Masque No˚1) as it is full of soothing, hydrating ingredients like glycerine and aloe vera.
The Glorious Sun
We. Love. The. Sun. It’s probably down to the fact that what’s seldom is wonderful. It does put everyone in a great mood and up our vitamin D levels but it also ages us like little else.
Unprotected exposure to UV rays causes cellular damage to our skin, meaning pigmentation (sun spots) and damage to our collagen & elastin, causing thickened skin and deep wrinkles, and those concerns are the best case scenario.
Use a high-factor, broad spectrum sunscreen, at least factor 30 but preferably factor 50, and top up every two hours.
Even a tan is a sign of damage so you’re better off using fake tan (my favourite skin-friendly one is TanOrganic) alongside a sunscreen that won’t wreck it such as the Avène Spray SPF 50+ (€25.99, boots.ie).
I’ve used the Avène spray over my fake tan many times now and my beautiful false bronzeness has remained intact.
All That Sugar
99s are a one-stop shop to the aptly named AGEs. Don’t panic that you don’t know what an AGE is. For something that can be so detrimental, they’re simply not talked about enough.
AGE stands for Advanced Glycation End Product and they are complexes of sugar that are made when sugar in the bloodstream has nowhere to go and so clings onto protein molecules like our all-important collagen and elastin (the proteins that make our skin plump, taut and elastic).
This makes our collagen and elastin become rigid, rather than their usual form of being soft and supple, and so they are damaged, leaving us with saggier, poorly textured skin.
Opt for low-sugar berries if you’re worried. I will admit that a strawberry isn’t quite as satisfying but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it in the long run!
Dipping into Chlorinated Pools
This one shouldn’t come as a shock – chlorine isn’t the hottest for your skin.
What it does is strip your skin of its lipid barrier, the layer that keeps moisture in and baddies like airborne irritants out.
Without your barrier locking in moisture, your skin will become dehydrated and appear dull and flaky and long-term, a damaged barrier means you’re more susceptible to accelerated ageing (sun damage, pollution etc.).
Rinse yourself off thoroughly both before and after the pool to protect yourself from the chlorine and maybe cut down on your pool time if you’re a true mermaid.
Bring a body lotion and apply it straight after your shower to help to rehydrate the skin directly after the pool.
I like Urban Veda’s Reviving Body Lotion (€20.45, urbanveda.com) when my skin needs a bit of a soothe as it contains rose water, glycerine and vitamin E.
Face wise, Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Repair (€39.85, millies.ie) is designed to help the barrier to fix itself and to soothe the skin – those with rosacea, redness and reactive skin call this a lifesaver.
Additionally, take omega supplements as they feed the skin’s barrier!
Seeing this all together might be enough to spook you but I’m not trying to put you off Summer.
Go out there and have drinks, be in the sun (whilst wearing sunscreen), eat ice creams and swim – just make sure to look after your skin too.
Jennifer Rock is the founder of The Skin Nerd online skin consultancy and online cosmeceutical skincare store. If you’re interested in having a consultation with one of her expert Nerdettes, click here for more information.