Summer is in full swing, bringing along those hot, sunny days. While it’s cheerful to live under a bright, cloudless sky, the sun can leave its toll on skin and hair, so it’s essential to take special care during this season.
Here’s how you can keep your hair and skin happy till autumn arrives.
Protect to Perfect
Sun exposure, hot winds and air conditioning can harm delicate skin cells and cause premature ageing. Yet the right products will help stimulate your tanning, protect your skin against harmful UVA rays, repair and hydrate your skin and provide an anti-wrinkle action.
Of course, moisturising is beneficial for our skin all year round, but it is especially so in summer to replenish natural skin oils. You’re safer not just relying on the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) in your moisturiser, but rather use a fragrance-free SPF on your face and other exposed areas. “Apply SPF 15 or above, even on cloudless, hot sunny days to protect you from UVA and UVB rays and to avoid brown spots,” recommends Hana Samih Mneimneh, beautician and Founder of Garage Institut, a beauty centre in Lebanon.
If you are mostly indoors, keep your skin cool with oil-free creams and serums. Replace heavy oil-based creams with lighter, oil-free serums or emulsions, and when you’re choosing them, make sure they’re loaded in nutrients and anti-ageing ingredients to revive dull skin. Furthermore, you should look out for creams that have natural light reflecting pigments, as well as treat your skin with creams that will neutralise oxidative stress and keep it looking young and healthy.
When you are getting ready, don’t neglect eye cream. Even if your skin is producing more sebum, which results in shiny skin, it still needs moisturising, especially around the eyes. You should also avoid squinting in the sunlight to fight off crow’s feet and wrinkles, something that can easily be done by taking along a pair of sunglasses.
With so many alluring products on the market, how do you choose? You can start by paying special attention to the ingredients of a cream and trying to choose those without preservatives. Some brands use oxygen, others natural plant and fruit extracts such as grape, cactus and even cocoa. So, we suggest taking a careful look at the label. Plus, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little at the cosmetics counter in stores and ask for free samples to try out a product first.
Over exposure to the summer sun can lead to dark spots, especially on hands, which we often neglect to take care of. When the skin is exposed to the sun, it produces melanin, the natural pigment that protects us from the sun. As it is not produced uniformly the result can be dark patches or spots. A simple solution for removal is to use whitening creams, but they often contain chemicals. Natural remedies have been used for generations in the Middle East and one of them is to use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to lighten dark spots naturally. All you need to do is apply a few drops of olive oil on the spots and leave on overnight. You can then wash it off with warm water, and you can continue doing this until the spots lighten. Another remedy is to dab on fresh lemon juice, however you’ll find this has a more drying effect than EVOO.
Peel to Reveal
Exfoliation buffs away tired cells and stimulates regeneration and a more radiant summer skin. “Exfoliating will give your skin a nice glow and encourage cell regeneration,” Mneimneh says. Additionally, it will leave your tan more uniform by removing the dead cells from the top layer of your skin. However, certain exfoliators such as alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid can actually be very harsh and may cause irritation. So, you’re better off looking at the label and choosing a gentle exfoliator. While chemical peels can remove dead layers of damaged skin cells, it doesn’t make any sense to have one at this time of the year on skin that’s going to be exposed to the sun.
Deep cleansing is also important, as it will eliminate impurities deep within the pores to restore the skin’s texture.
Beauty from Within
Water, water, water, you should drink lots of it, especially in summer. Sure, you have heard this advice over and over again, but most of us still neglect it. Proper hydration helps you flush toxins from your body. When toxins are allowed to build up, bodily organs work less efficiently, which has an impact on the body and skin. So, even if you are not very thirsty rehydrate by drinking at least two litres of water per day to help skin looking at its best. Furthermore, eating anti-oxidants and foods high in omega and vitamins A and C, can also help prevent skin damage and premature ageing. Anti-oxidants are probably the best way to fight against the free radicals caused by the sun, which can cause hyperpigmentation, inflammation and oxidative stress, and help your skin protect itself. And, last but not least, you need to get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, which may slow the production of collagen in the skin. When our skin stops producing collagen, it looses elasticity and starts looking dull.
High humidity levels during Middle Eastern summers can damage your hair. So, you ought to always cover your hair with a scarf to protect it from the harmful UV rays. When you protect your hair, you also help to retain moisture. The downside is that summer air is laden with moisture, which makes hair frizzy. You can apply a few drops of anti-frizz serum to make hair smoother. Argan oil is still all the rage and rightly so; this plant oil produced from the kernels of the Moroccan Argan is a wonderful hair frizz fighter. You can just apply a little or else it’ll weigh your hair down. Also, you should avoid washing your hair too much during this season as constant washing strips it of essential oils. Our final tip is to let your hair dry naturally as much as possible for silky soft summer hair.
So, here’s to a smooth, shiny summer, it’s sure to be a great one for your skin and hair with these tried and tested solutions.