Dr Anita Sturnham from Nuriss Clinic in Wimpole Street, London gives her top tips for the best summer skin.
A golden glow may make you look healthier and feel good, but the sun can also be your skin’s biggest enemy. UV rays can speed up the rate of skin ageing, which has long term implications for our skin. The commonest complaints I see after the summer holidays are breakouts, dryness, sensitivity, pigmentation and worsening of lines and wrinkles.
To minimise the damage whilst you are away there are three essential steps to follow :
- Get your skincare right: Ensure your skin is being treated to a consistent skincare routine, one that feeds it with the nutrients it needs morning to night. An antioxidant loaded serum is essential for the morning. Look for ingredients such as Vitamin C, B, E, Ubiquinone, Ferulic Acid in your ‘AM’ serum. This will help to protect your skin from the DNA damage caused by UVA rays and the superficial damage caused by UVB rays. Your night time ‘PM’ serum should be hydrating and reparative, so look for ingredients such as Peptides, Squalene, Hyaluronic acid and Stem cells. The next key summer skin ‘must have’ is your daily UV protector. Find a product with a high UVA (5 star ) rating and SPF ( minimum factor 30) that your skin enjoys and is used to. Get into the habit of applying this everyday for a few weeks before you go away (ladies and gentlemen you should be doing this everyday already by the way!) A good beauty hack is to find a mineral based tinted SPF, which can double up as make-up if you wanted a bit of extra coverage, without clogging your pores. Perfect for those long lunches in the sun.
- Have travel size versions of your everyday skincare ready to take away: Why? Consistency is the key to having healthy skin. I always recommend packing your regular day and night skincare essentials whenever you travel. Skin doesn’t like to be bombarded with new products when it is adjusting to new climates and the stressors of long haul flights. So instead of packing random minis you have lying around at home, see if your skincare brands offer travel sizes. If not, purchase travel kits from marks & spencers or boots and decanter your products.
- Follow a pre – holiday skin ‘prep’ facial plan: Whether you do this at home or at a clinic, for a few weeks before your trip it is good to do some detoxifying and exfoliative treatments, followed by hydrating masks to plump up the skin barriers. If you leave soon and haven’t done this yet, then book a pre holiday clinic treatment. I always recommend my patients come for a Bespoke Hydrafacial a few days before they fly. Let your practitioner do the ‘prep’ for you. We take the best bits of the traditional HydraFacial and enhance it with our bespoke protocol. This multitasking 6- step facial, delivers a deep cleanse, eliminates impurities, reduces congestion and breakouts and infuses vitamins into the skin, leaving a hydrated, glowing complexion in just 60 minutesOptional add ons: Book a Collagen Catalyst IV drip at the same time as your facial. Designed to aid collagen production and boost skin’s immune function, rich in Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium, Amino acids and Collagen boosting Peptides.
Support your skin from the inside out with a Collagen supplement. I prefer supplements that you make up freshly each day, and highly recommend Beauty Complex, with 7000mg of Type 1 Collagen Peptides Phytoceramides, Hyaluronic Acid and cofactors to protect your skin.
Whilst away ……
Dr. AJ’s Top Tips to tackle the skin hazards of the summer
1: Lizard Like Skin
If your skin is looking more ‘dry lizard’ than Claudia Schiffer, the sun is likely to have dried out your skin and damaged your skin hydration barriers. When you lie in the sun all day, your skin loses large quantities of water, which evaporates out of the skin layers. As it loses its water it loses its strength and elasticity. If you left a fresh juicy grape in the sun all day, it would lose its water content and shrivel up into a raisin. Your skin is no different.
The repair starts with your cleanser step. Use a gentle non-foaming cleanser in the morning (the foam variations tend to dry out the skin even more). Look for ingredients such as Glycerin and Stearic acid, which are humectants that lock moisture into the skin. (I recommend Nuriss Rose Hip Nourishing Cleanser or Avene Gentle Cleansing Milk)
To boost radiance and get that nourishing hydration back into the skin you need to restore the skin’s important barriers, which are made up of lipid (fats) to form a protective wall in the skin. This barrier helps to suck moisture into the skin and keep it there. It also helps to protect the skin from harmful things like bacteria and pollution. For barrier repair look for intensely moisturising serums. Nuriss Skin Renewal Serum is my all round holiday hero, rich in skin identical lipids, your skin will suck up this serum and feel instantly hydrated and nourished.
I also love products containing Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B. When applied to your skin, Niacinamide has been shown to increase a substance called Ceramide and free fatty acid levels (remember those fatty lipid barriers I mentioned). This prevents skin from losing water content, leaving it locked full of hydrating moisture and looking and feeling much smoother. (I love Roche Posay Hyalu B5)
When our skin is dehydrated from sun damage, the enzymes responsible for the skin’s natural exfoliation processes don’t work so well. The result is dry, scaly, rough-textured skin. The next step to skin repair is to step in with gentle night time exfoliators, which can remove built-up layers of dead, rough, thickened, uneven surface skin cells that make skin look wrinkled and dry. Don’t use strong exfoliators whilst on a sun holiday however, as they can make your skin more sensitive, so integrate these into a gentle night time cleanser step.
(I recommend Nuriss Alpha Beta Cleanser / Sarah Chapman Rapid Radiance Cleanse- a gentle way to exfoliate your skin each night without irritation in the sun)
2: Sunburn and frazzled skin
Be sun savvy and ensure that your skin is well protected. Apply a good quality broad spectrum SPF cream or spray to the face and body and cover up sensitive areas such as the neck and decolletage. Wear wide-brimmed sun glasses and a hat for extra protection and avoid actively sunbathing at peak times (11am-3pm). Many brands have designed products especially for the face, that are formulated using mineral SPF blockers, such as Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals are small, so they won’t clog your pores, keeping your skin healthy throughout your holiday. Remember to reapply the right amount (a teaspoon worth of product for the face and neck) and apply regularly throughout the day.
Sometimes, no matter how much SPF you use, you can still get burned by the sun, particularly if you are a Fitzpatrick I-III skin type. Sunburn is essentially inflammation of the skin so you need to reach for soothing products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile and vitamin E.
3: Pesky Pimples
Why do we get spotty skin on our summer holidays? Unless you’re having a holiday from hell then it’s probably not stress triggering these breakouts. Changes in our hormones, skincare products (particularly using never used before travel samples) sweat, sunscreen, a less than saintly diet, plus alcohol, can all invite those spots and large pores to rear their less than attractive heads. You can overcome your problem skin with a bit of good old fashioned skin housekeeping. I recommend the same steps as for the dry skin repair above. Gentle cleansing, rejuvenating nighttime exfoliation and try to incorporate Salicylic acid into your skincare regime. This is a great pore unblocker and it also helps to prevent the inflammation that leads to spot outbreaks.Also select skin products, including make-up, labeled non comedogenic, as these won’t clog your pores.
(I recommend Nuriss Blemish Control Mask, Medik8 Blemish SOS)
4: Pigmentation Overload
Uneven skin tone and brown sunspots can become all the more prominent during our summer holidays. Why? Because the UV rays from the sun trigger our Melanin (pigment) producing cells to misbehave, scattering uneven patches of brown pigment all over our faces and body.
Time for some serious sun damage-limitation. First step, keep your skin protected from further UV damage by wearing SPF protection every day and avoiding long periods in the sun, particularly at peak times 11am-4pm. (I recommend Nuriss Sensitive Sun spray Factor 30 , Heliocare Mineral Spf 50 and Obagi spf 50 mineral).
Next step, let’s get brightening. Add in a nourishing brightening serum each day. The superstars here are the antioxidants. These reduce inflammation, repair DNA damage, reduce pigmentation, restore the skin’s surface barrier, help defend against environmental stress, allow skin to build more collagen, and improve skin’s ability to heal. Wonderful!My favourite antioxidant is Vitamin C but look for a percentage of 10-15% for maximum benefits without irritation. One of the most well-researched and beneficial vitamins you can apply topically.
Then comes Vitamin E (technical name tocopherol), which is considered an antioxidant superstar in its own right. It protects cell membranes from oxidative damage and prevents collagen from being destroyed. It also works in powerful synergy with vitamin C. Vitamin E on an ingredient label can be tocopherol acetate, tocopheryl linoleate, tocotrienols, alpha tocopherol, and tocopheryl succinate.
Vitamin B is also top of the charts (technical name Niacinamide) It not only has fantastic moisturising properties but also reduces skin discolorations. It definitely belongs on the A-list of great skin-care ingredients regardless of your skin-care concern.
(I recommend Nuriss Vitamin C, E, B & Ferulic infusion serum and SkinCeuticals CBE serum)
Another great natural lightening agent is Alpha Arbutin. Arbutin is a natural skin brightener that helps to break down and prevent the production of abnormal melanin. It is similar in chemical structure to the well known skin lightening agent Hydroquinone but safer and gentler on the skin.
(I recommend Nuriss Illuminis Alpha Arbutin Lightening serum)
5: The Dreaded Wrinkles
Does your dry and sun drenched skin looked wrinklier? Going back to my grape analogy, that’s down to your
skin’s dehydration and moisture loss.
The cornerstone of any wrinkle crackdown is a nourishing, deep-penetrating serum. Choose one that is packed full of healing antioxidants and collagen boosting peptides.
(I recommend Nuriss Swiss Apple Stem Cell Rejuvenating serum and Roche Posay Hyalu B serum)
Team this up with a nourishing and repairing day cream and restorative night cream and you will be on the road to skin recovery in no time.
When you return ….
Summer Skin Recovery
If your skin looks like it needs to go to ‘skin-rehab’ this next section might help.
Dr AJ’s top 5 tips to rescue your skin
Whilst the endless summer days and the overindulgence of our family holidays are fabulous, the summer can leave our skin feeling rather lacklustre.
How your skin back on track ….
1: Identify the damage- a skin specialist will be able to advise what’s wrong and how to fix it. A skin scan is great after your holidays, to allow a targeted recovery programme to be designed for your skin’s bespoke needs. 2: Invest in good skincare- to heal and repair your skin it is worth investing in a good quality cosmeceutical grade serum and moisturiser. These are designed to reach the deeper layers of the skin and actively treat your skin cells. This type of advanced skin product can be found at reputable skin clinics.
3: Fight the damage- book yourself a course of hydrating facials to reduce the harmful effects of the sun. Again, our Bespoke Hydrafacials come highly recommended. A course of laser facials can also help to remove sunspots, pigmentation, boost collagen and retexturize the skin. Our Laser Protocol utilises the benefits of Clearlift Laser, IPL and Resurfacing to rejuvenate the skin, with minimal down-time. You will need a test patch before any laser treatment can get started.
4: Gentle Exfoliation-Lift away the old, dull and lifeless skin with a home peel treatment. Natural fruit acids such as glycolic and lactic active, will allow the old sun damaged skin to be replaced by fresh, healthy and radiant skin. Try Nuriss Fruit Acid Renewal gel once a week.
5: Protect your layers- we often forget our SPF protection in the Autumn / Winter months but remember UVA (ageing rays) are present all year round.