With the contribution of Dr. Laura Vollono
Specialist in Dermatology and Venereology

Take care of skin in summer it also means having to face the challenge of the heat on a daily basis. Sweat and high humidity are one thing for the skin considerable stress which needs to be remedied. Follow our advice!

The effects of heat on the skin

Despite the cliché that the sun "dries" oily skin, actually the increase in temperatures and humidity during the summer months can increase the activity of the sebaceous glands , with greater production of sebum which makes the skin more oily: hence the unsightly "shiny" effect and the appearance of imperfections.

At the same time there is a parallel loss of hydration and thickening of the stratum corneum, which results in a dehydrated and rough looking skin.

Summer make-up

In summer it would be advisable to reduce make-up , giving the skin a break from the heavier make-up typical of the winter season. 

Above all, avoid foundation , which would be excessively occlusive for skin already subjected to humid heat, replacing it with tinted moisturizers . Many of those on the market are already formulated with a high sun protection factor, allowing the application of a single product in the morning without overloading the skin of the face. For the lips, a moisturizing balm, perhaps colored.

Keep your eyes light too, avoiding overly loaded or blended make-up that would inevitably run during the day, with an unpleasant aesthetic effect: a veil of waterproof mascara will enhance the beauty of the eyes without weighing them down.

Facial care in summer: the cleansing routine

During the summer it is it is essential not to neglect proper facial cleansing . The eventual make-up must be carefully removed with a two-phase make-up remover or even better with micellar water, chosen according to the type of skin (seborrheic, dry or sensitive).

Regardless of the directions on the label, it is it is always advisable to rinse these products and leave no residue on the face. If you apply a water-resistant mascara, a trick is to leave a cotton pad soaked in dedicated make-up remover on the eyelashes for a few moments: with this maneuver you can dissolve the most resistant make-up without rubbing excessively.

After the first cleaning, proceed with washing to be carried out with specific detergents : urea-based keratolytics for thickened and dry skin, salicylic acid-based purifiers for oily or acne-prone skin, delicates rich in soothing agents for sensitive skin and embrittled. A splash of thermal water at the end of cleansing can give relief to skin affected by sun exposure, restoring an ideal skin balance.

Facial exfoliation: the rules for the summer season

The basic rule for always beautiful and luminous skin is yours exfoliation , and even in the hottest season is no exception. On the contrary, the arrival of sunny days can often catch us with a marked, tired skin of the face and a dull complexion.

To restore a uniform complexion and expose our skin to the sun in its best conditions, the ideal is to start early as early as spring, with periodic professional chemical exfoliations capable of eliminating the "grey" of the past winter through the use of suitable for your skin type.

When the heat has arrived, it is not advisable to carry out procedures that are too aggressive, but it is possible to maintain the benefits of exfoliation with home products based on azelaic, glycolic, mandelic or salicylic acid: they are applied to the damp face and left on. for a few minutes, then rinse, replacing the normal detergent about once or twice a week.

Chemical exfoliation is preferable to scrub, which is instead a mechanical procedure based on rubbing granules on the skin surface: although not harmful, it is certainly less effective and specific and can irritate more sensitive skin, already weakened by sun exposure.

Keep your skin hydrated

Summer is the time when the skin suffers the most from dehydration : a refreshing serum based on hyaluronic acid it can be a valid ally to restore thirsty skin from long days in the sun, followed by a cream more or less rich according to specific needs.

Generally, lighter products are to be preferred compared to the winter season, which restore freshness without adding weight.

A moisturizing and antioxidant mask, for example based on ascorbic and phytic acid, to be applied once/twice a week helps soothe irritation and fight the formation of free radicals following sun exposure. 

It is advisable to avoid the use of oils , especially household oils, erroneously considered suitable for facial care: they do not allow deep hydration, but merely attract water to the surface of the skin, and are excessively occlusive.

Pay attention to the eye area

The skin around the eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face . In the summer it is subjected to even greater stress due to exposure to the sun and the "squinting" of the eyes due to intense light.

In addition to protecting them with adequate sunglasses, it is advisable to dedicate to this delicate area of ​​the specific treatments, with gels or creams suitable for the eye area . Often these products are available in packs with "roll-on" applicators, which allow them to be applied with a light massage that favors the drainage of liquids (the famous "bags"), and can be stored in the refrigerator for an even more refreshing action .

Sunscreen: a must

There Sun protection must become our best friend during the summer (and beyond!). I am to discard protection factors below the range of SPF 30-50+ : they would not be sufficient to protect the skin , resulting in fact counterproductive for a false sense of security that would lead us to expose ourselves to harmful radiation.

Oils are highly discouraged, especially the "natural" ones without photoprotection , which by reacting with intense sunlight can be responsible for burns or spots.

The sunscreens on the market are active against both UVB, responsible for sunburn and sunburn, and UVA, responsible for cell damage that causes skin aging and skin cancer. 

The protection should be applied in the morning before going out, and repeated every two-three hours : sweat and baths reduce its protective effect. Formulations for all tastes and needs are now available on the market: rich creams, super light and velvety milks, dry touch gels, transparent sprays… the important thing is to find the one that is compatible with your needs and apply it abundantly and often on all exposed areas, without neglecting areas such as the neck, the back of the knees, the backs of the hands and feet.

For those suffering from particular conditions, there is now a vast range of products for specific needs, such as pigmentations, acne, rosacea, vitiligo, psoriasis, actinic keratoses: the reference specialist will be able to guide you in the best possible way in your choice.

Drink plenty of water

If it's a cliché it's because it works: water is the most important ingredient for healthy skin. It is advisable to always carry water with you during the day, to be consumed in small sips and often, at a temperature that is not too cold. This facilitates the elimination of waste substances and prevents the onset of disorders related to dehydration.

Don't neglect your feet

Most of our attention is paid to the care of our face because it is the first level with which we relate to others. This however, it must not lead us to neglect our feet , which this season they are constantly on display. 

It's a good habit exfoliate and moisturize the skin of the feet with keratolytic products , usually based on urea and salicylic acid, and keep the nails in order by filing them to the right length.

Semi-permanent nail polishes for toenails as well as hands are aesthetically pleasing and not harmful, provided they are not left in place for more than the usual two-three weeks: prolonged occlusion and the trauma of a possible too aggressive removal can damage the nail plate, leaving it fragile and subject to unsightly cracks.

Thermal water: an ally always in the bag

In the evening before your face cream, in the morning after cleansing, after a shower, during sports, under an umbrella… A splash of thermal water, rich in minerals and vitamins, is able to give immediate relief to the most sensitive skins and restores the correct skin balance .

If during the winter it is recommended as a make-up fixer and as a soothing post-dermatological treatment, in the summer every occasion is a good one to apply it, thanks to the practical handbag formats. Ideal during long journeys by plane, where the air conditioning exerts a strong dehydrating effect on the skin.

Valeria Donati