The Australian summer is synonymous with being outdoors, having a ‘barbie’ and spending time at the beach during this festive season. With this holiday period known as a time for reflection and a spot to perhaps think about New Year’s resolutions, healthy skin is often low down on the priorities list.
Over exposure to the sun this summer can cause premature aging of the skin, dryness, wrinkles, sun spots, and even skin cancer in extreme cases. But with a few simple steps, you can enjoy the summer sun without compromising the health of your skin.
Preparation Phase/What to do before:
- Apply sunscreen: It sounds simple but is it really? What is annoying about sunscreen is that often it is trial and error and often sunscreens with a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) are recommended highly but simply have more chemicals. The chemicals in these sunscreens may trigger pre-existing skin sensitivities and cause adverse reactions. Conversely mineral sunscreens are available but are often costlier. Now sunscreens are available in lotions, sprays and gels and also have varying degrees of protection. With all these things to consider, informed decisions can be made by considering how long you are planning to spend in the sun, whether you are going to be in water (waterproof sunscreen) and the level of sensitivity your skin already may be.
Active Phase/What to do during:
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is so important in the summer months and your skin will thank you for it. Being dehydrated causes your skin to become dry, for frown lines to appear and also be more susceptible to the negative effects of the sun. By drinking plenty of water, your body will flush out the toxins in your system and keep your skin hydrated and healthier.
- Rinse after being in a Pool: Chlorinated water in pools can really dry out your skin and cause allergic reactions. After swimming in these environments it is important to rinse off and reapply sunscreen. Plus it will smell more neutral rather than that pungent chlorine smell!
Recovery Phase/What to do after:
- Replenish your skin with Aloe Vera: Using aloe based products such as Aloe Vera gel will help with sunburn and also moisturise the skin. The after effect of the sun is also countered and has many natural healing properties. Often the sun will leave the skin dry and perhaps inflamed and aloe acts as a cooling agent that repairs the skin and acts as a protective layer.
Pro-tip: Use Aloe Vera gel as an aftershave as it will also heal any minor cuts and abrasions caused in shaving!