What the Experts Say About Protecting Your Skin in Summer

By 2018-12-20 23:26:08

Taking care of your skin in the rising heat.

Just as we prepare for seasonal changes with our clothing and what we eat, it stands to reason that your skin also requires a different routine. As temperatures and humidity soar in Shanghai this month, and with the added challenge of high pollution rates, proactively making changes to keep our skin at its best ensures achieving a summer glow instead of a summer wilt. That being said, Shanghai Family has you covered with top tips from three skin care professionals.

Protection is a priority

When sun exposure is at a maximum, it’s necessary to stay protected, not only from UV rays but also from pollution. Dr. Sheery Liu, Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon of Yosemite Clinic, recommends choosing creams or lotions with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF):

“For exposed skin, apply sun protection products with SPF 30-50 and remember to re-apply every few hours. Avoid having any direct contact with pollutants, and pay extra attention to personal hygiene.”

She goes on to remind us that sun protection is important in all seasons, because the sun emits harmful UV rays all year round and even on cloudy days, there is risk of overexposure. Dr. Souphi Samizadeh, founder and director of Revivify London Clinic and the Great British Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, who is also a visiting Associate Professor at Jiao Tong University, takes it further. “It is very important to wear a good sunscreen at all times and renew it as recommended (every two hours with most sunscreens), and more so in warmer weather.” While we all know that direct sun exposure can be responsible for skin cancer, Dr. Samizadeh, also notes that it can cause: 

•     Pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions

•     Fine and coarse wrinkles

•     Freckles

•     Discolored areas of the skin (pigmentation)

 •    The dilation of small blood vessels under the skin (Telangiectasia)

•     The destruction of elastic and collagen tissue (Elastosis), causing lines, wrinkles and sagging skin

However, both doctors agree it’s never too late to make positive changes. While there are methods to reverse sun damage, such as lasers, it would be best to have these procedures during the winter, as avoidance of sun exposure for at least three months is required. Similarly, chemical peels can rejuvenate the skin via exfoliation, but this makes the skin more vulnerable to sunlight. Recovery times for surgical procedures need to be taken into consideration, making preventative measures more practical and less costly.

Lock in moisture

Dr. Liu recommends choosing appropriate products depending on your skin type, the temperature and humidity. “Second to protection is keeping skin moisturized. In different seasons, the temperatures and the humidity levels vary, affecting your skin in different ways. The health of your skin depends on its barrier function, which is why it is important to protect this barrier. Optimal functioning of the skin is to absorb and lock in moisture.”

Staying hydrated, especially during the warmer months is of utmost importance. In addition to consuming adequate amounts of water, both doctors recommend taking the time to find the products that complement and work well with your unique skin type. 

When it comes to our skin, a one-size-fits-all approach will not do. “Not all skin care routines, products and even famous brands work well for everyone. What works like magic for your friends, may not work nicely for you. Some medications and even skin care products, for example those containing retinol, can make your skin more sensitive to sun and sun damage,” says Dr. Samizadeh.

Shanghai solution

“Hot, humid weather can cause a rash when your pores and sweat ducts are blocked and can’t release sweat, causing skin to become irritated. Other causes of heat rash include friction, clothing that traps sweat, thick lotions and creams, so it is best to avoid them,” advises Dr. Samizadeh. She recommends re-evaluating some of your winter staples and making changes for summer. Heavy foundations and moisturizers can be replaced with more lightweight products.

Marie Amiand, founder of Lu Ming Tang, a high-end skincare brand that combines western technology with eastern tea philosophy, offers products providing relief to those living in Shanghai, a climate sometimes less than ideal for skin health. A former consultant for high-end international beauty brands, Amiand suffered a personal crisis, which led her to develop a skincare line tailored to life in the city. Pollution can dry out the skin, compromise barrier function and cause some of the early signs of premature skin aging. However, the high levels of antioxidants found in tea, blended with natural ingredients and plant extracts, can help slow or prevent the effects of free radicals. Taking advantage of local resources and technology, Amiand followed her dream and created a tea-infused skincare line:

“After ten years of intense city life, I fell sick, intoxicated by pollution. My son just born, I decided to step out of my urban life and seek a new path to vitality. On this quest for harmony and healing, I traveled to the magnificent tea valley of Longjing. There, I discovered a spring of vitality, a well of strength, and a state of well-being that had been lacking from my life for so long.”

So, what's next? Practicla steps you can take to ensure you get glowing summer skin.