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The heatwave is on its way. Katie Service, author of The Beauty Brief and Editor-in-Chief of Harrods, explains you can do to ready your skin for the heat.
We may all feel 120% ready for summer by now - those Bottega mules impatiently shuffling around inside their pristinely packed shoebox – but our skin may take a little more time to warm up to the reality of the summer months. Increased stress levels and screen time this past winter, though we may not be aware of it, will have increased levels of inflammation in our skin - the ultimate ageing factor - and compromised our natural skin defences. Putting some time in to rebuild them before things heat up and UV levels rise, therefore, is no fool’s errand.
So, before you book those flights to Ibiza, or start on a holiday reading list, here are some summer skincare adjustments to diarise.
High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can trigger inflammatory conditions in skin, disrupting the natural cell function and its ability to protect itself from climate aggressors. While headlines and world crises sadly show no sign of abating, finding some skincare that can help us manage the effects of stress seems a good place to start.
The skin stress-buster ingredient favoured by beauty editors at the moment is Centella Asiatica – an age-old botanical often referred to as Tiger Grass or Gotukola. One of its primary compounds is Madecassoside, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that when used in topical skincare can enhance the effects of Vitamin C (great for photodamage, aka sun damage) and increase the hydrating and skin-soothing capacity of Hyaluronic Acid. Madecassoside has outstanding wound-healing properties and studies suggest it can dampen down key agents of inflammation called cytokines.
A mani pedi is a must as we step into the sunshine of course, but it’s the skincare variety we’re interested in here. Top coats and facial mists are a beauty category that have rocketed in popularity and variety since the pandemic. These superhero ‘face shields’ have been formulated to either physically, or chemically, act as a second skin: boosting natural defensive capacities, adding an extra layer of resilience to the skin’s natural lipid barrier, and especially coming into their own when UV levels rise.
Number one on your essential skincare product list should be Sisley’s All Day All Year, which can be applied over the top of your skincare and contains rice, photosqualane and encapsulated UVA and B filters to re-enforce the skin’s barrier and limit oxidative stress.
This Works' Stress Check CBD Face Shield, which was specifically formulated as a response to mask wearing and can be misted over makeup or throughout the day, contains Hemp Derived CBD Isolate, Agastache Mexicana Flower and Hyaluronic Acid, which together leave skin feeling more comfortable, reduces irritation and redness, as well as supplying spray-on resilience to external stressors.
While we’re on the subject of the surface layers of your skin – how balanced is your microbiome? Dermatologists and facialists agree that the bacteria that lives on your skin – your ‘me-co system’ – is essential for healthy functioning skin defences. The moment that it falls out of balance is when flare ups or cracks in your ‘interface’ can give way to more permanent damage in the skin’s structure. We also know that UV radiation can alter the balance of the microbes on the skin.
Luckily, beauty has well and truly caught the pre-and-probiotic bug over the past few years. It’s now easy to get hold of serums and moisturisers that feed the good bacteria living on our skin, or influence its culture.
Biossance’s Squalance + Probiotic Gel Moisturiser is particularly pleasing to use in the warmer months because of its ultra-lightweight texture. Microbiome skincare is no replacement for SPF, mark you, but it can work in tandem with it to efficiently protect from UV disruption.
Biome boosting doesn’t just include topicals: “Try to focus on including a wide variety of polyphenols in the diet, which can have a positive impact on our gut microbiome and the gut-skin connection,” suggests nutritional therapist and author Eve Kalinik. “Polyphenols are special plant chemicals that often give plants their colour - think betacarotene in sweet potatoes, anthocyanin in blueberries and lycopene in tomatoes to name just a few. These help to nourish the gut microbiome and provide protection against free radical damage that can impact on the skin.” Colour is the key focus: making sure you get a rainbow of foods into your diet will achieve this naturally. LYMA's Supplement contains an added dose of the patented ingredient Lycored Lycopene™ for added biome support.
Kalinik is also a fan of dried herbs and spices because, she says, “these pack a punch in terms of their polyphenol content and are convenient store cupboard ingredients. Plus, they bring additional flavour to summer dishes. So it’s a win win."
Cold laser treatments are a great (and pain free) way to re-programme your skin cells in preparation for summer. Proven to heal, rejuvenate and reduce inflammation, they increase cellular energy and kick-start cell life cycles, essentially creating new skin. With its 500mW infra-red cold laser and four antibacterial blue LEDs, the LYMA Laser can reach the deepest layer of the dermis, along with the fat and muscle tissues in the face, to stimulate bio-transformational cellular renewal. Or, if you’d like it without the science speak: reduced fine lines, and fresher-looking skin that is operating at the level of a 20 year old. Plus, the Laser has been formulated to work on all skin tones of all melanin levels, with none of the risks of stimulating hyperpigmentation or malasma (which other laser treatments can.)
This holistic health system, based in Ayurvedic medical practice, brings together 5,000 years of wellness wisdom. With Vogue Business and Business of Fashion predicting Ay-Beauty’s steady rise in Western consumer consciousness this year, and Estee Lauder and Puig both investing heavily in Ay-Beauty brands, it’s certainly time to check out ingredients long-loved by Ayurvedic devotees. These include:
Increasing your body's supply of keratin, a crucial component of the skin’s defensive armour, will ensure your complexion can better maintain moisture levels when hopping between flights and hot climes. The LYMA Supplement contains Cynatine® HNS – a form of keratin with an amino acid structure that makes it truly bioavailable to humans – which will work more effectively, therefore, than any other on the market. Not only will it give your skin a real glow and dewy plumpness, keratin will also strengthen nails and nourish your hair, leaving your mane glossy and shiny for summer.
A simple tip to end on but one that is especially hot weather friendly. Although a piping hot flannel may be your cleansing ritual - and washing your face directly in the shower may be easy and relaxing at the end of a long day - the hot temperature will be sensitising your skin and impairing the skin’s defence over the summer months. The American Academy of Dermatology advises using lukewarm water. Or - if you’re a Wim Hoff fan - ice cold water offers a circulation-boosting facial cryo effect that is even better.