Dermalogica education manager Danielle Edwards is used to dishing out expert advice on how to achieve healthy skin. It’s no surprise then that she isn’t a fan of sun exposure. “The sun is essentially a free radical, so it can get into the skin cell and cause havoc,” says Edwards. “UV rays damage the elastin that gives skin its bounce so the end result is sagging skin. UV also stimulates the production of pigment, which leads to blotchy, uneven skin tone.”
To prevent sun damage, it’s essential to wear sunblock all year round and be conscious of not over exposing the skin to UV. Be sure to shop for a sunscreen that matches your particular skin type to avoid clogging pores and causing breakouts.
To treat skin for summer sun damage, Edwards recommends looking for ingredients like retinol (also known as Vitamin A) and peptides. “Retinol is able to reverse the signs of aging by stimulating new, healthy skin cells to be born, removing the old damaged ones and smoothing the skin tone,” she says. Peptides, meanwhile, can stimulate collagen and elastin, which are affected by the sun, and also treat pigmentation.
To prep for cooler weather this fall, Edwards recommends products that will increase hydration as well as nourish and protect the skin from the elements. “Using a great exfoliant—something that is gentle enough to use every day—will keep the skin fresh,” she says. “It’s also a great time to have your skin routine re-assessed by a professional, so that it’s ready for the change. Just like you change your wardrobe you may need to change your products!”
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Hydration is always top of mind for Sara deRuiter, spa director for Body Blitz Spa in Toronto, which has downtown divas therapeutic water hopping their way to wellness. “Our skin is often a reflection of what’s happening on the inside,” she says. “Your skin will show the signs when you’re lacking sleep or hydration, burning the midnight oil at work, or not eating well.”
At Body Blitz, a warm sea salt pool aids in the elimination of toxins and helps replenish the body with essential minerals, while an aromatherapy steam room increases circulation and cleanses and tones the skin. Yet even deRuiter can’t emphasize enough the importance of protecting your skin from the sun as a leading factor in healthy skin. Protecting your skin is something that should be at the forefront of every woman’s mind when they head out for the day,” she says. “Wearing a hat and walking on the shady side of the street is also a great way to prevent sun damage.”
To treat skin for sun damage, deRuiter recommends exfoliating the skin to remove any dead skin cells, followed by a hydrating lotion to add much needed moisture after the drying effects of the sun. “Argan oil is famous for its hydrating and revitalizing properties,” she says. “It strengthens the elasticity of the skin, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and improves the skin’s overall health and vitality.”
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As artistic director for Kerastase and co-founder of the award-winning Pure Salon in Montreal, Daniel Benoit certainly knows how to give good hair. No surprise then that the sun is one of his worst enemies. “When hair is exposed to sunlight, it becomes very rough and porous, and loses its gloss,” he says. “Once the hair is weakened, UV rays penetrate to the heart of the fibre and damage the keratin, causing split ends and brittleness. If the hair is dyed, the colour quickly fades.”
To avoid sun damage, Benoit recommends looking for products that protect and strengthen hair, retain hydration, block UV rays and provide vitamins to retain sheen.
For post-sun treatment, shop for repairing shampoos and products that restore suppleness and colour. “These treatments are extremely effective, not just in summer but year-round,” says Benoit, who also recommends styling protection as well. “Always remember to apply thermal protection, like Kerastase Ciment Thermique before using the dryer or flat iron.”
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