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When the temps finally soar and we soak up some covetable sun, we also need to re-evaluate our skin care routine. Those thick creams and heavy concealers need to get stashed in your beauty closet in favour of light, fresh-as-air formulas. But for those who have skin that veers more on the sensitive side, summer can mean stressing about irritated skin, dry patches, burns and redness. To help maneuver through the hot months, we enlisted the advice of Dr. Poonam Rajan of the Rosedale Dermatology Centre (drpaulcohen.com) and a spokesperson for Simple Skincare (simpleskincare.ca), for the best tips on prepping sensitive skin for summer. Delicate skin beauties, take note.
Sensitive summer skin care checklist:
“With increased sun exposure and warmer temperatures during the summer months, sensitive skin may be more susceptible to redness, flushing, sensitivity to the sun, and breakouts,” says Dr. Rajan. Without fail, Dr. Rajan says these are the key factors to maintaining healthy sensitive skin during the summer.
1. What to avoid.
“For most sensitive skin types it is helpful to avoid perfumes, dyes and harsh chemicals,” says Dr. Rajan. Sensitive skin is different from person to person, and you will know your skin the best. If certain products irritate (AHAs and glycolic peels for example), skip them and opt for less harsh treatments and ingredients. Dr. Rajan recommends searching for “ingredients that moisturize, are anti-inflammatory and are antioxidants,” to maintain healthy, strong skin.
2. Sunscreen is a must for everyone, but especially those with sensitive skin.
“Broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB that have formulations that suit sensitive skin types are best,” explains DR. Rajan. “If you have sensitive skin, try a small amount of product on your arm and check for any reaction up to 48 hours later.” And don’t forget to reapply sunscreen regularly.
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3. Exfoliation is key – but choose the right exfoliator for your touchy skin.
Many exfoliators can be rough and irritating to delicate skin, so be sure to purchase one specifically designed for sensitive skin. Dr Rajan also recommends trying facial wipes that exfoliate if scrubs are too harsh.
4. Switch up your routine
Every skin type should make changes to their skin care routine each season, and during spring and summer months sensitive skin can also come with a new host of problems, including a round of breakouts. “Individuals with an acne prone sensitive skin type may consider switching to an oil-free, non-comedogenic gel face wash and a light texture moisturizing lotion, to counteract increased oiliness of the skin in the summer months,” explains Dr. Rajan. Switching to a lightweight moisturizer and a gentle face wash will also help make the transition smoother.
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5. How to treat irritated skin
If your skin gets over sensitized (from sun, heat or the wind) the first thing you should do is eliminate the cause. That means step out of the sun, wind or heat and give your skin a chance to recuperate (sorry, beach time). Then treat the area as gently as possible. “A cool compresses can help ease the burning sensation and redness that can be experienced with exposure to warm temperatures and sun,” suggests Dr. Rajan. “Cleanse your skin with a gentle moisturizing face wash and follow this with a soothing moisturizer to calm the skin.” Be sure to use added protection the next time you hit the beach.
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