There’s a reason your skin is clearer and less prone to breakouts in the summer
Written by Morgan Fargo
Dr Ross Perry sets the record straight on why your skin is clearer and calmer during the summer, as well as how to tailor your skincare routine for better weather.
Summer brings with it many a good thing – longer days, BBQs, brighter mornings and the joy of not bringing a puffer jacket just in case. Because, aside from hay fever, sticky backs and the potential for sunburn (something that can happen at any time of the year, mind), there really does seem to be a glut of better days floating around.
But, does the warmer weather bring calmer, clearer skin with it, too? Largely an anecdotal phenomenon – my friends and I have counted down the days to warmer weather, knowing it will bring fewer spots and less inflammation, for years – I put the question to an expert in the field: Dr Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics.
Surprisingly, my friends and I weren’t far off in our estimations. Keep reading for why your skin really might seem less reactive and inflamed during the sunnier months.
3 reasons your skin might seem clearer in the summer
1. Fewer temperature fluctuations
“In the winter, our skin battles more environmental factors, such as central heating, which can dry the skin out. For example, going from a warm home to colder weather outside, where the humidity levels are low, the hydration levels in our skin drop, causing it to become more sensitive, prone to flakiness and, ultimately, look more dull and lacklustre,” explains Dr Perry.
2. Cooler showers and baths
Understandably, bathing in hot water in the winter is one of the most cathartic pleasures afforded to us by the inclement weather. But is it doing our skin any good? Short answer: no.
Not only does it contribute to the temperature fluctuations mentioned previously but hot water can strip the skin of natural oils, causing it to feel more dry and sensitive.
3. Anti-inflammatory UV light
Surprisingly, ultraviolet light (the type emitted by the sun) can have a positive effect on the skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
“Some people find that the vitamin D from the sun during the summer can help to clear acne. This is likely due to the anti-inflammatory effects of UV light, which work to reduce swelling and redness.”
However, this doesn’t mean you can skimp on the sun cream. SPF should be worn year-round
“Look for a broad spectrum SPF which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Choose one that’s rich in antioxidants, which will help with the build-up of dirt and bacteria during the day,” recommends Dr Perry.
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How to tweak your skincare routine for summer
“When the weather is hotter, the skin tends to produce more sebum, making it appear more greasy and susceptible to breakouts. It’s important to change your daily skincare regime slightly to really keep the skin clean,” explains Dr Perry.
Now, don’t think this means a giant reset of everything you’ve been doing and using. Even amending your evening skincare routine to include a thorough double cleanse – for which you can absolutely use the same product twice – could be the difference between environmental pollution, dirt, debris, make-up and SPF sitting on the skin overnight, leading to unwanted breakouts.
Rethink how you cleanse your skin
“I would suggest using a cleanser for normal skin, such as a foaming one. Creamier ones tend to leave a residue of fats and lipids on the skin, which is more beneficial during the colder winter months,” suggests Dr Perry.
“Cleanse morning and night and if your skin is feeling additionally greasy opt for a double cleanse in the evening to ensure you’ve gotten rid of excess dirt and unclogged the pores.”
Don’t forget about the extras
“If you don’t already, use a gentle toner after cleansing to keep the skin oil-free and clean, while also reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
“Exfoliating a couple of times a week is also advised to get rid of any unwanted dead skin cells and excess dirt. For moisturiser, keep it light and if you are prone to breakouts then a salicylic acid serum could help, too.”
SPF should be worn daily, regardless of the weather
“You must use an SPF year-round, not just in the summer months. Try to find a lightweight, gentle sunscreen with minimum SPF30 protection that has UVA and UVB protection. For oilier skin that’s more prone to blackheads and breakouts, a lightweight texture will work better.
“Wearing make-up with added SPF is a great idea but its protection is limited. A dedicated sunblock is preferable to be used year-round as part of your normal skincare routine and quite often SPF can also act as a great primer under make-up.”
Main image: Getty
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