5 essential steps to save your skin this summer

The harsh Australian sun can give our skin a real beating over summer. Here’s how to keep your biggest organ in top shape.

Love the great outdoors, but don’t care so much for wrinkles (or far worse, skin cancer)?

We asked skincare experts to how to keep the “character lines” to a minimum, and ensure your skin stays protected and hydrated.

1. Cover up

If you’re in the sun, you’ll want to don a hat, cover up wherever possible and liberally apply SPF50+ sunscreen, says The Dermal Diary skin therapist Isabella Loneragan.

She suggests exercising early in the morning or late at night during summer to avoid direct sunlight, but still wearing sunscreen.

“UV just bounces off everything. It bounces off cars, off the pavement,” she says. “Even if you’re driving in the car.”

2. Stick to high sun protection

Think your moisturiser with sunscreen included will cut it? No chance, says Isabella, who notes moisturisers usually only offer SPF15 protection.

Instead, she recommends buying a hydrating sunscreen with a higher sun protection factor rating.

For added protection, start with an antioxidant, such as a Vitamin C serum, then apply your moisturiser before finishing off with the sunscreen, she says.

3. Manage external skin ‘aggressors’

Summer time can wreak havoc on our skin, says Isabella.

“People are out and about, they’re drinking, eating, at the beach, back in the office,” she says. “That’s a lot of environmental assault on our biggest organ that often people don’t look after very much.”

She suggests giving your skin a helping hand by making sure you’re taking enough essential fatty acids – such as Omega 3, found in food such as nuts and fish.

Zinc will also help combat external stresses, along with inflammation, says Isabella.

4. Go summer-specific with your skincare products

Anna Marie Greco, of Skin Clinica, says people often forget they should change their moisturiser according to the seasons.

“In summer our skin’s sweating a lot more, and also producing more oils,” she says, adding that a rich cream can overload the skin in the hotter months and lead to breakouts.

“I suggest swapping to a lighter moisturiser, something that’s still hydrating but isn’t thick and heavy, or loaded with shea butter, coconut oil and other oils.”

Nighttime is also best for your anti-ageing routine, which might include applying retinol, glycolic acid or lactic acid products.

5. Glow from the inside out

Anna Marie says the skin, brain and gut are linked in complex ways, and what you put in your body affects your skin.

She recommends drinking plenty of water, eating lean proteins and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, while going easy on the sugar and carbs.

Likewise, minimising your stress levels, perhaps through mindfulness, yoga or other relaxing activities, should lead to better sleep and a healthier glow.

“They’re all important in reducing inflammation in your body and giving it the opportunity to repair itself,” says Anna Marie.

“The body can’t repair itself if it’s not properly nourished or rested.”

Written by Larissa Ham.