The Delicate Art of Reviving Summer Skin

Bring damaged skin back to life this summer with specialist-approved products formulated for heat and humidity.

Article by Victoria Pearson

Guy Lab briefs. Bottega Veneta shirt, jeans and rings, and Celine by Hedi Slimane cuffs. Photography by Simon Eeles.Guy Lab briefs. Bottega Veneta shirt, jeans and rings, and Celine by Hedi Slimane cuffs. Photography by Simon Eeles.

Despite summer’s myriad weather-related benefits – see: longer days, warmer wakeups and less layers – the season has a tendency to wreak havoc on our skin (the trifecta of heat, humidity and liberally-applied sunscreen often to blame). Across her Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles clinics, skin specialist Melanie Grant sees a wide range of summer-related concerns, the most common being “pigmentation and uneven skin tone, blemishes and congestion, dehydration and, of course, sunburn”. And for Melbourne-based medical and cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Katherine Armour, the season paints a similar picture. “I love summer, and live for this time of year. However, many of us need to change up our skincare [for the season],” she advises, echoing Grant’s list of December-through-February complexion woes. Though we can’t control the elements, there are ways to fight back. Here, a guide to achieving radiant skin while the heat is on.

Get One Step Ahead

Avoiding pigmentation is a game of prevention, and both Grant and Armour recommend applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. “Sunscreens have come a really long way, there are so many new generation formulas and textures,” says Grant. For sensitive types, Dr Babor Repair Cellular Protecting Balm offers SPF 50 sun protection without compromising your skin tone, while Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+, blended with super-active ingredient, Pentavitin, offers an added dose of hydration for those suffering from dryness. If you do start to notice an increase in hyperpigmentation, Armour points to multitasking, over-the-counter cosmeceutical ingredients. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), for example, assists in strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier, and can be found in The Ordinary 10% + Zinc 1% serum or Armour’s own brand’s Complete Daily Armour, while Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) helps to fade dark spots, a key ingredient in Aspect Dr Complete Pigment Plus and SkinCeuticals’ cult favourite C E Ferulic Serum. To address general tonal inconsistencies, Augustinus Bader’s The Face Oil firms and strengthens the skin (sans-filmy residue).

Be Gentle on your Breakouts

Where heat-related breakouts might have us running to our bathroom cabinets, Armour warns too many layers of skincare can actually block pores and increase congestion (even more so now that we’re wearing masks). “For many of us, we’ll be able to skip our daily moisturiser over the hot months and perhaps go straight from a serum to applying our sunscreen,” she says. Armour encourages a double cleanse for your nightly ritual to remove excess sweat, sunscreen, makeup and pollution, and suggests gentler formulations for summer such as La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane cleanser or Dr Natasha Cook Cosmeceuticals Concentrated cleanser.

Apologise to Your Skin

If you do find yourself nursing a sunburn this season, the first port of call is to hydrate. “Sunburn will draw fluid away from the skin’s surface, so ensure you replenish and re-hydrate with lots of water to compensate … Think of it as a way of apologising to your poor skin.” While your burn heals, it’s best to avoid products with actives (such as retinol), acids and fragrances, as this can disturb the healing process and lead to irritation. Armour’s go-to soothing moisturisers include Avene XeraCalm AD Lipid Replenishing Balm, Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume and La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Don’t underestimate what’s inside urges internal skincare naturopath, Chloe Wilkinson (The Good Health Co.), who advocates a holistic approach to combating summer skin woes. “It’s important to set your skin up for success from the inside out so topical products can work properly,” she explains. Our collective tendency to over-imbibe during warmer months, for example, often leads to gut lining inflammation, a lack of nutrient absorption and subsequent skin imbalances. Along with increased hydration and a nutrient-rich diet, Wilkinson suggests adding a powdered supplement to your daily intake such as The Beauty Chef’s Gut Primer Inner Beauty Support, blended with slippery elm and milk thistle, repairing the gut lining from the inside and allowing your best summer skin to shine through.