Q&A with Sulis Skincare Specialist Emilia
Summer Skincare Essentials
The sun is good for us in so many ways, but there’s a fine line between healthy sun exposure and when the sun becomes damaging and even dangerous to our health. Emilia shares her tips for relishing that summer glow and not jeopardising the health of your skin.
How can the effects of sun exposure be seen on our skin?
The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reach our skin: ultraviolet A (UV-Ageing) and ultraviolet B (UV-Burning). Both types damage unprotected skin, but how they go about doing that differs.
UVA rays penetrates the skin on a deeper level, steadily destroying key substances in skin that give it its firmness and elasticity. UVA rays are a leading cause of wrinkles, pigmentation and pre-aging skin. UVB rays are responsible for giving us that golden colour but they are also the cause for sunburned and red skin.
A common concern that I see is hyperpigmentation. If you are noticing patches of skin becoming darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin, then you may be experiencing hyperpigmentation. The main cause for this is sun exposure however other causes may be hormonal such as pregnancy or the use of certain medications and treatments.
There are 4 different types of hyperpigmentation:
Melasma– large irregular spots usually sitting symmetrically around the eyebrows, temples, cheekbones, chin and arms. These spots usually fade in winter but reappear as we’re exposed to the sun in the warmer months. This condition is usually due to hormonal changes like pregnancy and birth control pills.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation– flat discoloured areas that darken when you’re in the sun. These can be seen on areas of the skin where trauma has occurred such as acne or injuries and can also be caused by medications, some cosmetic treatments such as dermabrasion and very strong peels that damaged the skin barrier.
Age and Sun Spots – These spots are smaller and can vary in colour from brown or black to pale yellow or even red and are the result of prolonged sun exposure. They appear with age and repeated tanning leading to less elasticity in the skin, larger pores and visible veins.
Freckles – Often seen as cute and desirable looking spots, these are more common in blonde and red headed people and are usually genetically caused. They too will darken during sunbathing in areas of the skin with higher concentrations of melanin, usually in the middle of the face around the nose and cheek area.
What can be done to prevent sun damage?
There are a number of things we can all be doing to prevent the effects of sun exposure on our skin and to ensure our skin is looking and feeling its best.
Growing up in Sweden and living in Australia has shown me the effects of what too little and too much sun can have on a person’s health and well being. I’m very positive towards spending time in the sun but it requires you to be sun smart!
Avoid those hottest times of the day, cover up and seek a good natural sunscreen that will protect both you and the environment. If you’re a surfer or going to spend a lot of time in the water, zinc is your best option as it won’t easily wash away.
My favourite piece of advice is to help the skins own sun protection mechanisms to become stronger and more resilient to the heat and the sun. A healthy and hydrated skin has better chance surviving in the sun than a dry and already weakened skin. So, if you know you’re going to be in the sun a lot, I’d recommend prepping the skin a few weeks before with hydration and antioxidants like Vitamin C and E. I love the Tulasara Renew Morning Cream and of course our Aveda Vitamin C Facial.
Is there anything that can treat the signs of sun damaged skin?
For anyone who might be experiencing a type of hyperpigmentation, the safest way to treat this is to use products that help stop the production of melanin in the skin together with exfoliation products to help remove the dead skin. I also love products that have an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect on the skin after sun exposure.
Keep in mind that reducing pigmentations in the skin takes time. Quick fix products could cause a lot of permanent damage. Patience is the key!
Wrinkles, dryness, sensitivity and loss of elasticity in your skin would benefit from mild but effective exfoliation techniques and lots of moisture and firming agents to get rid of that dull skin on the surface and to boost back the elasticity.
I’d recommend using serums and concentrates which penetrates deeper down in the skin than your normal moisturiser since the molecules are smaller. Masks are also good to incorporate to make your skin routine more effective as well as antioxidant rich crèmes.
How do you manage your summer skin care at home?
Living in Byron Bay, I’m a lover of all things sun, surf and summer so I have to ensure I’m taking the right care of my skin at home. Here are my recommendations for an at home skin care routine:
I’m a huge fan of the Aveda Tulasara concentrates which have smaller molecules and have a really noticeable effect on the skin. They can also be layered on top of each other to create the results you want.
The Calming Concentrate is great for sun damaged skin since it instantly calms the skin with pomegranate and raspberry stem cells. It also helps to strengthen and restore skins natural protective barrier which may be damaged from the sun. I keep mine in a cool place and use a few drops as a first step in my moisturising routine.
Another concentrate I’d recommend for sun damaged skin is the Brightening Concentrate which visibly evens out the skin tone and helps reduce discolouration over time. This product contains glucosamine to help cell turnover and molasses and liquorice root to refuse dark spots.
Last but not least is the Firming Concentrate that instantly firms the look of your skin with the help of peptides and safflower. This product also helps strengthen skins natural defence against environmental stress.
I also recommend incorporating a good exfoliating product that helps to remove the dead skin on the surface, like the Exfoliant from Aveda that can be used every day before your products to ensure the products are not just sitting on top of your dead skin. It also helps to prime the skin before putting any make up on!
Since the serums and concentrates are supposed to go deep down into the skin they have to be followed up with a moisturiser and sun protection on top. Don’t forget the delicate eye area, it’s easy to get pigmentation here if not using sunglasses. The Energizing Eye Cream from Aveda contains liquorish root extract which helps to even out both dark circles and pigmentations around the eye.
Which facial would you recommend for post-summer skin?
I’d recommend the Dual Exfoliation or the Vitamin C facial depending on your skin and what kind of sun damage you have.
The Vitamin C facial is amazing for replenishing sun exposed skin since it’s full of antioxidants to fight all the free radicals that you get with sun exposure and not only that, it also helps to boost collagen. In this treatment a massage is performed with a mask which contains glucosamine, which helps to break down discolouration and hyperpigmentation in the skin.
The Dual Exfoliation treatment is different and is mostly focused on the exfoliating process of the skin. This treatment also helps to even out the skin tone and leaves the skin feeling brighter, clearer and smoother.
You will feel and see a difference after one treatment however, I’d recommend doing either of the facials in a series of at least 4 treatments to get the best results!
Summer Facial Offer
Book a 60-minute facial at Sulis Lifestyle Salon & Spa, Byron Bay and receive an additional complimentary 30-minute facial during your treatment.
Call 02 6680 8801 or email [email protected] to book your appointment. Mention this offer to redeem the complimentary 30-minute facial. Offer valid until the 29th February 2020.