Warmer weather means changes in our skin for both us and our little ones, but it doesn’t necessarily mean submitting completely to troubled skin. Though allergy- and heat-related pimples may be unavoidable for some of us, there are a host of DIY projects and low-maintenance products that can easily save us from the more visible of our skincare woes.
It’s not about buying more or using less product. Just like with vitamins and nutrients, it’s important to learn the secrets behind skincare items and tips so that you can tailor them best to suit your own particular qualms. Face is getting over-reflective? We’ve got you covered. Oiliness leading to ingrown hairs? We can talk about that too. Whatever the summer does to your skin, we’re sure that a quick glance through this life-hack checklist will lead to something you can apply to your own regime immediately: you can thank us later.
Oiliness is something most of us deal with as we start perspiring more in the summer, but no amount of repetitive clay masks will purge you of something that is both natural and expected. It’s a good idea to steam your face habitually to open up your pores and soften all the minute debris that’s stuck within before you do cleansing masks, because it ups the efficacy of the mask itself and ensures that your skin doesn’t need too intense a scrub. A hot shower usually generates enough steam to open up our pores, but for the rest of us who need a mid-day fix, steaming your face is as simple as boiling some water and hunching over the bowl with a towel covering your head like a blanket. be sure not to lean too far in: steam can feel good to begin with, but there’s a fine line between a healthy flush on your face and your nose starting to cook.
Blot, Blot, Blot
From pressed powders to oil-blotting papers, there are a range of options for purse-friendly products that will also help remove any excess oils from your face. The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Blotting Tissues are perfect for touch ups on the run, while many brands are also coming up with oil-capture powders that soak up any excess oils with just a dab. That being said, remember to only spot-treat when it’s called for: an oil slick on your face may require blotting, but there’s nothing to fear about the occasional spot of perspiration or dewiness. Over-cleansing your face of oils will just encourage more oil production as your sebaceous glands get confused about your natural oil balance.
Embrace Tea Tree
A naturally anti-bacterial powerhouse, tea-tree is also a powerful healer, used in many cases to treat both persistent acne and the scars of pimples from days past. The only problem with this product is how effective it is: whether treating inflamed pimples or curing open cuts, it’s important to note that a few drops of tea tree oil go a long way. Too much and the oil dries out your skin, encouraging further oil production–it’s always smart to dilute tea tree oil with either a different base oil or water, just to ensure that your delicate skin is never getting a stronger treatment than it needs. A couple of drops in the water while taking a bath or steaming your face will refresh you to no end, while taking care of anything from persistent foot odours to head lice. Tea tree is a great product to introduce to those in the oilier inner circles of advanced puberty, but remember to teach them moderation–hopefully, very few of our tykes will have to deal with acne or hormonal puberty for very long.
Make The Switch
If the weather can change with the months, so should your skincare regime. By this point in the game, you should have already swapped out heavier creams and serums for more lightweight lotions and emulsions to compensate for the fact that your skin will need less to drink in the coming months. While there’s never a good enough reason to skimp on SPF and you should feel free to wear all the makeup you feel like, it’s good to refresh your regime every spring and summer. Heavy lips and thick foundation can take a back seat while you switch over to a more natural look that you can easily build with a pressed powder and a translucent bronzer; at times like these, multi-tasking products are the best, like makeup with SPF already included or primers that moisturise so that you don’t have to. It’s a common misconception that people with oily skin should stick to oil-free products, but it’s not good to starve your face that way–all you have to do is switch to a lighter, less intense regime, and your skin will naturally start to regulate its oil production itself.
Exfoliation is too often simplified into extremes, but just like you shouldn’t leave it out entirely, there’s no need to exfoliate on a daily basis either. Face scrubs are great physical exfoliators, but stay away from anything that uses ground walnut shells or fruit seeds as a scrubbing agent, as these aren’t suitable for the delicate skin on your face and will cause microtears in the long run. Err on the side of the gentler exfoliators and choose sugar scrubs instead, or even embrace a chemical exfoliator. Salicylic acid and AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) are both trusted chemical exfoliators, as long as they aren’t too concentrated in the product of your choice. We exfoliate to slough off dead cells from the topmost layer of our skin–too much buildup and not only will your pores cry out in suffocation, but most of your skincare products also won’t be able to reach your skin, resulting in more problems as the buildup keeps growing. Twice or thrice a week should help keep your skin baby smooth.
Keep It Clean
Re-evaluate how you clean your skin: is there any chance that you’re over-cleansing? Cleanser talk also gets oversimplified too often into false oil-free-vs-foaming dichotomies, but the most important rule is to find a cleanser that leaves your skin soft and clean, not stripped and parched. Contrary to popular belief, oily-skin-havers can also use oil cleansers, and just because it’s oil-free doesn’t mean it’s taking care of your skin. Make sure to pick a cleanser that uses caring, balancing oils (wheat germ, rose oil, soy) as opposed to fat-focused coconut or shea, which work better in the harsher winter months. Stay away from alcohol-based foam products as they can be drying, and when in doubt, never hesitate to plunge into the “sensitive skin” aisle at the supermart. Usually chock-full of cool products that harness the powers of natural ingredients like cucumber or seaweed-based oils, these products can help you reset your skin after it’s proven problematic, as long as you listen to your skin and let it tell you what it needs.
Clay masks are great at absorbing any excess oils, and occasionally exfoliating as well; gel masks are good at soothing your skin without overloading it with moisture. There’s little need for deeply hydrating cream masks in the summer time, but everyone can benefit from the weekly or twice-a-week face mask that takes care of your key concerns. Sunburn can be easily treated with a gel mask, pure aloe gel or any combination of cucumber and unflavoured yoghurt, while emergency breakouts are often calmed down by charcoal- or clay-based concoctions. That being said, it’s important to pay attention to your skin instead of masking blindly: once in a while, a hydrating night mask will go a long way in covering up either stressed or overexposed skin. Be sure to multi-mask as well, giving each area of your face the exact attention it deserves.
Above all, it’s important to remember that oily skin is something almost everyone deals with, and it’s never good to try and obliterate all the oil your face has to offer. Though these tips are meant to help you navigate through the skincare waters on the days when you need it most, it’s more important to truly learn how your skin functions, from the level of sunlight it can tolerate without burning to how much it perspires when not in direct heat. Ultimately, it’s up to you to take care of yourself a the sun just gets warmer and warmer–remember that skincare is never about expenditure or competing with others, but about loving yourself and giving your own body the love and respect it deserves.