A Dermatologist’s Guide to Healthy Summer Skin

by | Nov 8, 2023

By Dermatologist Dr Zena Malinga

The summer months usher in longer days and abundant sunshine, tempting us to revel in the great outdoors. Coinciding with November’s designation as World Healthy Skin Month, we seize the opportunity to shed light on the best practices for skincare as we welcome the warmer weather.

Just as we adapt our wardrobe choices to suit the changing seasons, our skincare routines also require adjustments. Soaring temperatures and heightened humidity levels lead to increased sweating and oil production, while dry summer climates can leave the skin looking lacklustre and dehydrated. The foundation of a sound skincare regimen should harmonise with these weather conditions, typically involving a cleanser, moisturiser, an optional targeted serum, and sunscreen.

During the sun-soaked summer, sun protection is non-negotiable as we spend more time outdoors creating wholesome memories. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly during the sun’s zenith, can result in tanning and sunburns, affecting children and adults alike. Furthermore, it heightens the risk of developing skin cancers in the future. Safeguard the entire family by generously applying sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.

For the summer season, opt for gel or fluid-consistency sunscreens, making the application more convenient and leaving the skin with a matte finish. Consider loose-fitting, ultraviolet-protective clothing and accessories like wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. These items protect the frequently exposed areas such as the arms, face, and eyes. Adopt the simple yet crucial practice of regular mole checks, as it can be a life-saving measure. Keep a vigilant eye on moles to detect any changes in size, colour, or shape, and promptly consult a dermatologist should you notice any concerning alterations.

Intense heat is a well-documented contributor to eczema flares. Allergens and irritants like pollen and dust can exacerbate these flares. Children with eczema require extra care during the summer months. Opt for a mild, hypoallergenic cream cleanser or soap substitute when bathing them. After washing, gently pat the skin dry with a cotton towel and follow up with a moisturiser. Heavy ointment-based moisturisers, favoured in the winter, may not be as appealing in the summer, potentially leaving the skin greasy and sticky. In warmer weather, lighter creams containing moisturising ingredients such as ceramides and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid are preferred to preserve the skin’s barrier while retaining moisture.

Pregnant women may encounter worsening hormonal acne and pigmentation. Consider using a gentle, foaming cleanser to combat oil and buildup in the summer. Follow this with a lightweight fluid or gel moisturiser. Lastly, use a non-comedogenic sunscreen to protect against the harmful effects of the summer sun while averting clogged pores. For specific skincare concerns during pregnancy, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist, as many skincare products may not be safe for expecting mothers.

As the age-old saying reminds us, “You are what you eat,” and this holds particularly true for achieving healthy skin. In addition to proper skincare, maintaining skin health requires adequate hydration through water intake and a diet rich in antioxidants.

Maintaining healthy skin during the summer isn’t just about looking good; it’s a fundamental aspect of your overall well-being. Use these guidelines to prioritise your skin health and confidently approach the warm summer months.

With thanks to Dermatologist, Dr Zena Malinga for her expertise and enthusiasm to provide valuable information to our MamaMagic Community