Summer is here at last. And with it comes the joys of (fingers crossed!) long, sun-soaked days and warm, balmy nights. Yet one of the downsides for some women is that increased UV exposure can cause an acceleration in the skin’s production of melanin – the natural pigment that causes age spots and melasma. Unfortunately – perhaps even more so than fine lines and other skin issues – pigmentation is notoriously hard to tackle. The journey to reducing and reversing it can be long – but there are ways and means to prevent it occurring in the first place. So here are my top tips for keeping those telltale brown patches at bay this summer...
- SPF, SPF, SPF...Sunscreen should be your middle name – all year round. Mixing make up with sun cream can get messy when you’re topping up throughout the day. So I use DermaQuest’s Zinclear SPF 30 tinted moisturiser, which contains UVA and UVB protection – plus comes in a variety of shades to add coverage throughout the day.
- The protective wardrobe: I hate to bang on about sun protection, but it really is the number one thing you can do to prevent pigmentation – other than staying inside or in the shade. I like to have a selection of SPF products to suit different needs. A protective tinted moisturiser for the face, a spray for the body and a mineral product for when breakouts occur.
- Look down: All that said, it’s easy to forget you neck and décolletage when it comes to applying sunscreen. But don’t - a patchy, crinkly turkey neck and chest do not a pretty sight make!
- Repair: Antioxidants both build the skin’s own protection against UV rays – and repairs existing damage. Vitamin C is one of the skin’s champions – so try Skinceuticals’ CE Ferulic serum.
- Pre-plan your wax: Remember that any areas that have been waxed can be more vulnerable to sunburn and pigmentation. So make sure you book it at least a week before your departure – or better still, have a course of permanent laser hair removal during winter.
- Be mindful of perfume: One thing people rarely realise is that spraying perfume onto the skin can also make it more receptive to UV light. So spray scent on clothing during sunlight hours – then save it for your skin during long, hot nights.
- Book an autumn SOS: Most people want to hang onto their holiday glow for as long as possible. So wait until autumn, when there’s naturally less sunlight and risk of pigmentation forming – then book in for a peel to remove dead skin cells and brighten the complexion overall. Never, ever book a microdermabrasion treatment as this can make pigmentation worse.