Summer Essentials for Skin  

by Pool Builders on 09-26-2008 in Articles

You might be thinking that the English summer has finished (or perhaps not even started) and so have booked your holiday abroad to get your sun 'fix'.  Whether you are at home or abroad with bright sunshine or warm overcast days below are some summer skin care essentials to take heed of.


Sun Safety

Everyone knows about extensive sun exposure and the associated increase risk of skin cancer with more than 70,000 new cases being diagnosed in the UK alone each year.  In 4 out of 5 people, however, it is a preventable disease.1  In 1981 a skin health campaign was launched in Australia, a country with a particularly high incidence of skin cancer.  This campaign's message was "slip-slap-slop" i.e. "slip on a shirt, slap on some sunscreen and slop on a hat".  This message proved to be a huge success with a decrease in the incidence of the two most common forms of cancer (basal-cell and squamous cell carcinoma).2  The strong message of this campaign has been heard all over the world and is a good motto to follow.


Interestingly Noël Coward wrote a song way back in 1931 which was best known for its chorus "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun!"  Never a truer word has been written (or sung) and is supported by today's recommendation to avoid direct sun exposure between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its most intensive.


In our modern times people's awareness is heightened with regards to the sun and skin cancer.  In some cases, skin health campaigns have been so successful that experts have become concerned about Vitamin D deficiency (a vitamin made in the skin with the help of sunlight and important for strong bones and muscles).  If you are sensible, however, and follow the Australian's "slip-slap-slop" message, you can't go far wrong.


So we all know about the potential damage sun can have on our skin but what about other factors?


Heat

Most people know about SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and, in order to prevent skin cancer, know that you shouldn't go below SPF 15.  However, not many realise that heat itself can be damaging.  Heat can damage the tissue just below the skin's surface and so accelerate the ageing process.  Whilst out and about in the Summer you need a good balance of being in the shade as well as out in the sun.  Being in the shade gives your skin the chance to cool down.  You also need a good body moisturiser to help replenish and maintain the skin's own moisture.


Dehydration

Water dehydrates skin especially when swimming in the sea or swimming pools.  The sea is full of salt which 'sucks' moisture out of the skin.  Swimming pools contain chlorine which can dissolve the hydrophilic molecules in the skin.  These molecules are needed to retain moisture.  Water on hot skin evaporates taking the skin's own moisture with it.  After swimming it is best to pat yourself dry with a towel to minimise evaporation.  After showering apply body lotion within 3 minutes of getting out in order to rehydrate the skin.


To keep skin hydrated you need to drink at least 4½ pints of water every day.  This should be increased during the summer to combat fluid loss caused by sweating.


You can tell if your skin is dehydrated when:

• you pinch your skin and it stays creased or takes longer to bounce back

• your heels are dry and cracked

• the skin on your forehead feels tight and at worst, flakes


Pollution

Pollution can cause sensitive skin which is made worse in hot weather because of air conditioning and poor air quality.  When looking for a suitable body lotion don't just look at standard moisturisers but those which can also nourish.  Use products which contain the antioxidants vitamins A, C and E and also consider taking Vitamin A, C and E supplements.  The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that a moisturiser containing one or more of the following ingredients is used:

• petrolatum

• mineral oil

• linoleic acid

• ceramides

• dimethicone

• glycerin


These are known to be particularly beneficial in re-hydrating, nourishing and moisturising the skin.


Companies like Crème de la Crème Limited have chosen to specialise in producing moisturising skin carecreams and lotions [http://www.cremeproducts.co.uk/sub_cats.php?cat_id=86&sub_cat_id=0] which not only hydrate and moisturise your skin but also restore its condition helping to prevent damage brought about by the elements.


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