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5 Ways Summer Heat is Causing Problems for Your Skin and How to Fix It

5 Ways Summer Heat is Causing Problems for Your Skin and How to Fix It

By now, we all know that sun exposure in the form of UV rays can cause trouble for our skin. What people often overlook, though, is the fact that the heat can have problematic effects of its own.

In a lot of ways, I actually think summer is harder on our hair and skin than any other season. Winter certainly comes with its own set of challenges, but I see summer causing such a wide range of problems for people. And heat is the root cause of many of them.

Keep reading for five ways the summer heat could be causing problems for your skin (and of course, my solutions!).

1. Dreaded Dehydration

Most people associate dehydrated skin with cold winter air and heaters running 24/7. In reality, hot summer temperatures are just as likely to be zapping moisture from your skin! Heat increases evaporation and water loss, so unless you live in a very humid environment, this could cause your skin to feel tight. To top it all off, the constant onslaught of AC acts as an additional source of dehydration. Even when you are drinking good quantities of water, if the environment is working against you it will show in your skin.

Signs of dehydration are tight feeling skin and  visible fine lines. Dehydration exacerbates these and makes them appear more prominent because the water element that plumps your skin is missing.

If you’re out in the heat during the day, there are a few things you can do to prevent this moisture loss. I really recommend spritzing your skin with a gentle mist and following with a light oil to seal it in. Then reapply your sunscreen. 

2. Increased Sensitivity

When our skin becomes dehydrated, it can lead to a damaged moisture barrier. When the moisture barrier—which protects our skin from external aggressors—becomes disrupted, we start to experience more skin sensitivity. For example, skincare products you can normally use may suddenly start to sting. The reason for this is when you have a damaged moisture barrier, tiny, invisible cracks develop in the skin. These cracks allow things to get into the skin in a way they normally wouldn’t and expose your nerve endings, which leads to stinging. You may also experience redness, itching, or rough-feeling skin.

If you’re dealing with summer skin sensitivity, the first step is to add moisture back into the skin. This means sticking with just the basics. A cleanser, hydrator and moisturizer. Plus sunscreen for protection. Skip overly active ingredients in the form of serums. Even a skin creme can be irritating at this stage because of the preservatives and emulsifiers in it.

You want to be rebuilding your skin’s barrier with ceramides, which are waxy lipids (fats) that improve the skin’s barrier function. This means a rinseable oil cleanser is your skin’s best friend. It lifts away environmental debris, makeup and sunscreen but builds up your barrier so your skin feels plump and soft-never tight.

Since this whole cycle was caused by dehydration, you want to add a hydrating mist into your routine. Avoid any alcohols or very active ingredients which can sting your disrupted barrier. This one contains delicate flower hydrosols, hyaluronic acid and aloe to give your skin a long, cool drink. Just 2-3 spritzes on your face, neck and chest will give adequate hydration. But the most important thing is-don’t let it evaporate!

Immediately apply a ceramide rich, soothing facial oil that will trap the moisture from your freshly washed and spritzed face. Our top choice contains both jojoba and oat. Jojoba oil contains a whopping 96% of ceramides (by comparison, olive oil contains around 10%) and oat kernel oil also acts as an occlusive and a humectant retaining moisture in the skin while soothing irritation. This oil is a great choice year round if you are prone to redness and sensitivity.

3. Even More Visible Capillaries

Speaking of redness, summer is a problem for those of us prone to broken capillaries. When people talk about “broken capillaries,” what they’re really referring to are dilated capillaries. Heat causes our capillaries to expand. When they do, they accommodate more blood flow. This is what gives some of us red or flushed skin when it’s hot out. After expanding, our capillaries are supposed to shrink back to their regular size. When this process gets repeated enough times, though, those tiny capillaries lose their ability to bounce back. Once they become permanently enlarged, they stay visible under the surface of the skin.

So, what can be done about this? Unfortunately, not a lot. But, if you’re prone to broken capillaries like I am, my best advice is to avoid additional heat as much as possible. This means no scalding-hot showers, steam rooms, steaming off oil cleansers or masks, hot yoga, etc. A cool washcloth on a scorching hot day can work wonders to help your skin rebalance.

4. Worsened Hyperpigmentation

This is super interesting. Heat is just as big a culprit as sun exposure when it comes to hyperpigmentation. This means you could spend all day in the shade, wearing a hat and slathered in sunscreen, but if it’s hot out and your internal temperature is rising, pigment cells will still be triggered. This is what just happened to me in Aruba. I was so, so careful with sunscreen but I came back spotted. 

Fighting hyperpigmentation is an uphill battle. It’s normal to see more of it as we get older since pigment cells start to rise to the surface over time. If there are enough of them, they can bunch together. When this happens, we start to see brown spots and an uneven skin tone. 

Luckily, there are a few ways you can fight back against hyperpigmentation. First, it goes without saying that you should avoid direct sun exposure and overheating the skin as much as you can and always use sunscreen. But, in addition, antioxidants and exfoliation are your friends here. Antioxidants can help prevent sunburn, they can help prevent and reverse sun damage and they can improve fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. They are pretty much a miracle!

This facial oil is super high in antioxidants. All the beautiful berry oils including strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, red raspberry, plus sea buckthorn berries which contain 10x more vitamin C than an orange. This makes it a perfect tool to fight pigmentation and uneven skin texture.

This facial mist has a healthy dose of green tea. Green tea contains EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate, a super potent antioxidant that soothes free radicals generated by exposure to UV light. Spritz liberally for hydration and also antioxidant boosting!

Exfoliation for sensitive skin needs to happen gently. This cleanser, exfoliant and mask allows you to control the potency of the product you are applying. Soft powders buffer potent ingredients: strawberry powder contains salicylic acid which reduces and fades away hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Also hiding in there is ascorbic acid, a stable form of vitamin C because powders have proven to be more durable and stable and more likely to deliver results. Use as a mask once a week or as a spot treatment on dark patches more frequently.

5. Increased Oil Production

Heat can increase your skin’s oil production. For some, this translates to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts both on your face and your back and chest. This is especially true if you’re also dealing with the summer dehydration becaus excess oil gets trapped under dry, dead cells, which increases the likelihood you’ll develop both clogged pores and blemishes. 

This cleanser works for controlling oily summer skin. It removes excess oil without being harsh and includes enzymes and salicylic acid to cut through sebum. Pro Tip: leave the cleanser on your skin for a minute or two before washing it off. This gives the active ingredients some time to get to work and have more of an effect!

Lastly, one thing you should absolutely avoid doing is switching to harsh, drying products with ingredients like sulfates or drying alcohols. These will over-strip the skin and have the opposite of the desired effect, actually increasing oil production.

There you have it, five of the most common skin problems that happen in hot weather and how to fix them. I hope these tips help you keep your skin on track so all you have to worry about this summer is finding fun ways to escape the heat.

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