Summer Skin: what you might not have considered and how to save your summer skin.
There’s a feel good factor associated with a tan that has reigned since the 60s – when it first became synonymous with the glamour of summers spent abroad. Since then we have become well versed in the importance of sun protection and the dangers of over exposure, but it hasn’t been enough to entirely lure us away from the instant gratification of a glowing complexion. While sun cream is an obvious non-negotiable, here we consider ways to combat damage to skin’s elasticity and the products, procedures and even dietary choices to protect your complexion and encourage regeneration.
Championing preventative medicine is core to the Grace philosophy and nowhere is this more applicable than with sun damage. Nothing is more ageing for skin; causing fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Less widely recognised as caused by sun damage, is changes to the skin’s elasticity, which may not occur immediately, but is responsible for the development of the majority of wrinkles. ‘Studies suggest that exposure to UV rays, in particular UVA (present all year round and able to penetrate through clouds and glass) is particularly damaging to the elastin in our skin. Over time, the breakdown of elastin fibres can cause skin to stretch and sag,’ explains Grace Skin Doctor, Dr Rabia Malik. ‘This is not something that occurs immediately, but over many years, so it’s often apparent later on in life. Sadly it catches up with you!’
Like so many things, not all sunscreens are created equal and Dr Malik recommends a mineral or physical formula, which tends to be less irritating and better suited to sensitive skin. ‘Look for creams that contain DNA repair enzymes such as Skin Therapy by Julia T Hunter, SPF 30 (available at Grace), it not only prevents sun damage occurring, but treats potential cellular damage at the same time.’
You could also increase your vitamin C intake. As an essential building block of collagen and elastin, it can help counteract the effect of UVA rays. ‘Medik8 C Tetra is worth incorporating into your routine, underneath moisturiser (if required) and sunscreen,’ Dr Malik suggests. ‘Or you could introduce a supplement (altrient-c, available at Grace, is a good option).’
Internally, there are changes to be made to your diet too – and not just in terms of vitamin C (which is found most abundantly in peppers, oranges, strawberries, kiwis and blackcurrants). Look to increase antioxidants and collagen rich foods – or those that support the body’s natural production of it. Fish that are rich in fatty acids like omega-3 (salmon or tuna are great choices), leafy greens and even soy products (which contain genistein which can block enzymes that age skin, while supporting collagen production) are all helpful in reducing damage to elasticity and encourage new cellular growth and skin plumping.
Advanced scientific developments mean that existing damage can also be treated and there are various options, from skin peels to products and even laser treatment, that can minimise signs of ageing caused by the sun. For pigmentation and age spots, try Lumecca, a painless skin rejuvenating laser treatment that uses intense pulsed light (IPL) to even out skin tone and remove unwanted pigment. To combat fine lines, wrinkles and surface irregularities, opt for Fractora; a facial treatment which penetrates below the surface to stimulate collagen production and encourage new cell growth. A number of clients at Grace – including men – have been able to tighten sagging skin and reduce fine lines around the mouth and across the brow, without requiring invasive treatment.
Sunscreen, shade, sunglasses and protective clothing are always essential – regardless of where you are and the level of cloud cover (UVA will penetrate the dullest of days!) but introducing these simple additions to your skincare routine will promote a healthy complexion – for much longer.
Content sponsored by Grace Belgravia, one of our expert contributors.
For further advice on protecting your skin or treating signs of damage, contact the Grace Medical Clinic, which offers quality SPF products, supplements and advanced facials, chemical peels and laser treatment. Open to men and women over the age of 21. Learn more about Dr Rabia Malik here.