Bug bites, sunburn, oil-slick face, re-applying sunscreen over makeup -- this season comes with certain skin challenges. I dropped by BT Toronto to share some SOS summer skincare tips with Melanie Ng (here's the segment clip).
Warning: this list is really long – I had a few days to think about this and came up with what looks like 573 remedies (there are 23, and clearly I think oily skin is a big beauty SOS summer skincare issue for many of us). We have lots of ways to treat a variety of summer-related skin annoyances, via DIY remedy or medicated potion. Choose the one that appeals to you first, obvi. If one doesn't work for you (not everything works for everyone -- another obvi), try another. Some of them I like so much that I've written about them before; I've linked to the related posts.
SOS summer skincare issue: bug bites
Soothe itchy bite sites with any of the folllowing:
baking soda add a little water to make a paste; apply and leave on for 10 minutes.
oatmeal put some in an old stocking to drop in your bath; try Aveeno Moisturizing Bath ($13.99/eight packets, well.ca; -- read about it here) Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash ($7.51, well.ca) and Moisture Cream ($10.97, well.ca); Live Clean Baby Soothing Relief Foaming Wash and Soothing Relief Baby Lotion ($6.99 each, drugstores and grocery stores).
calamine lotion it's not just for chicken pox! Calamine Lotion ($5.59, well.ca).
anti-itch spray, dabbers and ointment fit in a purse and are invisible on skin, so you can apply on the go (consult a doc re: kids under two years old). Try Benadryl Itch-Relief Spray ($7.15, well.ca) or Benadryl Bug Bite Relief ($7.15, well.ca) or Afterbite Kids Cream made with 5% sodium bicarbonate ($5.01, well.ca).
skin recovery balm if you scratch so much you break the skin, a skin-recovery balm such as La Roche-Posay Cicaplast ($19, well.ca -- read about Cicaplast's awesomeness here) or Avene Cicalfate Restorative Cream ($21, well.ca) will help skin heal fast and minimize scars (also: SPF on boo-boos prevents hyperpigmentation of the area).
SOS summer skincare issue: sunburn
To calm the burn, reduce redness, comfort and rehydrate your poor skin, try any of the following:
aloe vera right out of aloe-plant leaves, or an aloe after-sun lotion will start to comfort skin on contact.
after-sun balm calm and moisturizes fiery skin with Vichy Capital Soleil After Sun SOS Balm ($25, Shoppers Drug Mart – amazing stuff; read about it here).
lidocaine which is often combined with aloe to cool and calm angry skin; try Life After Sun Spray ($7.49, Shoppers Drug Mart), or Solarcaine Medicated Lidocaine Gel ($9.79, well.ca).
calamine lotion again, it's not just for chicken pox! (here's how to make your own).
SOS summer skincare issue: sun exposure
No obvious burn, thank goodness (reminder: UVA is invisible damage until the sunspots and wrinkles start to show up), but you must re-hydrate skin. Try any of the following (the first is a favourite with my seven-year-old niece Lauren):
sea buckthorn helps skin bounce back from moderate UV exposure with provitamin A and vitamin E, as well as essential fatty acids that help skin grab moisture. Try Weleda Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion ($20.09, well.ca) – other suggestions here.
after-sun cream doses post-outdoors skin with rich, moisturizing ingredients and, in some cases, shimmer to enhance your (faux) tan. Try Biotherm After Sun Oligo-Thermal Sparkle Cream ($35, biotherm.ca).
diaper cream it seems to be a thing to DIY sunscreen; Desitin Maximum Strength Diaper Rash Cream with 40% zinc oxide is a cheat base. But you need to know the risks before you go making your own SPF cream.
antioxidants antioxidant serums add daytime defence to your skincare, fighting free radicals, protecting against premature aging. Two of the best: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($152, skinceuticals.com/canada) and Skinceuticals Phloretin CF ($160, skinceuticals.com/canada), which is for oilier skin.
SOS summer skincare issue: oil-slick skin
To reduce excess natural oil, breakouts and blinding shine, try a combination of the following -- especially the first four.
exfoliants use a manual scrub, or try glycolic acid, i.e. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix ($12.95, Shoppers Drug Mart) or Neostrata Toning Solution Level 1 ($21.60, well.ca) – get all the glycolic-acid details here. Be diligent with SPF to protect exfoliated skin, especially if you use gycolic acid, which makes skin more sensitive to UV.
face mists oily skin gets more oily because it needs more water. Hydrate your face throughout the day with mistings of water, such as Avène Thermal Spring Water (150 mL, $16, well.ca) or Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist ($48, kissandmakeupstore.com). Here's how to use face mists correctly (yes, there's a right way).
hyaluronic acid serum this bends brains that belong to people with oily skin – a common misperception is that if you have an oily complexion, you don't need to moisturize, and that a hydrating serum, especially in summer, is a crazy idea. NOT TRUE. I don't care what your dermatologist says. Try Indeed Labs Hydraluron ($24.99, Shoppers Drug Mart) or Neostrata Moisture Infusion 24 Hr Hydrating Serum ($37.75, drugstores) daily for a couple of weeks and get back to me. More hydrating options – and feedback from oily-complexioned readers who are trying them.
light moisturizer you might be okay with just a hyaluronic-acid serum (serums pack more punch because they're concentrated), but do try a light, oil-free moisturizer to see how your skin fares. If it feels less oily, huzzah! Try Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Cream ($48, sephora.ca), Neutrogena Moisture Oil-Free Moisturizer for Combination Skin ($17.59, well.ca), or Kiehl's Skin Rescuer ($42, kiehls.ca) which contains extracts to block triggers that cause inflammation and redness.
clay mask a twice-weekly treatment cleanser, clay masks absorb impurities, including excess sebum or oil, to leave skin feeling refreshed. It's temporary, but it feels so nice. Try the Violet Oasis Mediterranean Rhassoul Clay Mask ($30 + $6.96 S&H, theshoppingchannel.com) – it's lovely; continued use softens skin, and you can use it to cleanse scalp and hair, too (no need for shampoo or conditioner).
mattifiers if you try a face mist + hyaluronic acid serum, you may not need a mattifier. But if you do, after you apply moisturizer try Avène Mattifying Fluid ($37.50, Shoppers Drug Mart; eau-thermale-avene.ca). Or try the Philosophy Total Matteness trio – details here.
primers and powders if you need your makeup to stay put for a special occasion, you'll need a primer that can absorb oil as it smooths out skin and keeps makeup in place. Primers with silica will be especially effective – get the details and recommendations here.
blotting paper pretty blotting paper, such as Boscia Blotting Linens ($12/100 sheets, sephora.ca), are a must when you're out on the town or at some kind of summer shindig. But when no-one is looking, these always-free-with-purchase napkins are a brilliant alternative. Always blot before applying or re-applying powder (it'll save your little powder puff and your powder from getting gross).
powder spf people have realized they need to re-apply sunscreen by lunchtime – but how do you do that over makeup? Try Eminence Organics Organic Sun Defense SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen ($58, spaboutique.ca); more details and a drugstore alternative here.
spf tinted lip balm okay, this is a tip isn't just for oily skin, it's for anyone who likes tinted lip balm and pretty cheeks. Lip balm with built-in SPF is a must! If you can also use your SPF lip balm as blush, so much the better. If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with Maybelline New York Baby Lips SPF 20 in Cherry Me ($4.49, well.ca), and now Pink Shock (it's a neon fuchsia; coming soon. See it on Instagram!). UPDATE: only the following Baby Lips shades contain SPF 20 – Quenched, Peppermint, Cherry Me, Grapevine, Pink Punch and Pink Kiss. Pink Shock does not contain sunscreen. It's so pretty though that I can't take it out of this post – just know that it is SPF-free.
Does your skin have a summer SOS issue? Do you have SOS Summer skincare recommendations?
Canadian content: Indeed Labs, Life Brand, Neostrata, Live Clean.