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Post-summer skin dilemmas, solved
We'll admit, it's taken us a few days to accept the fact that summer is over (wasn't it Christmas just yesterday?!). But now that we've come around to the idea of autumn, we're very much looking forward to the snuggly, bright-leafed season.
Hot chocolates and chunky knits aside, we also love the opportunity the seasonal shake-up gives our skin, especially after summer. So whether you're dealing with sunburnt shoulders or the appearance of pigmentation, autumn is the perfect time to take advantage of the cool change ahead and put yourself through beauty rehab.
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Ready to go? Here's our top-to-toe guide to shaking off summer.
Post-summer skin care tip #1: Back to body basics
After surviving the ravages of sun-soaked days, what your body needs most is hydration. “General measures to look after and rehydrate the skin after summer include short showers, using soap alternatives and applying plenty of moisturisers,” says Dr Tanya Gilmour, dermatologist at North Shore Dermatology in Sydney.
To improve lacklustre skin, Gilmour suggests, “using products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which will help exfoliate and freshen your skin.” You could also try manual exfoliation via dry body brushing, which has the added benefit of increasing bloody circulation and diminishing the fatty deposits that cause skin dimpling (AKA cellulite).
But if fading the appearance of pigmentation is your goal, Gilmour recommends "over-the-counter John Plunkett Superfade Original Cream, which has a low-percentage hydroquinone or NeoStrata Fading Gel with two per cent kojic acid.”
If however, you suffer from prominent pigmentation it's advisable to contact your GP or dermatologist as they will conduct a skin assessment and can provide stronger fading creams.
Tip: Wear your hat (yes, even in after summer)
"Sun protection is the best way to prevent pigmentation. Wearing sunscreen and a broadbrim hat, seeking shade and only going outdoors early and late in the day are the best ways to avoid sun damade," advises dermatologist Dr. Tanya Gilmour.
Tip: Change up your deodorant
Yes, you still need deodrant in the cooler months! But all those extra layers means you need something that won't transfer onto your clothes. Mitchum Clinical Gel No White Marks will keep you feeling fresh (without telling the world you're wearing deodorant!).
Post-summer skin care tip #2: Tackle dullness and pigmentation
Susie Prichard-Casey, director of Stone Soul Organic Beauty and Natural Wellness Therapies in Sydney, recommends starting your post-summer rehab with an exfoliating treatment containing chlorophyll.
“A Phyt’s Energie Vitale facial is high in chlorophyll, which will improve oxygenation and is great for devitalised skin,” she says. “This facial is great to detox your skin cells via thermotherapy, which increases blood supply naturally to feed the skin and produce a glowing, radiant result.”
If an in-salon treatment is out of budget, look to at-home exfoliators containing ingredients such glycolic or lactic acid, which will gently work to refine the skin texture and help stimulate cell renewal. If dullness is your peril, pair this with a vitamin C serum in the morning to send pigmentation packing.
Post-summer skin care tip #3: Level-up your hydration
After sloughing away summer's sins, try “piling on hydration using an intensive home masque treatment or serum,” recommends Prichard-Casey. She also suggests using products containing vitamin A to accelerate skin renewal and hempseed oil to improve skin tone.
What better excuse to pop on a face mask and kick back than an expert's recommendation?
To really boost your skin’s moisture levels, apply a reviving and hydrating skin care cream such as Nivea DNAge Cell Renewal Anti-Age System Day Cream or Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly, which offers continuous 24-hour protection against skin dehydration minus the heavy texture. Spare a thought for any men in your life too and get them onto Urbane Mess' Triple Active Moisturiser.
If you're currently using a gel or foam cleanser, it might also be beneficial to switch to a milk or cream cleanser in the cooler months to kick of your hydration from the very first step. If you find these types of formulas don't remove your makeup as well, consider double cleansing by starting with a gentle balm like Celeste Australia Love + Grace Balm Cleanser to remove all surface dirt first.
Another way to rejuvenate skin is from the inside out. Ensure you're consuming at least five portions of fruit and veg daily and drink plenty of filtered water (try and aim for eight glasses a day). It's also worth considering a skin-boosting supplement. Harmony My Beauty contains silica which promotes healthy growth of skin, hair and nails.
Post-summer skin care tip #3: Watch those hands
“Due to all the extra showering and swimming during summer, nails can become brittle and prone to breaks,” says Anna Field, owner of The Paddington Beauty Room in Sydney. “So now’s the time to give yourself an at-home, month-long treatment to strengthen and renew hands and nails.”
Field recommends applying a nail hardener every day for a week, removing it and then reapplying for another week. Continuing this treatment for a month will strengthen your nail from the cuticle to the tip, she advises.
An all-encompassing hand treatment is another great way to rest and renew your digits. “Our Anti-Ageing Manicure goes a step further than a regular manicure by giving your whole hand a treatment, just like you’d get from a facial,” says Field. “The three-minute peel uses enzymes and AHAs to dissolve dry cells and diminish sunspots. It will also soften the skin and reduce calluses that may have occurred due to gym workouts.”
Post-summer skin care tip #4: Treat your feet
Feet are another casualty of summer. “Our tendency to wear thongs, sandals or any open-backed shoe causes hard skin or calluses and, when left unattended, can even result in cracks or fissures,” says podiatrist Vanessa Griffiths.
While regular scrubs and moisturising will keep moderately dry skin soft, severely cracked heels need to be looked at by a professional, recommends Griffiths. “Skin needs to be removed or debrided, usually by a podiatrist, then the moisturiser will soak in and the heel can be maintained,” she says. “A moisturiser with an urea base works well as it absorbs into the skin to heal cracks, although it works best after dead skin has been removed.”
Once tough skin has been repaired, Griffiths recommends maintaining your tootsies with a pedi-paddle, pumice stone or regular professional pedicures. “Use the urea-based cream at home or a more natural, greasy formula such as Lucas Papaw Ointment.”
Tip: Polish on, polish off
Never leave nail polish on your toes (or fingers!) for too long, says podiatrist Vanessa Griffiths. "Nail polish occludes any oxygen from the nail, therefore it can't breathe, resulting in a flaky and/ot discouloured nail. Use tea tree oil, which is a fabulous anti-fungal and great for nail condition.
bh loves: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil.
*This article has been updated since its original publication.
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