The warmer weather can present a number of challenges to those with sensitive skin.
According to Penny Hamilton, Founding Partner of Westlab Salts and Bathing Salt Expert, the top three challenges are external triggers, more frequent showering, and the heat. If you have sensitive skin, how can you combat these issues? Penny has the answers.
There are more potential triggers that come into contact with your skin during the summer months than the winter ones. For example, pollen, chlorine, suncream and insect repellent – all of which can cause flare-ups in sensitive skin. While pollen and chlorine can be rinsed off, suncream and insect repellent require application to the skin and even daily use.
When it comes to sunscreen, it’s essential, but finding one that suits sensitive skin without leaving a sticky white cast is pretty tricky. My favourite brands are Aveeno and La Roche-Posay for sensitive skin suncare. When it comes to insect repellents, a great alternative is to wear loose, cool clothing and spray the repellent onto these clothes instead of your skin. You can even purchase insect repellent clothing from some outdoor shops.
More frequent showering
The fact we need cooling down and refreshing more often means we shower more frequently during the warmer months. Sensitive skin can be affected by both the temperature of the shower, but also the drying effect of the water. Keep showers as short as possible and avoid extreme temperatures. Always use gentle shower gel and shampoo which is free from SLS/SLES and other unnecessary harsh chemicals. These can strip the skin of its natural moisture and affect skin barrier protection, which is essential for maintaining our skin health and comfort, so we really don’t want to mess with it. I developed the Westlab Dead Sea shower wash with my children at the forefront, as they have eczema-prone skin. It’s free from harsh chemicals and enriched with Dead Sea Salt. For your face, I would always recommend REN’s Evercalm range.
Temperature changes are one of the biggest challenges to sensitive skin. They affect the capillaries of the skin by causing more frequent dilation, which can result in high-colour and trigger rosacea. The heat itself also causes the skin to become hot and bothered which can kickstart the itch/scratch cycle. Plus, more frequent sweating and exposure to air-conditioning can cause the skin to dehydrate more than usual.
If you work or live in an air-conditioned environment, then fill it with plants. These work as natural humidifiers to help combat the drying effects of the air conditioning (just make sure you water them regularly). If you have the choice, then use blackout blinds and fans to help keep your rooms cool during the summer months, rather than relying on air con. My favourite thing to do during the summer months is to have a cooling bath at the end of a hot day. Instead of warm water, just fill the bath with water at body temperature. Add a few cups of Dead Sea Salts and some lavender oil and it feels like you’re giving your skin a drink. The minerals and magnesium help protect the skin barrier while softening the water so that you can refresh your skin without drying it out.