Ah, summertime. Month upon month of fruity poolside cocktails, reading books in the sunshine and deciding where to swim next. But all those beachy, boozy activities that feel incredible at the time often leave us feeling regret (and red) in the days (and months) that follow.
To find out how to ride out the warmer months with glowing skin – or failing that, how to rectify summer skin neglect – Broadsheet spoke with Sam Johnston. Johnston is the manager at Little Company, a skincare-focused day spa that uses natural and Australian products, with locations in Cremorne, Victoria and Byron Bay, New South Wales.
Cover up: “It’s important to get some sunshine to boost our vitamin D levels, but if you’ plan to spend long days in the sun, make sure you cover up. Think wide-brimmed hats, beach umbrellas and the fashionably evolved rash vest.”
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: “This is a no brainer, but something that is so important,” Johnston says. “Make things interesting by boosting your water with lemon.”
Sunscreen: “Now’s the time to treat our skin with a little more caution and a little more care,” Johnston says. “Conscious prevention is paramount to maintaining skin’s vitality.” She recommends Nutrient Day Cream Tinted SPF 30 by Josh Rosebrook ($93) because it acts as a moisturiser, SPF and tint in one. Johnston also says she’s found it’s less likely to irritate sensitive skin compared with some other brands.
Fake tan over real tan: “Sun damage is the number one cause of premature aging in skin,” Johnston says. “The effects of too much sun might not be seen right away, but it will be in years to come.” If you’re after that glowing, bronzed look, Johnston recommends reaching for a bottle of fake tan instead.
Don’t over-exfoliate: “Over-exfoliating can take away some of your skin’s natural protective barrier, leaving fresh, healthy cells open to UV damage. Using an exfoliant that is super gentle once a week should be more than enough.” Johnston recommends adding Sodashi Enzyme Face Polish ($110) to your weekly routine.
Get your antioxidants: Johnston says beautiful skin comes from the inside, too. “Increase antioxidant-rich foods in your diet to help protect your cells and fight free-radical damage,” she says. “Add some blueberries, strawberries, oranges [and] acai into a smoothie in the morning.”
Essential fatty acids: Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, have been associated with a reduction in UV-induced inflammation. “They help keep the skin moisturised from the inside, helping skin to remain hydrated throughout the heat,” Johnston says. She recommends incorporating nuts and seeds, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and fish into your diet.
Pop on a hydration mask: “If you happen to have gotten a little too much sun, make sure you apply a mask afterwards that is going to increase hydration and has anti-inflammatory properties,” Johnston says. Her favourite is the Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask (USD$65). “[It’s] full of botanical hyaluronic acid to boost water content within the skin, and chamomile to soothe.”
DIY mist: “After-sun mists are great, but you do have to be careful that the ingredients are all-natural,” says Johnston. Here’s her recipe for an easy DIY mist (keep it in the fridge to make it extra cool and refreshing):
1 small cucumber
1/3 cup distilled water
1 tsp aloe vera
1 tsp witch hazel
10 drops of lavender oil
Blitz the cucumber in a food processor, then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to extract the cucumber essence. Combine cucumber essence and remaining ingredients in a 100ml glass spray bottle. Shake and spray on skin as needed.
Use a face oil: “Use a face oil at night … to boost the health of cells, increase hydration and plump the skin,” Johnston says. “A blended oil is great, as the different ingredients will help the skin in many ways. Look for ingredients like jojoba, avocado, rosehip and carrot seed.”
Detoxify: “If using sunscreen makes your skin congested, invest in a good detoxifying face mask to help keep the skin clear and even,” says Johnston. She recommends MV Skincare’s Signature Mineral Mask ($69). “[It’s] a beautiful white-clay mask that helps soothe, heal and refine. It’s perfect if your skin is feeling a little irritated.
This article was updated on March 27, 2019.