“Your skin is the largest living organ and is the first line of defense against all of the microbes and other hazards in the environment,” explains facialist and founder of eponymous skincare line, Cecilia Wong. “Though it can regenerate, repair, and restore itself, it’s important that we take very good care of it.”
So, how does the sun – and summer months – affect our skin? “During the summer, the sun is the strongest and UV levels can wreak havoc on exposed skin. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, causing excessive oil and sweat, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin discoloration, and loss of collagen, hydration and vitamins.”
But wait. There’s more… pay close attention, especially those suffering from acne. “The sun can also cause clogged pores, leading to whiteheads and small bumps. Heat can cause oil glands to work overtime, hence, the oily T-zone,” says Cecilia. “We also sweat more causing dehydration and loss of minerals and vitamins. In order to maintain a healthy radiant glow, we need to take the necessary steps to replenish and protect our skin daily.”
No need to hide in doors just yet. Here, Cecilia Wong offers up these 6 crucial steps and product recommendations to add into your summer skincare routine. Follow them, and you’ll save face.
1. Add in a Vitamin C product – Vitamin C contains loads of antioxidants that helps repair sun damage, reduce sunburn caused by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation and prevent the consequences of long-term sun exposure that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and loss of collagen. Vitamin C is also great in preventing and reducing acne. I’d recommend using Vitamin C from plants or fruit oil which is less invasive and won’t irritate skin.
TRY: Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream; Cecilia Wong Skincare Vitamin C Cleanser
2. Switch to a lighter moisturizer – This goes for all skin types, even those with dry skin can experience sweat and oil during the summer. The dermis is made up of 70% water and the epidermis, 15%. In order to keep the skin well moisturized but not oily and greasy, it’s important to choose a water based moisturizer that balances the level of water within the skin. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this step altogether as it’s essential for your skin to remain hydrated. One way to discover if your moisturizer is too heavy is to check your skin an hour after applying – is your face filled with grease, especially the T-zone area and does your face feel heavy with the moisturizer sitting on your skin? If the moisturizer is too heavy, this can cause clogged pores leading to breakouts.
TRY: Ilike Sulfuric Whipped Moisturizer; Cecilia Wong Skincare Moisturizer for Oily/Combo Skin
3. Choose a higher SPF – During the summer, the UV index is the strongest. It’s important to wear sunscreen at all times, but especially between 11 A.M. AND 4 P.M. Sunscreen protects your skin from visible aging (sun spots, inflammation, uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, wrinkles, loss of collagen and dehydration). Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 30. For those with fair skin, malasma or prone to sun spots, opt for SPF 60. To be the most effective, sunscreen needs time to absorb into your skin. Apply 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours.
TRY: Coola Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30; La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 (both are suitable for all skin types)
4. Exfoliate – In the summer, skin cells are shed at a very quick rate daily, so if you don’t get rid of the dead cells sitting on top of your skin, they can cause it to look dull and dry. Exfoliating helps in removing dead and dull skin debris and prevents congestion and clogged pores. It also helps to improve better absorption from toners and moisturizers, helps even out any skin discoloration, draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny. I switch between using the Clarisonic (it really gets the dead skin off without over scrubbing and gives my skin a smoother texture) and enzyme based exfoliators. Enzyme based exfoliators contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, so not only do they get rid of dull skin, they are also anti-aging. Enzyme exfoliators are less harsh and drying than ones that contain glycolic or salicylic acid. They are also gentle enough for all skin types.
TRY: The Clarisonic; Ilike Sulphuric Exfoliator; Ilike Botanical AHA Peel
5. Add a Toning Mist into the mix – Extra sweat means that dirt, oils and other environmental chemicals are trapped close to the skin and your pores. It’s important to keep your pores closed and skin cool by using a non-alcohol based facial toner. Facial toners are refreshing and, with the right ingredients, they restore, repair and hydrate the surface of the skin. They can also kill bacteria that can cause acne and other blemishes. When you sweat, you lose minerals and nutrients necessary for healthy skin and a toner can add the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol or artificial fragrances.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Pro-biotic Charged Rejuvenating Toner Mist (for combination and oily skin); Ilike Rosehip Toner (for normal to dry skin)
6. Apply a Mask 2-3 time a week – For those with oily/combo skin or acne prone skin, use a clay or herb based mask. For sensitive and dry skin, use a hydrating mask. During the warmest months, acne and other blemishes (blackheads, whiteheads, small bumps) can occur. Other skin conditions can also flare up (heat rash and rosacea) and skin loses water, vitamins and other nutrients. Applying a mask can help rehydrate, cool and prevent breakouts by purifying and detoxifying the pores. It rejuvenates and repairs the skin from the day’s damage.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Multi-Purpose Blemish Peel Mask, Ilike Rich Carrot Mask (to hydrate)