How your holiday is affecting your skin
PUBLISHED: 12:42 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 21 August 2018
This content is subject to copyright.
Seven things you didn’t know but probably should about your skin in the sun
You’ve battled the airport, the long flight and finally made it to your beautiful hotel by the beach, but while you’re sitting back and relaxing, cocktail in hand, there are some things you shouldn’t forget entirely.
We all focus on getting ready for our holiday, and although holidays are for indulging and being care free, no one talks about what you need to do while you’re there to look after your skin and ensure you return looking and feeling as good as you did when you left.
Leading dermatologist Dr Daniel Glass, from The Dermatology Clinic London on Harley Street shares some expert advice on how the season we love so much could be affecting your skin.
1. Stay sun savvy
It is really important not to burn in the sunshine. Most of us know the importance of using a sun cream that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, but do we know what this means? Both UVA and UVB rays are capable of causing us to burn however UVB is more potent. The effects of UVA rays are felt more substantially in the long term, as these long wave rays penetrate deeper into the skin and repeated exposure can cause premature ageing, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. The SPF number you can find on most sun creams refers to the UVB protection and it is always best to use factor 50. In the UK, there is often a star rating that refers to the amount of UVA protection a product provides, with five-star protection being the best. Staying inside during the hours of peak sunlight intensity and, when outdoors, covering the skin with suitable clothes and hats are more effective strategies than using sunscreens.
2. Cover up
Although it’s important to ensure your skin is protected from the sun’s harmful rays, make sure you are using the right sun cream for your skin type and in the right areas. When it comes to your face it is important to invest in a non- comedogenic sun cream (one that is formulated to not to cause blocked pores) which suits your skin type, just like you would for any other skin product. If the sun contributes to clogging pores, it could, in turn, exacerbate acne.
3. Get clued up
A range of skin diseases can be aggravated by natural or artificial UV, or visible radiation, including eczema and psoriasis, together with viral infections. In most people the sun improves eczema or psoriasis, but in about 10% of cases, exposure to the sun can actually make things worse. In this situation the rash needs careful management by a dermatologist ideally prior to your holiday. It’s very common for people to develop cold sores when on a sunny holiday, as the sun affects your immune system and allows the virus to manifest. Being aware of this can ensure you are prepared with an appropriate antiviral if an outbreak occurs.
4. Beware of PLE
Prickly heat, technically known as Polymorphic Light Eruption or PLE is an itchy rash and mostly (75% of the time) affects adult females aged 20 to 40 years old. PLE is particularly common in individuals who normally live in areas where sun exposure is uncommon (e.g. northern Europe), but then expose themselves to extreme sun, for example on a Mediterranean holiday. Sun avoidance is an important part of managing this condition. It can also be treated with steroids but can be prevented from recurring with desensitisation under the guidance of your dermatologist.
5. Healthy food, healthy skin
Over-indulgence of high fat and sugary foods while on holiday can create a surge in cell signaling, which stimulates grease production in the skin, as well as inflammation which can in turn lead to acne. Healthy eating should not only be part of your holiday preparation - it is also important to continue with this, if you can, while you are away to prevent undoing any of your good work. Your skin and body will thank you!
6. Go for a dip
Cooling off in the pool or sea is always a good idea on a hot summer’s day, but the salt water and chlorine can be extremely drying for any skin type. Ensure that you rinse off after a swim and re-hydrate your skin at the end of the day with a nourishing after-sun moisturiser after a bath or shower.
7. Sun sensitivity
If you know your skin doesn’t react well to the sun, then don’t ignore it! If your skin starts to become irritated or you develop a rash, then try to stay out of the sun and cover up as much as possible. Once you are home it may be best to visit a dermatologist to find out the cause of your sun sensitivity so that you can prevent this in future.