Summer 2019 was the summer of flare-ups for me. If it wasn’t eczema making me itch, it was hayfever making my eyes stream; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I also suffered from sunburn in Ibiza, acne in Italy, and prickly heat in Marbella. Every holiday I went on, I ended up in a pharmacy, and it didn’t just happen overseas either; the UK heatwave meant that my skin problems followed me home.
Now, as summer draws to a close, I have experienced every kind of summer skin problem you can think of. You name it, I’ve endured it, and as a result, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. So, whether you’re getting one last trip in before the season comes to a close, or you’re getting a head start on next year, here’s the summer SOS kit I recommended. After all, I’d like to say I suffered for a reason, so let that reason be sharing my solutions with each of you.
First up in the hot seat is the most common summer skin concern: sunburn. The result of overexposure to UV light, sunburn is usually red, sore and can lead to blisters and peeling. Of course, avoiding the sun between 12 and 3, and wearing SPF is the best advice I can give (my favourite is coming next), but sometimes, we can all be caught short.
I’m a huge advocate for sun protection, which is why I’m ashamed to say I got sun-burnt quite badly this year. It was just the once in my defence, but the result wasn’t pretty – red tomato skin and a ridiculous tan-line. Ultimately, my biggest worry was the damage I had done to my skin. So I picked up the most repairing after sun I knew about, the Eucerin Sensitive Relief After Sun Cream Gel.
Not only is the Sensitive Relief After Sun’s light cream texture cooling on the skin, but its formula supports cell regeneration. What’s more, it contains zero perfume and an antioxidant defence system that neutralises free radicals (the key triggers of sensitivity and allergy), which is great news if your eczema-prone like me. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting my sun protection again any time soon, but if I do, I know I can count on this formula to get my skin back on track.
#2 Prickly Heat
Prickly heat, also known as miliaria rubra, is an itchy heat rash that happens when sweat becomes trapped under the skin. It is uncomfortable and a little unsightly, which means if you are prone to getting it, you want a solution fast.
Until this summer, I had never had prickly heat before. I was on holiday when my arms became covered in tiny red bumps. I knew what it was right away, but I had no idea what to do about it. After a quick trip to a pharmacy, I was given a soothing lotion to provide some relief but the next day, it came back, and the cycle started all over again.
The first thing I bought after that holiday was the Ultrasun Super Sensitive Family Formula SPF30. I always knew how good it was for preventing prickly heat, but I’d never needed it before. And low and behold, on my next trip I didn’t get prickly heat once! You can also rely on this SPF lotion for high, water-resistant sun protection too – it’s a great all-rounder!
Irritated is the word I’d use to describe my skin this summer. Between eczema, prickly heat and hayfever, I’ve been in a continuous itch cycle for the last three months. And, although I would have loved nothing more than to scratch, I knew that would only cause more problems. That’s why I turned to La Roche-Posay’s Ultra 8 Spray – a repairing face mist that gives immediate relief from itching, burning, stinging and redness.
Toleriane Ultra 8 Daily is so much more than a water spray. It contains eight ingredients, including calming thermal spring water, to deliver an instant dose of moisture and relief to the skin. I keep a bottle in my handbag, and on my desk at all times so that whenever my skin feels uncomfortable, I have it to hand.
When people think of acne, they usually think of teenagers and those with oily skin. But the truth is acne can happen to anyone, at any time; and this summer it happened to me.
Summer is a prime time for an acne flare-up; the humidity encourages sebum production, which causes pores to become clogged. While I was in Italy, there was a heatwave, which meant the humidity was through the roof, so you guessed it – my skin freaked out. I was covered in blemishes all over my cheeks, my chin, and down my neck. It wasn’t the summer skin I had hoped for.
Luckily, for this flare-up, I knew where to turn immediately: Effaclar Duo [+]. Duo has cult-status when it comes to beating blemishes, and that’s because it contains a combination of 5.5% micronized benzoyl peroxide and lipo-hydroxy acid. Together, these spot-fighting ingredients help to calm and clear breakouts in just a couple of days.
#5 Ingrown Hairs
Everyone’s experienced an ingrown hair at one point or another. For women, they tend to occur on the legs, underarms, and along the bikini line, which isn’t ideal in summer.
What I’ve learnt about ingrown hairs is that prevention is better than a cure. My best advice is to exfoliate regularly; this will stop your follicles becoming clogged, which is what causes the hair to curl.
My holy grail body exfoliator, and one that I recommend left, right and centre is the Exfoliating Body Scrub from Clarins. Another cult-favourite, the scrub is made with bamboo powders that buff away gently at your skin to remove dead skin cells without irritation. You’ll be working to prevent ingrown hairs, plus your skin will feel super silky afterwards – win, win!