Summer is here, it’s time for the great escape, and no matter where in the world you’re headed taking your skincare with you is as essential as your passport, cash and sunnies. Many of us when we travel, opt for the easy travel solution, asking your skin care expert for any samples of your favourite products, scouring the beauty halls for bite sized beauty products (even though they frequently only come in a 5-10ml size, and it just isn’t enough to see you through your vacation or staycation). Many of us simply decant our existing regime into smaller pots.
The big question: Is taking your existing routine enough for your skin, with the change in climate, humidity levels and is it enough to give you that summer glow as soon as you step foot off the plane? What SPF should you be using and how frequently should it be applied? It’s not a guessing game if you want to achieve that healthy summer glow, AND protect your skin, both while you travel and once you reach your destination.
Pre-Travel. The one thing to do BEFORE you head for the sunset, is prep. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Desquamate and exfoliate not only your facial skin but your entire body too, our bodies are hidden away so much of the time that before we even consider exposing it to the warmer weather, we need to remove those layers of dead skin cells.
Exfoliation is essential for healthy skin as dead skin cells build up in layers on the surface skin. When we want the serums, creams, and sunscreen that we use to really work, then we need to exfoliate the dead skin off so the products can absorb into the skin directly.
Did you know that every hour, nearly 40,000 skin cells are shed from the body? Now that’s a WOW -- Dead skin cells can be up to 15-30 layers deep, and when left on the surface, skin appears dull and lack-lustre. There’s no hint of a summer glow, and as light does not bounce off dead skin cells to the same degree as healthy skin cells, it never appears truly healthy and fresh.
To give this natural desquamation process a helping hand, regular exfoliation 1-2 times per week over the entire body as well as your face assists in stimulating the skin and as it removes debris, prevents blockages caused by excessive oil and sweat from building up within the pores. Skin feels smoother, looks healthier and more radiant. The overall appearance of the skin, texture and tone improve, as you remove the dead skin cells you help to increase blood stimulation, so skin gets an immediate boost from a fresh oxygenated blood supply too.
Starting with the hand luggage must haves. It’s all well and good if you’ve got your 22kg allowance to fill, but when you’re travelling light, either with hand luggage or maybe on a travelling holiday rather than in one destination. Working out precisely what you need and how much of it is essential. The four basic steps which need to travel with you no matter what the weather are your cleanser, serum, eye cream and moisturiser (with an SPF if possible). If your favourite brand doesn’t offer samples, look at their packaging. Squidgy tubes in 15ml-50ml sizes are great to take away, bin the boxes and they’re ready to go straight into your zip-lock security proof bag. (One of my go-to brands is Doctors Formula Original Probiotic range, their Probiotic Radiance Eye Serum, Lifting & Firming Serum combined with the 12 Hour Day Protection Moisturiser and 8 Hour Repairing Night Moisturiser), offering 24 hour protection in the perfect travel sized tubes, the plus side is you’re still getting 30ml of serum and 50ml of both day and night time moisturiser in condensed packaging www.docorsformula.co.uk
Alternatively browse amazon or stop off in your local Boots and for a couple of pounds purchase some 20ml pots and decant your favourites into them. If you’re super tight on space and concerned with placing your serum into a pot when it usually comes with a pipette and a dropper bottle or its glass packaging, start mixing your own moisturising magic. Fill 75% of your newly purchased travel pot with your moisturiser and fill the remaining 25% with your serum, mix well and you’re good to go!
Once you’re in the air stay hydrated and avoid over consumption of alcohol. Although the airport lounge and cheeky pre-flight Prosecco may signal the start of your holiday, it doesn’t have a great effect on your skin. Consuming alcohol whilst flying and combining it with the chilly blasts of air conditioning for the duration of your flight starts to dehydrate both you and your skin. If you can dare to be bare-faced throughout your flight – even better! Use a hydrating serum prior to heading to the airport such as Hyaluronic acid to keep your skin plumped and hydrated – plus it can hold up to 1000 x its own weight in water and is naturally found in the skin. It helps to plump up the skins volume, smooth the fine lines and wrinkles and keep you hydrated for longer. Top it off with a richer than usual moisturiser – marine collagen creams are superb, as again they tackle the anti-ageing, youth-defying element, yet also hydration. If coverage is essential, try a tinted BB cream rather than a heavy foundation to keep your skin fresh-faced and glowing while you travel. These simple tips keep the moisture reservoirs in the skin topped up and mean you alight from your flight looking radiant rather than ready for a rest.
Power Active Hyaluronic Acid. 30ml - £34.90 www.doctorsformula.co.uk
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum. 30ml - £38.00
Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense Serum. 30ml - £57.00
Overnight flights can play havoc with your skin. When combined with the effects of the flights air conditioning, pre-travel in general (the airport parking can be incredibly stressful, I agree!) and likely the last-minute panic of ensuring both you and yours were packed, the out of office was on and the neighbours have the spare keys for plant watering and the general neighbourhood watch / alarm alerts! Your skin needs a reboot and fast!
Naturally, your skin turns on its recovery mode whilst we sleep, regenerating, restoring, and recuperating from the day’s exposure to pollutants, dirt, and debris. Disrupting your skins regular routine can impact how healthy and rosy it looks. Plus, reduced sleep can make our eyes appear more sunken, develop dark circles and even puffiness. It all shows in your skin! Overnight, creamy hydration masks in a small sample pot can be skin saviours whilst you travel. Applying a thin layer like you would your regular moisturiser (you don’t need to appear smothered in a cream mask for them to take effect!) and popping on an eye sleep mask will help to coax your skin into some well-earned cellular recovery and keep you hydrated for longer. You could even go for gold and pop the ear plugs in or switch the headphones on with some relaxation music, for an in-flight moment of meditation.
Once you arrive at your destination, jet-wash the journey away. Cleanse, then cleanse again and apply a fresh layer of serum, eye protection and the trusted moisturiser with SPF. In-flight circulated air conditioning, a warm environment, changes in humidity and a touch of perspiration are the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Many of us when we first arrive on holiday suddenly experience a breakout, which we believe is due to the change in water – the likelihood is, it’s simply bacteria breeding on your skin, enveloped in moisture and sweat. Add make-up to the mix and your pores are screaming for a gentle jet-wash.
Humidity and Heat. Where in the world you’re travelling too, should also impact what skincare you take with you. If you’re headed to the tropics and the humidity levels, you’re about to enter are soaring, it’s highly likely that your skin will responds by producing more oil from your sebaceous glands as the skin is cocooned in heat, both a warm and damp environment. Add into the equation the increase in sweat production from the increased temperatures and your skin is suddenly a perfect breeding site for bacteria.
The combination of excess oil, sweat and heat frequently causes more blocked pores, congestion, blemishes, and breakouts – the nose area is a key indicator when usually quite normal skin suddenly looks to have more enlarged pores, tiny-filled pustules that appear throughout the day and blackheads or blocked pores. (This is not due to the change in water!)
The upside (yes, there is one!) as humidity levels rise, your skin is less likely to dehydrate, so the water content stays more stable. So, the dreaded dehydration – the root cause of ageing, fine lines and wrinkles is banished to another day, as the, the oil content increases. For drier skin types, this can be a blessing in disguise. The usual flaky patches and tight feeling can disappear as the water reservoirs are maintained and the oil production increase – what a bonus! It does not mean we should ditch the hero hydrators. It does mean we may need to use a lotion rather than a cream moisturiser, or we can switch texture and consistency for something lighter than our usual daily application at home. It’s something you should consider before; you fill your sample pots.
Moisturising lotions consistency is very different and if you’re not used to wearing them, they can feel as if they’re “not enough” for your skin. If your skin is normal to dry then applying a hydrating lotion will make your skin feel more comfortable, another tip is to apply your serum, then your lotion and use a separate SPF over the top. If you’re more of a normal-combination skin type, then the layering can be reduced to a simple serum and lotion combo. Some of my favourite lotions, feel silky on application, absorb readily, yet they pack a punch when it comes to delivering hydration. Lotions even though they tend to be light in texture, can still be the hero-hydrator you’re in need of whilst on your vacation.
Clarins Hydra Essentiel Lotion SPF 15. 50ml - £38
Doctors Formula Power Actives Turmeric Lotion. 30ml - £34.90
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 25. 52ml - £13.50
Colder climates. It’s role reversal time for the skiing holiday or that trip to a much colder climate. We think of colder climates as being particularly wet and soggy, however as the humidity levels drop, so do your sebum levels and the biggest skin aggressor of all takes hold – dehydration – unless we keep those moisture and water levels topped up throughout our vacation. Likely if it’s a winter break, you’ll be headed back after a long day on the slopes or sight-seeing through the fjords to a roaring fire. Indulgent bubble baths, hot toddies and central heating turned up to the max! Think of richer, more whipped, and creamy moisturisers as well as serums which help to balance and hydrate.
Preventing excessive dehydration of the skin is key, so adding in ingredients such as Niacinamide, this super skin-restoring ingredient has multiple benefits for all skin types. Known for its anti-ageing properties, Niacinamide improves the appearance of enlarged pores, targets fine lines, uneven skin tone and helps to repair an impaired barrier function. It’s the barrier function we want to keep as balanced as possible in cooler temperatures and when there’s lower humidity, as these result in dry air which draws moisture away from your skin. Another go-to skincare ingredient is Caffeine. A potent plant extract rich in antioxidants. This skin-soothing agent can help enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. The perfect skin antidote to a winter break.
All you need to remember is the dehydration leads to fine lines on your skin, fine lines (unless treated), lead to wrinkles… Holidays can kickstart the ageing process, unless you switch up your holiday skincare routine.
Doctors Formula Power Actives Niacinamide Serum. 30ml - £34.90
Paula’s Choice Clinical Niacinamide 20% Treatment. 20ml - £47.00
Doctors Formula Power Actives Caffeine Serum. 30ml - £34.90
Staying Sun Safe. Although we can’t see the rays, we can feel their effect on the skin and that lovely warmth of summer, or the get glowing reflection from the slopes. What we often negate is the effect it can have on the skin without true sun protection and envision the detrimental long-term damage that can be caused.
The visible damage of a reddened skin, a burn, blisters, and peeling because of overexposure or unprotected exposure may seem short lived, however, the sun can have a vastly different effect on the skin cells which are not visible to the naked eye at once. Effects of over-sun exposure usually present themselves around 4-5 hours after exposure, however, the long-term effect of the rays can produce defects or mutations within the skin cells, so it’s not just hyperpigmentation which shows as a visible brown or red patch on the skin in years to come, but the damaged and sunburned skin cells can also lead to varying forms of skin cancer.
It’s also the fast-track way to gain premature wrinkles and damage to the skin cells. While your body can repair some DNA damage naturally, with repeated and over exposure over time, the unrepaired skin cells multiply, leading to longer term effects. So, it’s always better to stay skin safe than be sorry. The easiest way to remember what you need to protect against is UVA - think “A” stands for AGEING. UVB – think “B” stands for BURN.
Boring I know but protect as much of your skin as possible -- after you’ve applied your SPF, reach for wide brimmed floppy hats, long sleeves, and cool linens which are the best for a day out and about in the sun. Sunglasses are essential as the delicate eye area needs extra protection on sunny days, with the skin around the eyes being finer than the rest of your face combined with the temptation to squint more in bright light, wearing a pair of protective wraparound or oversized glasses with UV filter quality lenses are essential. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O and think of the wrinkle prevention! Additionally, take cover for breaks from the intensity of the sun -- walk in the shade, sit beneath a tree, secure that brolly on the beach or simply have a siesta.
Skincare experts and dermatologists will say nothing less than an SPF 30+ for the face – and SPF 50 is even better. Treat your skin like a child when it comes to skincare that’s sun safe. A child’s skin has the youthfulness, plumpness, and elasticity, which is that flawless complexion we’re all searching for. Protect, reapply, and apply again throughout the day (even if it’s a once-a-day application sunscreen!) If we want our skin will be radiant, supple, youthful, and soft - prevention is essential.
The number on your sunscreen shows an average amount of time that your skin is protected for, dependent on how rapidly you would burn without any sun protection. As an example, if you’re likely to burn within 15 minutes of sun exposure without using an SPF, applying a SPF 30 it offers you 30 times longer sun exposure without burning. So, 30 x 15 would give you 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of protection, but that doesn’t mean you only need to apply your sunscreen once a day. Factoring into the equation, how much you sweat, what you’re wearing, where in the world you are and what time of day it is (are the strength of the sun’s rays stronger at this time?) all play a part in how quickly you can burn. Activities such as water sports or skiing (the reflection off the snow’s surface) as well as travelling in cabriolet or on an open topped bus all need to be factored in to how often you reapply your SPF and what level of SPF you should use.
For me it’s a minimum of an SPF 30, I find you still tan, the colour is more even, it lasts longer, and I avoid burning. On my face it’s always a SPF 30+, my favorites include Nivea, Clarins and Murad.
Nivea Sun Protect and Dry Fast Absorbing Sun Cream Spray SPF 30. 200ml - £7.50
Clarins Dry Touch Facial Sun Care Cream UVA/UVB 30. 100ml - £30.00
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 | PA+++
What I cannot wait for is the new launch from www.doctorsformula.co.uk of the Marine Collagen Anti-ageing Day Moisturiser SPF 50, due at the end of June 2022…
“An antioxidant rich, SPF 50* Active daily moisturiser which shields, locks in moisture, and hydrates the skin. With five sunscreen active ingredients this functional ultraviolet light absorber offers protection against UVA and UVB rays daily, no matter what the weather or season.
Enriched with skin nourishing fatty acids to moisturise & replenish while collagen amino acids aid skin plasticity, hydration and promote a more youthful appearance. Use daily, all year round, for skin protection, hydration, and prevention against the visible signs of premature ageing “
- Be sun safe, think about your skin (as well as your wardrobe) before you travel.
- Check out the temperature’s before you arrive.
- Slough off the dead skin cells.
- Switch up your serums.
- Lighten the lotions.
- Search for samples, mini pots or squidgy tubes.
- Pack your skincare for the flight AND your holidays.
- STAY HYDRATED.
Now GO! Have a fantastic Vay-Cay!
Ps - Don’t forget to order your summer skin essential Anti-ageing Day Moisturiser SPF 50 from www.doctorsformula.co.uk