British Columbia

Skin-care tips that won't break a sweat this summer

British Columbia's summer heat broke 18 weather records Wednesday. But a Vancouver-based dermatologist shares how small steps can can help protect our skins from the harsh summer heat.

Don't ditch your moisturizer in the summer

Vancouver-based dermatologist Dr. Katie Beleznay recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. (Corey Perrine /Naples Daily News/Associated Press)

British Columbia's summer heat broke 18 weather records yesterday. The high of 29.1 C in Vancouver surpassed its previous record of 27.4 C in 1999. 

Our climate could be aging badly. And in this sweltering heat, so can our skin.

"In the summer months we start to see people who either have sun spots, or they have a condition called melasma where they'll get brown marks on their face," said Dr. Katie Beleznay, a Vancouver-based dermatologist and a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia.

"That can become more pronounced in the summer months." 

But we don't need to break a sweat to ensure good skin care in the heat. Small steps can save us face — literally — and a trip to the dermatologist. 

Dr. Beleznay says protection against the sun's harsh UV rays begins with a good sunscreen.

According to Dr. Beleznay, some patients develop melasma in the summer months. It causes a brown pigmentation on the skin, especially the face. (Credit: Dr. Lisa Kellett, dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto.)

Screen your sunscreen

"Ideally, a sunscreen that's broad-spectrum and an SPF of 30 or higher is important," says Dr. Beleznay.  A broad-spectrum product indicates the lotion protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. 

And sunscreen isn't handy only when you step out in the sun.  "Sometimes when people are indoors they think they don't have to worry about the sun. I would say put your sunscreen on even before you go by a window," says Dr. Beleznay. 

Avoid using lotions from last summer and check if your sunscreen has expired. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful UV rays. And if squirmy kids make it difficult to put on a liquid lotion, Dr. Beleznay has an alternative — stick sunscreen. 

And importantly, avoid products that have journeyed many summers in the closet. "Make sure that the sunscreen hasn't expired," said Dr. Beleznay.

Switch products

"Instead of using heavy make up, you may want to consider switching to more lightweight skin care products in the summer months — just like switching from winter to summer clothing," says Dr. Beleznay. 

Some may have to switch from a gentle cream-based cleanser to something more foamy to help cleanse the skin of oil and dirt that may have accumulated during the day. 

Switch to a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer instead of giving it up in the summer. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Don't ditch the moisturizer

It's common to be advised against using skin moisturizers in the summer.

"But a moisturizer that's lightweight can help keep your skin smooth and hydrated which is important even through the summer months," says Dr. Beleznay.

The non-comedogenic type of face-wash products, which are formulated to not block pores, are ideal during the heat and suited for sweaty days.      

Other tips

  • Avoid exposing your skin to the sun during peak heat hours: 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
  • Avoid too many hot showers.
  • Protect your lips using a suitable lip balm.
  • Spread sunscreen over the neck, arms and legs. 
  • Keep yourself hydrated.

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