By Tatin Yang for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
1. Skin discolorations, uneven skin tone
The culprit: Applying sunscreen incorrectly
While most dermatologists advise applying pea-sized amounts of creams and lotions on the face, the exception is sunscreen: more is better. It's not just the amount or the SPF strength either, frequency is also important.
If you sweat more, you'll have to stash a lightweight sunscreen in your purse. Most sunscreens act as a physical barrier against the sun's harmful rays, and this protective film over your face can be eroded by sweat, leaving some parts of your skin more exposed than the rest; this could cause uneven patches of color on the face and body. This is also why sunscreen should be applied last over your toner and moisturizer; the water component of the latter breaks down your sunscreen's potency, leaving you unprotected.
Fix it: Make sure to look for a waterproof/water-resistant formula if you tend to sweat a lot. If the thought of reapplying sunscreen on top of a sweaty face that has been exposed to dust and pollution seems revolting, you're not alone. Switch out your makeup base products to one that has SPF, or use a primer with SPF instead.
2. Body acne
The culprit: Sweat and bacteria
Sweat plus bacteria can equal acne. Dermatologists call it "poral occlusions," where a mixture of oil and sweat burrow and squat in your pores. Whatever it's called, "bacne", body breakouts, etc., you don't want it on your skin, period. It can be painful and unsightly.
Fix it: Turn your skin into a no-access zone for body acne. Start by using an antibacterial soap or shower gel in the morning. A salicylic acid based body wash helps keep pores clear, too. Wear clothes in breathable fabrics that help keep sweat away from your body, and keep a small towel handy in your grooming kit to wipe away excess sweat from the body. Make sure to wipe down after an intense workout (if you can't shower immediately, use antibacterial wipes).
3. Brittle hair
The culprit: Sun exposure
Our hair's main purpose, aside from making us look good, is to protect our scalp from heat. This means that on a daily basis, our hair takes quite a beating from its exposure to the sun, which could result in dryness, coarse texture, brittleness, and split ends.
Fix it: Look for shampoos and conditioning treatments that address breakage issues, as well as those that contain keratin and amino acids—these help strengthen the hair, making it more resistant to sun-related damage. Some brands also have shampoos meant to be used in the summer, containing a cocktail of fortifying ingredients as well as UV filters. Incorporate a once a week deep conditioning treatment for your hair to infuse locks with moisture and make it ready to face the sun again. For intense sun situations, make sure to cover tresses with a hat—this helps protect your scalp from burning as well.
4. Dry, scaly, bumpy, skin
The culprit: Hot showers, air conditioner exposure, chlorine damage, sunburn
For those who can't start a day without a hot shower, skip it this summer. Hot showers strip your body of its natural oils, leaving skin dry and scaly. On the other side of the temperature spectrum, cooling yourself down by staying in an air conditioned room can leach the humidity from the air, drying out your skin, leaving it itchy and flaky. Outdoor water activities, like swimming in a pool can also dry out skin, especially with its high chlorine content.
Fix it: Despite the summer heat, moisturizing your body is still important. Look for a lightweight fluid or lotion containing soothing ingredients like aloe and cocoa butter—these help calm down irritated skin while locking in moisture. At night, switch to a heavier cream to help skin recover while sleeping. Exfoliate once a week to help get rid of rough surface skin cells.
5. Extreme facial oiliness
The culprit: Over washing the face, heavy night creams and heavy makeup and poor diet
Extreme heat can leave your face looking like an oil slick especially when you get sucked into bad summer habits, like washing your face one time too many in an attempt to cool yourself down. This inadvertently strips your face of its natural oils, leaving it working overtime to produce more. On the other hand, while a heavy body cream can do wonders for your parched skin, slathering a heavy night cream on your face will give you shine problems throughout the day. When it comes to food, check your alcohol and spicy food intake at the door—these dilate blood vessels, making you perspire and produce oil.
Fix it: Follow this rule when switching to summer skin care for the face: If you've been using cream, switch to emulsion, if you've been using emulsion, switch to gel or fluid, or better yet, use your serum or essence to provide moisturization (its lightweight formula will deliver the good stuff, while keeping your face matte and fresh). Banish heavy foundation for now and switch to tinted moisturizers or light concealer to cover flaws and keep blotting papers handy to mop away any excess shine. Fill your daily diet with lots of foods rich in vitamin A, which helps slow down oil production, and as always, drink plenty of water.
Tatin Yang is a freelance beauty writer for Candy magazine, Good Housekeeping Philippines, and Philippine Daily Inquirer. Aside from writing, she's been doing makeup for six years and is also a self-confessed dog lover, bookworm and Steve Jobs devotee.