By Elsa de Berker, she/her
Of all the bright things to look forward to this summer, dehydrated, sun-damaged skin ain’t one of ‘em. In fact, it’s something to avoid at all costs—forever. But, getting outdoors in the warmer weather does have its benefits. Sunlight, in small doses, provides a good shot of mood-boosting vitamin D, which is arguably more essential now than ever before. After upwards of a year in quarantine, aren’t we all in need of a free and easy happiness fix?
Likely then, you’ll be relieved to read that there is such a thing as healthy sun exposure, according to Youth To The People’s Education Executive, Dee Leung.
“Getting light sun exposure early in the morning for around 15 minutes can give us a great amount of vitamin D, which is vital for our mood, body, and skin,” Leung explains, adding that even then it’s plausible that the sun can do some damage. “No matter what the time of day, even if you’re using protection, the sun can take a toll on skin—breaking down collagen, robbing it of moisture, and bringing out irritation, like redness, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles.”
It’s decidedly implausible to expect anyone to stay indoors (bar 15 minutes a day), from now through to Labor Day, so how can we best enjoy the summer and minimize any potential damage from sun exposure? The key, says Leung, lies in diligent sunscreen application during the day, and a deeply restorative routine at night. Below, she breaks down her tried-and-true method:
Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse
“Cleansing is essential regardless of the weather, but choosing a pH-balanced formula is especially beneficial in the summer because of all the dirt, sweat, and pollution our skin comes into contact with,” says Leung. Her all-season post-meridiem favorite is YTTP’s Superfood Cleanser, which contains a soothing blend of spinach, an anti-inflammatory ingredient, and green tea, which cools down overheated skin.
“The sun strips the skin of hydration—wearing away at the moisture barrier and breaking down collagen supplies—leaving us exposed to free radical damage, which can alter how our skin cells function,” Leung continues. Her quick answer is to reach for a humectant-rich mist, like the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist, after cleansing.
“The hyaluronic acid in it helps draw moisture into the skin, restoring hydration levels, while the adaptogens ashwagandha and reishi help alleviate irritation.”
If you frequently enjoy outdoor activities for more than an hour at a time, Leung recommends replacing your usual nighttime moisturizer with YTTP’s Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask. Super potent and rich in antioxidants, it contains THD Ascorbate—a particularly robust form of vitamin C that doesn’t start working until it hits the skin.
“It’s a treatment and a moisturizer in one because it helps to reduce the appearance of sun damage, like hyperpigmentation, while restoring lost moisture while you sleep,” she says.
Seal It In
To make the most of Leung’s sun-restorative regimen, don’t skimp on a few drops of oil to seal the deal.
“By pressing two to five drops of the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil over the mask, you’re creating an additional barrier of moisture to lock in all of the antioxidants so they can get to work combatting free radicals and softening fine lines and wrinkles.”
Protect Your Investment
So, you’ve followed Leung’s bedtime routine to a T, and awakened with plump and hydrated skin. What next? No matter how long or how often you plan to be outside, or what climate you live in, Leung stresses that you’ll undo all of your hard work if you’re not diligent about sun protection.
“I do consultations all day long and it still amazes me that people will spend $200 on their routine but not buy sunscreen,” she says. “Protect your investment and wear sunscreen every day. Look for a formula SPF 30 or higher, and then stock up on a good translucent SPF powder to re-up on protection throughout the day. The latter is easy to apply anywhere, and is particularly good for combination and oily skin types as it has the added benefit of combatting shine.”
Written by Elsa de Berker for Youth To The People