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There’s no escaping the summer heat, since we all have step outside eventually, right? It feels like a jungle out there, and it’s a fact that increased temperatures can have an impact on your skin. Dermatologist Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson of Modern Dermatology of Connecticut in Westport shares the affects heat can have, and how to protect your skin this summer.
When we feel the sensation of heat on our skin, infrared-A (IRA) energy is to blame. “The sun emits many wavelengths of light, and while UVA and UVB rays are the most talked about, they only account for roughly 5 percent of what reaches us from the sun. IRA is invisible, but it accounts for approximately 50 percent of the energy emitted by the sun—and it has been proven to penetrate the skin more deeply than UVA and UVB rays,” Dr. Robinson explains.
Studies have shown that IRA reaches the dermis, where collagen is most abundant. “This can lead to the breakdown of collagen, which weakens the skin’s support structure and may lead to fine lines wrinkles and pigment changes like age spots and melasma,” Dr. Robinson says. (It’s important to note that these studies were performed with artificial IRA sources—not sunlight.) On the flip side, other research has found that IRA can be beneficial for the skin. She adds, “Unlike traditional laser and light therapies that stimulate collagen production by strategically injuring the epidermis, dermatologists can use IRA to reach the dermis—where fibroblasts produce collagen and elastin—without damaging the epidermis.”
Yet most dermatologists will agree that it’s a good idea to shield your skin from IRA outside of the office setting, particularly those who are prone to hyperpigmentation (such as melasma), which can be worsened by heat. According to Dr. Robinson, “Chemical and physical sunscreens alone do not protect against IRA—they only offer protection from UVA and UVB rays. Topical antioxidants are the best form of protection from IRA, and I suggest starting each day with a topical antioxidant serum underneath SPF.” (Dr. Robinson recommends Pure Bioderm Antioxidant Super Serum.)
Protecting your skin from IRA is one thing, but staying comfortable when the heat reaches its height is another—and there are plenty of products that can help reduce skin temperature and provide refreshment thanks to a cooling sensation on contact. Mint and menthol are commonly found in cooling products, but Dr. Robinson warns, “Anything heavily fragranced can cause skin irritation, especially in already-compromised skin that is dehydrated or overheated.” With this said, be sure to discontinue using anything that makes your skin uncomfortable—and check out our cooling product picks.
Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist
A little setting spray can go a long way for helping your makeup stand up to the heat, and this new product serves up instant cooling and long-lasting oil-absorption while allowing you to reapply water-resistant SPF 50 throughout the day without even laying your hands on your face.
A day of fun in the sun can leave skin in desperate need of some cooling down, and this aloe-based gel soothes, smoothes and hydrates on contact. Best of all, the intoxicating monoi scent transports you to paradise.
Pause Well-Aging Hot Flash Mist
This super-fine spray may be designed to help you weather menopause-related hot flashes—but there’s no reason anyone can’t use it! Formulated with botanical extracts that instantly lower skin temperature, calm the skin and reduce redness, it also contains an anti-aging complex to fight fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity as well.
Salt N Rays Sol Wrap UPF 50+ Towel
Don’t even think about heading out for a day at the pool or beach without this multitasking towel. In addition to drying you off after a dip, its innovative UPF 50+ fabric protects skin from UV rays and imparts a cooling sensation—and it can be worn as a pareo or sarong!
If you don’t have adequate air conditioning—or you’re a hot sleeper regardless of the season—this collection of super-soft bedding is designed to keep you cool so you can sleep better. The secret is bamboo lyocell, an ultra-breathable, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, naturally-derived, sustainable fabric that will leave you wondering how you ever slept on anything else. (And with your choice of 8 colors, there’s at least one to match any décor.)