Skincare in the Sunshine: What you need to know

Skincare in the Sunshine: What you need to know

Summer can play havoc with your skin – from unwanted spots to sunburn, your skin can end up looking and feeling dry and damaged. While it’s essential to apply an SPF daily to prevent sunburn (as well as stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day: 10am – 4pm), you can do more for your skin by being aware of certain ingredients in your skincare products.

Summer Skin Woes | Harley Medical GroupIf you exfoliate regularly or you’re in the process of treating ageing or acne, the products in your daily routine may have an effect on your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and some anti-ageing ingredients actually work less effectively when exposed to UV rays. 

Are you burning more easily? Protecting your skin from sun damage is a top priority, so look carefully at the ingredients in your skincare products. They may be thinning your skin temporarily, making it more susceptible to UV exposure and damage.

Here are some of the active ingredients you should look out for in your summer skincare products.

  • AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

AHAs are found in chemical exfoliators, anti-ageing products and acne solutions. They work by dissolving the surface layers of dead skin cells, brightening and clearing your complexion. 

Look out for products containing ingredients like Gycolic Acid, Citric Acid and Lactic Acid -  which are all AHAs. These active ingredients have a lot of benefits, but they will also increase your skin’s photosensitivity, so make sure you apply plenty of SPF if you’re using a product which contains AHAs.

  • BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)

BHAs are a deep-cleaning ingredient found in acne treatments, they work by penetrating the pores to remove dirt and oil.  

Salicylic Acid is a common BHA and its deep cleaning properties make it a fantastic blemish fighting ingredient. BHAs are generally less irritating during the summer months than AHAs, however, we recommend you keep a close eye on your skin if you’re out in the sun. If you notice you’re burning apply a higher factor SPF.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerful blemish fighting ingredient found in some acne treatments. The active ingredient works as an antibacterial agent (which can mean it’s quite harsh and drying on your skin so apply it carefully) and is found in concentrations of between 2.5 – 10%. 

If you use a product containing Benzoyl Peroxide regularly, make sure you apply proper SPF during the summer months as it can increase the sensitivity of your skin.     

  • Retinol

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and is a highly effective anti-ageing ingredient. Retinol was a huge breakthrough in anti-ageing skincare products, however one of the biggest drawbacks is that it can irritate and dry your skin.

For a product containing Retinol, look for ingredients such as Retinol, Retinoid or Retinoic Acid. Beauty experts recommend only using Retinol at night. This is because exposure to the sun can diminish the efficiency of the active ingredient.
What else can you do to prevent sunburn and skin damage?

Summer Skin Woes | The Harley Medical Group

As well as being aware of the ingredients in your existing skincare products, adding a broad spectrum SPF into your beauty routine is really important during the summer months.  

Broad spectrum means you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA are the rays associated with premature ageing, whereas UVB are the ones which will burn your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. 


A single day of heavy sun can undo months of skin brightening treatments, so be sure to apply sunscreen throughout the day to keep your skin fully protected, especially after sweating or time in the swimming pool.

A lot of daily facial moisturisers now include SPF as standard, so look out for a product containing at least SPF 15 for this multi-tasking benefit. 

It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (10am – 4pm) and remember to cover up areas like your shoulders and scalp, which are prone to sunburn. 

What if it’s already too late? 

Summer Skin Woes | The Harley Medical GroupIn an ideal world we’d all avoid sun damage to our skin, but if you have been caught out there are effective treatments to help repair your complexion.

In the short term, if you have sunburn, apply a cooling after-sun to relieve the pain and reduce the redness of your skin. A product containing aloe vera is a good idea as this will help to soothe and nourish your frazzled skin.

If you’re starting to notice the longer term results of sun damage from previous years, such as uneven pigmentation or premature wrinkles, Non-Surgical Treatments can help restore your complexion. 

Medical Microdermabrasion is a deep exfoliating treatment. By spraying the skin with medical grade crystals the treatment buffs away the surface layers of dead skin cells, revealing the newer, healthier cells beneath. 

The treatment can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as evening out the tone of your skin and improving its overall texture. 

Isolaz Lasers use the therapeutic quality of light to rejuvenate your complexion. A course of treatments can make a dramatic improvement to the overall appearance of the skin and is an effective treatment for uneven pigmentation. 

Skin Peels are a non-abrasive exfoliating treatment, so if you have sensitive skin this will be a better option for you than Medical Microdermabrasion. 

During a Skin Peel a low concentration acid solution is applied to the skin. Then over a period of days following your visit to our clinic a shedding process will take place, removing the surface layers of dead skin.

The treatment reveals a brighter, healthier looking complexion, improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles and evening out skin tone and texture. 

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