We know we aren’t the only ones who love summer and look forward to it most of the year. Your hair turns lighter, the water is warmer, the nights get longer and everything just feels more carefree! If you’ve got sensitive skin, days spent swimming and laying out in the sun can be triggers that leave you being picky with what products you use on your face and body. Here’s our survival guide for those who need to keep sensitive smiling, so you can get back to summer lovin’.
What Are The Signs Of Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin can mean different things to different people but it typically points to having a thin or weakened epidermis so the skin’s protective barrier isn’t as strong as it could be. This makes it easier for irritants and bacteria to penetrate the skin causing inflammation, redness and dryness. In other skin types, a functional lipid barrier is able to hold water while keeping environmental toxins like UV rays, heat and harsh chemicals out.
Your sensitive skin might look fragile with broken capillaries while feeling itchy with a dry and patchy texture that’s easily irritated. With added sun exposure and warmer temperatures, delicate complexions may burn quickly and feature high colour which means flare-ups like rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema are quite common.
Can You Be Allergic To Sunscreen?
You might be stressed about irritated skin, dry patches, burns and redness but don’t let summer be a source of anxiety. Reactions to sunscreen are rare but can be a result of sensitivity or an allergy to particular ingredients. This can lead to contact dermatitis as a rash forms where the product was applied, you’re also more susceptible to this if you have eczema. Photocontact dermatitis is another type of reaction where an active sunscreen ingredient and UV light can mingle to cause an allergic reaction. This may show up as severe sunburn, eczema or a rash where the sunscreen was applied and the skin has been exposed to the sun. It’s worth keeping in mind that if you have highly sensitive skin, like rosacea, sunscreen may cause irritation rather than a full allergy.
Reactions can also be linked to other factors such as saltwater or drying chlorine. Sand can be especially irritating for sensitive skin as grains can cause friction which may tear the skin so avoid applying sunscreen to sandy skin and rinse off after a day at the beach. If you’re using medication for your sensitive skin, always check with your health professional about the possibility of increased sensitivity as some creams can make your skin burn more quickly.
Can The Sun Cause Allergies?
A sun allergy is often caused by your immune system treating sun-altered skin as foreign cells. You may see an itchy rash form on your skin which can be followed by stinging, tiny red bumps that turn into raised patches, flushing or hives after being exposed to sunlight. These symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the amount of skin you’ve exposed, the amount of time you spent in the sun and the intensity of light.
What Helps Sensitive Skin In Summer?
Sunscreen is a must for everyone but especially those with sensitive skin as it protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s important to practice good skincare habits throughout the year to prevent premature aging and skin cancer, especially on your neck and decolletage as this area is often more sensitive than other parts of the body. Don’t forget that the more you’re exposed to UV rays, the more frequently you need to apply so why not set an alarm on your phone to remind you every couple of hours?
While you’re at it, complement your sun protection ritual with our terry towel bucket hat! By taking your protection one step further and finding a brimmed hat you love and will want to wear often, you’re protecting your whole face and reducing the amount of UV radiation reaching your eyes by 50%. We recommend choosing a bucket hat over a baseball cap or sun visor as these don’t protect your cheeks, ears or the back of your neck. Our everyday accessory comes in light sage green with a soft jacquard chequered print so you’re sun safe and stylish. You should also be mindful of exposing your body to as little direct sunlight as possible which might mean sitting underneath an umbrella and avoiding the midday sun.
The sun has a way of drying out your skin so keep it healthy by staying hydrated. Summer sweat and humidity will make your skin feel moisturised but the effect isn’t the same as drinking water which also helps improve blood flow, promote nutrient absorption and eliminate toxins from the inside. To give your skin a boost from the outside, use esmi’s Refreshing And Hydrating Skin Snack Face Mist to replenish and refresh your skin. This vegan face mist is perfect for when your skin is exposed to air conditioning, UV light, wind and weather. It’s formulated with apple fruit extract to protect your skin from free radicals and help it maintain youthful elasticity while green tea extract calms redness and raspberry extract protects cells from excessive water loss. We’ll drink to that!
Is Sunscreen Bad For Sensitive Skin?
If you have sensitive skin, sun protection should be one of your top skin care priorities year round. Less is often more when it comes to sensitive skin so as a general rule, the fewer ingredients the more suitable a product may be. It’s best to avoid sun protection products with ingredients that are known to irritate your skin, this means there might be some trial and error involved before finding the perfect sun protection product. To maintain a glowing complexion you’ll want to skip anything with synthetic acids, fragrances and colourants, fillers and preservatives.
If you’re cautious when it comes to trying new skin products, apply a small amount of SPF on your arm and check if there’s any reaction after 48 hours. Be thoughtful when it comes to your skin and avoid trying multiple new products at once, that way you’ll know exactly what the culprit is if you do notice sensitivity or a breakout.
How To Protect Sensitive Skin From The Sun
Keeping your skin safe doesn’t have to mean skipping beach days, our gentle Sun Skills for SENSITIVE is a fragrance-free formula designed for daily use. Developed with delicate skin in mind, it will help strengthen your skin's barrier and prevent premature ageing without clogging pores or irritating skin. Future-proof your sensitive skin with natural aloe vera and vitamin E by applying half a teaspoon for your face and decolletage and a full teaspoon per limb.
No one is perfect so if you missed a spot or stayed out in the sun longer than expected, take the heat out of your exposed skin with our Aftersun Gel. Packed with hydrating ingredients and restorative properties, you’ll feel as cool as a cucumber with aloe vera soothing sunburn, itchy or inflamed skin.
Image by Angelica Echeverry