Your out-of-office notice has been turned off and summer seems to be drawing to an end. Whilst lazy sun-soaked days do wonders for the soul, they can be tough on your skin. If you’re guilty of having let your skincare regime take a backseat to ‘fun in the sun’, now is the time to decide what improvements you want to make to your skin over the winter and to give it the much-needed attention it's been craving:

Tip 1: Dark Spots

It only takes a few days of lapsed sun protection to make freckles, facial pigmentation and age spots more noticeable.

Antioxidants help neutralise ultraviolet (UV) damage caused by excess sun exposure. The most effective ones contain vitamin C, but all products are not created equal. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF (oily or combination skin) and CE Ferulic (dry skin) are my all-time favourite antioxidant serums. Apply 4-5 drops to the face, neck and décolletage with your fingertips in the morning after cleansing and follow with an SPF 50 sun protection moisturiser. I love SunSense Daily Face SPF 50+. It has a universal tint to even out skin tone and acts as a primer for make-up.

Apply a retinol cream before bed. As well as targeting dark spots, these products can also be used to freshen a dull complexion and soften fine lines. For over the counter options, my top picks are La Roche Posay Redermic R and SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3. Fantastic in their own right, these products can also be used for a month or two before switching over to a prescription retinoid or hydroquinone-based skin lightening cream to improve tolerance in first-time users.

Tip 2:​ ​Breakouts

Whilst acne improves with sunshine in some cases, hot and humid weather is just as likely to cause breakouts in others. If you’re desperate to banish blemishes before winter, Image Clear Cell Clarifying Pads contain a combination of salicylic and glycolic acid to unblock pores and remove impurities and excess oil. Wipe these over the skin after exercise or on-the-go.

Acne is an increasing issue in adult women. Research published by the American Academy of Dermatologists in February 2016 reveals that up to 12% of women continue to suffer with acne in their thirties, forties and even fifties. A dermatologist can talk you through the multitude of effective treatments for acne, so there is really no need to put up with breakouts, loss of self-esteem and the risk of permanent scarring.

Tip 3: Rough Skin

Sea water and swimming pools dry the skin out and can lead to flaking, itching and rough, raised bumps. Choose a nourishing body wash, such as Aveeno, and gently exfoliate any rough or scaly areas once or twice a week with a Buf Puf. Follow with Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Body Lotion or Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion. These intensive treatment creams contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which slough away dead skin cells and boost cell renewal leaving you with silky skin.

Tip 4: Cracked Heels

After months of summer sandals, dry, cracked skin builds up on our soles and heels. Soften hard skin by applying a urea-based foot cream, such as Flexitol Heel Balm, before bedtime. Massage it firmly into the skin for a couple of minutes and cover with cotton socks to increase absorption. After a few days, the skin should start to soften and you can use a pumice stone to tackle more stubborn areas.

Tip 5: Chapped Lips​

With the threat of cooler temperatures just around the corner, now is the time to sort out parched lips before they become even more vulnerable to cracking and splitting. Pop some Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream or Bioderma Atoderm lip balm in your handbag and apply frequently and liberally throughout the day to sore lips.

Tip 6: Diet & Fitness

It is worth giving some thought to your diet and fitness regime if you’ve let things slide over the summer. Get plenty of sleep and keep yourself hydrated. Healthy bodies mean glowing skin, greater confidence and an overall sense of contentment and wellbeing. When we look well, we feel well!

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