Your Guide to Safe Summer Beauty Treatments
Throughout life, summer has always been associated with freedom and fun. Time off from school, more time to spend with your friends and family, beach trips, gorgeous sunny weather, and so much more. Turns out that sunny weather and freedom don’t always extend to all aspects of life - especially when it comes to beauty treatments. As the days get hotter, the sun is out more, and we're out in the sun more, there are some best practices to follow in regards to caring for your skin and avoiding certain beauty treatments.
- With the use of lasers and chemicals, some beauty treatments are not safe during the summer due to excess exposure to sun and heat, which can cause increased sensitivity, burnt skin, scarring, unwanted hyperpigmentation, and more.
- To keep the skin safe during the summer, it is crucial to incorporate antioxidants and SPF into daily skincare while avoiding beauty treatments such as laser hair removal, laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and intense pulse light treatments.
- Safe beauty treatments that can be done in the summer include dermaplaning, microneedling, microdermabrasion, injectable beauty treatments, and hydrafacials.
Best Beauty Practices for Summer
When it’s time for summer vacation, odds are you’re spending a lot more time outside soaking up the sun’s rays. While vitamin D is essential and easy to obtain from sun exposure, it’s still just as essential to ensure that the skin is kept safe and healthy with beneficial beauty treatments that can reduce free radical damage. Free radicals are basically waste products from various chemical reactions in the cells, and our bodies are under constant attack from oxidative stress that is caused by exposure.
Unfortunately, free radicals are everywhere, and they can come from more than just U.V. rays. That’s why it’s important to incorporate antioxidants into your summer beauty treatments to form a protective shield on the skin and neutralize free radicals and combat the damage they can cause.
In terms of damage, free radicals from sun exposure can cause a breakdown of your skin’s collagen and elasticity, cause premature aging, sun spots, and more. Incorporating powerful antioxidants like vitamin A, C, and E, beta carotene, and lycopene in your daily skin ritual and regular summer beauty treatments will save your skin and give it the protective boost it needs (1). To do so, it’s possible to get antioxidants from the foods you eat, but there are also a ton of topical products on the market today that contain antioxidants that can help.
Other than incorporating antioxidants into your beauty treatments this summer, it is crucial with a capital C to make sure you’re regularly using SPF or sunscreen. SPF, short for sun protection factor, is super important to not only prevent sunburns but to help reduce hyperpigmentation, scarring, rosacea, premature aging, and textured skin.
SPF should be worn every day no matter what the season or weather is like, but especially during the summer when you’re spending more time outside basking in the sun. As an added bonus on top of wearing SPF, you can also avoid excess sun exposure on the face by wearing a lovely wide-brimmed hat (1).
Beauty Treatments Not Safe for Summer
Now that you know the beauty practices that are best for summer, it’s time to discuss the beauty treatments that should be avoided at all costs. In the summer, you’re already more at risk for burning, hyperpigmentation, and peeling, but getting certain beauty treatments can put you at risk even further.
While some beauty treatments are fine, such as dermaplaning and hydrafacials, to exfoliate the face and allow products to more easily penetrate the skin, others can cause more harm than good (1). With certain beauty treatments, the skin can become more sensitive to sun exposure, causing severe irritation and causing harm to the skin barrier. Beauty treatments to avoid include:
Advanced chemical peels
Chemical peels help to reveal a smoother, brighter complexion that evens out the skin tone and can even reduce breakouts (2). Unfortunately, according to Robyn Gyrek, a board-certified dermatologist, chemical peels involve using acid to remove the topmost layer of skin, which causes you to be more susceptible to sun damage (2). The mixture of sunlight and heat is dangerous, as it can cause more extensive damage and hyperpigmentation to the skin while it heals from a chemical peel.
Intense pulse light treatments
These beauty treatments(IPL for short) are best left for the fall or winter. After an IPL treatment, the skin is more prone to sun damage and hyperpigmentation. Plus, freshly tanned skin can increase the risk of inaccurate laser settings and lead to skin injury (2), especially if the IPL treatment is used to target dark spots. The laser cannot tell which spot it is removing if the skin is tanned, and it will generate heat in the entire area, which can lead to damaged or burnt skin (2).
Laser hair removal
While summer is swimwear season and laser hair removal seems enticing, it’s best to avoid it. Lasers used for laser hair removal leave the risk of burning the skin if you have a fresh tan, which can result in scarring. This is because the lasers target melanin in the hair follicle, so if you have darker pigmentation at the skin's surface, it can also be picked up by the laser (3).
Similar to chemical peels, laser resurfacing treatments help exfoliate the top layer of the skin at an advanced level to stimulate new collagen production. The light from the laser penetrates deep into the skin and creates wounds that require a safe healing period. While the skin is healing from these treatments, it is extremely sensitive to sun exposure and can cause unwanted results, increased healing time, and irregular skin pigmentation (2).
Safe Beauty Treatments
If you’re looking to get a beauty treatment in summer that is safe and will have you feeling fresh and glowy, there are a ton of great options that can even act as alternatives to unsafe summer treatments. These safe beauty treatments include:
- Hydrafacials: Hydrafacials are beneficial alternatives to chemical peels, especially during the summer, as hydrafacials combine cleansing, exfoliation, needed hydration, and antioxidant protection all in one. With no healing period or chemicals required for this treatment, it makes it perfect to achieve that glow during the summer without any harm (4).
- Dermaplaning/dermablading: Often considered an alternative exfoliating treatment for chemical peels in summer, dermaplaning helps keep the skin looking fresh and glowy without the need for chemicals. Due to this, it is safe to go out in the summer (5).
- Microdermabrasion: This exfoliating treatment helps strip away old, dead skin cells and is great for mild sun damage, acne, pigmentation, scarring, textured skin, and more. Without the use of chemicals, microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliating option that won’t experience any adverse effects from heat or the sun (6).
- Microneedling: As an alternative for laser resurfacing in the summer, microneedling can trigger healing responses from the skin to produce new collagen in the treatment area. While it is still important to limit excess sun exposure after this treatment, it is not nearly as harmful as the consequences of laser resurfacing (4).
- Injectable beauty treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers: These treatments do not have any negative interactions with the sun or heat, which make them safe for the summertime (4).
Written by Selena Ponton