Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird
Southern California equestrians face big challenges when it comes to keeping their skin healthy, especially in the summer. Sun, wind, perspiration and dirt all take their toll and add to premature aging. Aesthetician Shaun Skadron, an avid rider herself, understands the dangers better than anyone. “Maintenance and protection are the keys to the longevity of youthful, healthy skin.” She offers riders these tips for summertime skin care:
1. Choose products that match you skin type: The most common mistake people make is not considering whether they have dry, oily, normal or combination skin before choosing skin care products.
2. Use a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB coverage: Skadron emphasizes that a good sunscreen with both UVA and UVB coverage is vital. She prefers the Skincuetical Skincare line but also notes that many dermatologists recommend Neutrogena Broad spectrum sunscreen as well.
3. Reapply sunscreen often: Contrary to popular belief, a higher SPF does not always provide the most protection. The real key is to apply enough good quality sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and to reapply it often throughout the day.
4. Protect the face and lips: It’s important that you use a sunscreen developed specifically for the face. They tend to be less greasy and are less likely to cause breakouts. A moisturizer with sunscreen may not be enough, especially for equestrians spend so much time out in the sun.
Overexposure to the sun can lead to dry, cracked lips and even fever blisters. There are many good sunscreen products for the lips but the key is to reapply them frequently.
5. Don’t forget the nose, ears and chin: These are predominant points of the face so the sun hits these areas first and with more intensity. Other areas that many people forget about are the scalp, chest and back of the hands.
6. Use a gentle cleanser: Cleansers that suds up tend to strip the skin of all the oils and over dry the skin. Oils are the skin's barrier and protection from the sun, pollutants, wind, etc. According to Skadron, when we strip all the oils from the skin, our skin goes into a type of "survival mode". The oil glands over-produce to compensate, causing clogged pores and acne.
7. Make a toner part of your daily routine: Toner restores the Ph balance of your skin. It keeps it from being too acidic (oily), or too alkaline (dry). Cleansers can disrupt the natural balance, causing the skin to overreact and get too oily or too dry, resulting in lines, wrinkles and acne.
8. Remove your make-up at night: Skadron says that research has shown that sleeping in your make-up ages the skin the equivalent of two weeks each time you do it.
9. Choose the right moisturizer: The moisturizer you use should be based on your skin type. For instance, someone with oily skin should use an oil free moisturizer. For sun/damaged skin, you need a moisturizer rich in emollients, vitamins and essential oils. Skadron warns against moisturizers that leave the skin feeling oily or greasy, as they tend to clog the pores and leave your skin looking shiny.
10. Monthly visits to a skin care professional: Equestrians in particular should see a skin care professional once a month for a deep pore cleansing facial, some good exfoliation, and a Cell Renewal treatment to strengthen the integrity of the skin. Facials can significantly slow the aging process and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This may all sound like a lot of work but, as Skadron points out, “The skin is the largest organ of the body and is IRREPLACABLE. It is there to protect all of our organs and bodies for all of our lives. If your teeth go bad, you get dentures. If your hair falls out, you buy a wig. When your skin is damaged, there are very few remedies, and all of them come with extremely high risks.”
Keep in mind that the sooner you start taking care of your skin, the longer you’ll maintain your healthy, youthful appearance.