Feeling the heat

29 Jun 2006 by business traveller

Barbecues, the beach, watching cricket, wearing shorts, basking in sunshine... there's no denying that summer brings us a great sense of wellbeing. But it doesn't always make you look as good as you feel. Your skin in particular can suffer in the heat and humidity – and not just from the obvious sunburn you'll suffer by not wearing enough sunscreen.

Sweating can exacerbate a variety of skin conditions, from eczema to acne, as well as making you look as if you're about to have a heart attack. Equally, when exposed to UV rays, the skin doesn't naturally shed as often as it should, which can result in clogging and dullness due to the build-up of dead surface skin cells. Add to that the dryness that frequent flyers often complain of due to low humidity in the cabin, and your skin is almost certain to misbehave.

The key to summer skin care is to cleanse frequently with a non-drying product and to exfoliate your skin a few times a week to help cell turnover. Choose your moisturiser according to your skin's condition. If it feels oilier go for lighter gels. If it's rough and dry, choose a richer product. You might find your skin's needs change from day to day, so it can be worth having a selection of products to treat it with accordingly.

To help you look and feel extra fresh, go for products containing mint or its derivative, menthol. Traditionally the herb is used for pain relief, as an anti-inflammatory and as an invigorating tonic (not to mention as a nice accompaniment to roast lamb or a glass of Pimms). It's also well known for calming digestive problems. In grooming products, as well as delivering an immediate cooling sensation, mint offers soothing, antiseptic, refreshing properties. In short, it's the perfect summer ingredient.

Feel-fresh tips

1) Stay hydrated by drinking at least six to eight glasses of water a day. If your urine is dark-coloured, you need to drink more.
2) Wear loose-fitting clothes whenever possible, as this will help to regulate your body temperature. A light dusting of talcum powder will help to keep you dry.
3) Take cool showers as often as you can to reduce body heat.
4) Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks when flying as they are diuretics and will dehydrate your body and your skin.
5) Buy a small portable water spray (Evian makes one, as does skincare company Avene and others) to spritz your face with for a quick refresh on the move.

What to buy

01. Nivea for Men Cooling Gel Moisturiser, £8.50
Restores the skin's natural moisture balance without stickiness. Mint instantly freshens dull skin, while magnesium boosts cell metabolism.

02. King of Shaves Post Shave Face Balm, £3.99
Designed to soothe, cool and rehydrate spot-prone or sensitive skin after shaving, this leaves skin matte and supple. With menthol, tea tree and hemp seed oil.

03. L'Oreal Men Expert Vita Lift, £10.99
With anti-wrinkle and anti-sag ingredients, this also contains Advanced Defence System (ADS), a complex with peppermint leaf extract that reduces skin sensitivity.

04. Lab Series Multi-Action Face Wash, £15
This foaming cream cleanser, containing peppermint, has gentle exfoliating beads to leave your skin looking bright and fresh and prepped for shaving.

05. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF25, £5.50
Dry, chapped lips are instantly soothed with this emollient balm containing mint, avocado oil, green tea and UVA/UVB filters for sun protection. Also stocked at hqhair.com.

06. Molton Brown Cool Mentha Hair and Body Sport Wash, £11
Two-in-one cleansing and conditioning for hair and body that also stimulates the senses and revives aching muscles. This aromatic shower gel contains menthol, citrus and spearmint oils.

07. Clinique Skin Supplies for Men Exfoliating Body Wash, £11
A rich, foaming cleanser that also works as a body scrub, while refreshing and cooling the body with menthol. A good wake-up call.

08. Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub, £14
A skin polisher with caffeine, menthol and lemon and orange peel extracts that sloughs away dead surface skin cells and softens facial hair for a closer shave.

09. Givenchy Very Irresistible Givenchy for Men, from £29.50
This summery woody green scent is full of energy and freshness thanks to ingredients such as mint leaf, but also has a sensual side, created with mocha and warm hazelnut wood.

10. Origins Fire Fighter Plus Beard Taming After Shave Soother, £15
An oil-free post-shave product with refreshing peppermint that not only takes the fire out of razor-burned skin, but helps maintain that just-shaved look for longer.

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