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Skincare needs to change on a sun holiday and prepping your skin for the heat and sunshine is just as important as packing your bikini.

Holidays (usually) involve lower stress levels and more sleep, so they should also result in clearer, healthier skin.  However, if you haven’t adapted your skincare routine to the warmer climate, it can go the other way instead.  In Ireland, humidity and heat is generally not an issue.  But a last minute trip to somewhere warmer than Ireland (basically anywhere) in search of some mid-August sunshine can require some skincare prep and planning if you want your skin looking its absolute best.


Before you go:  Deep exfoliation and hydration before your flight will allow your skin to look its best when you land.  Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant is perfect for this – it is gentle enough to use everyday in the week leading up to your holiday, and your moisturiser will penetrate better when the dead skin cells have been removed.  You do have to be careful to avoid exfoliators with glycolic acid, or liquid exfoliators, as these can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage.  Avoiding retinoids and hydroquinone ingredients is also very important for this reason.  A hydrating mask the night before you fly can help reduce the dehydrating effects of air travel.

The skin on your body can likewise benefit from some holiday prep – a decent exfoliation with a mix of brown sugar and olive oil will remove dead skin cells and help attain an even tan all over.  Supplementation with some vitamin E, C and beta-carotene is another way to prepare and protect your skin on a sun holiday.  Tan Optimiser from Imedeen and Skin Defender from Advanced Nutrition have great reviews, although I have yet to properly try either myself.


Skincare while you’re away:  warmer temperatures cause more sweating, and your pores can become more easily clogged full with dead skin cells and products that are too heavy or rich.  Switching to a lighter moisturiser and continuing with gentle exfoliation while you are away should prevent breakouts.  Sunshine is beneficial for a number of reasons: vitamin D (which most of us Irish are deficient in to some extent), improving mood (while you may not have SAD, you only have to note the improvement in everyone’s mood when we get a week of sunshine in Ireland) and a healthy glow can do wonders for a gal’s confidence.

However, hyper pigmentation, sun damage and skin cancer don’t do anyone any favours.  Being strict with regular SPF application doesn’t mean missing out on a tan altogether, but it does prevent brown spots (a.k.a. liver spots or age spots), burning and of course reduces the risk of skin cancer.  I stick to factor 50 for my face and décolletege, as this is where the most delicate skin is, and the area that brown spots, wrinkles and uneven skin tone are the most obvious – and the easiest area to fake a tan with make up.  Factor 10-20 for the body will prevent burning in most skin types, although the fairer skinned may require more protection.  Occasionally I find my face becomes more prone to breakouts no matter what lengths I’ve gone to, and in this case protecting your face from the sun with a hat means I can skip the suncream and allow my skin to breathe for a couple of days – I am then very strict with shading my face, as age spots are much harder to get rid of than regular spots!


Makeup while you’re away:  even the driest of skin can become oilier if you holiday somewhere humid, and you may find your make up sliding off.  Switching to an oil free formation can help, as does a primer.  I have found using a lighter base in general to be the way forward – the new liquid Hoola bronzer is excellent for adding some colour, as is the bronzing make up base from Chanel.  Urban Decay do a fantastic setting spray that also works well as a primer, if you spray it on your foundation brush and apply it before your tinted moisturiser/foundation/concealer.  It also comes in a travel size that is perfect for travelling with only hand luggage.

Have you any tips or tricks for keeping skin at it’s best while away?  And what are the products that make the cut when you’re travelling without checked baggage?