Australia has just had its hottest year on record. Soaring temperatures and our enthusiastic outdoor lifestyle which extends through most of the year, increases our risk of overexposure to the sun. The thinning of the ozone layer in the mid-latitude over Australia means more UV radiation is reaching the earth, exposing us to greater levels of skin damage and sun damage.
The semi-arid climate experienced by many Australians is often coupled with low humidity and high and low temperatures and the moisture on our skin evaporates freely, resulting in dry skin.
However, light European creams designed for the tepid sunshine of London or Paris often fail to get the cut through that our skin needs after a day in the Australian sun, dissolving into the skin quickly and leave it feeling dry again within hours.
So what sort of formulation works in Australia? In essence, you need something to hydrate it and something to seal the moisture in. Rich occlusive agents like shea butter and beeswax function to seal the moisture in while oils high in linoleic acid like rice bran oil, sunflower and hemp oil provide much needed hydration, leaving skin soft and supple for up to 12 hours afterwards.
Skin Care Tips for Harsh Climates
1. Try balms and natural oils for an excellent skin barrier and extra hydration
2. For really dry and windy conditions, or super dry skin, spray your skin with a light water spritzer (or splash with water) before applying your balm to trap that much needed moisture.
3. Avoid skin-drying ingredients like fragrance, fragrant oils and even essential oils which can cause irritation. Go fragrance free.
4. Always use a sunscreen or scarf to cover up outdoors
With all sunscreens avoid contact with eyes and if irritation persists discontinue use. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection. Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses when exposed to the sun, and stay in the shade where possible. Prolonged high-risk sun exposure should be avoided. Frequent reapplication and use in accordance with the directions is required for effective sun protection. Always read the label and use only as directed.