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The Directory: Caring for your summer skin

Experts in the UAE give their best tips to avoid skin nightmares this season

Picture for illustrative purposes only
Image Credit: Getty Images
Picture for illustrative purposes only.

It’s getting hot out there. And as temperatures cross their mid-forties Celsius in the UAE, experts are saying that men need to take care, even more than women, of their skin during summer.

“Men’s skin is more fragile due to daily shaving, which leads to a loss of natural protection, increasing irritation, sensitivity and dryness,” says Wu Hong, the education manager at natural skin care brand Pevonia. “Compared to women’s skin, men’s is approximately 20 per cent thicker and firmer as it is richer in collagen and elastin, therefore ages later in life. Testosterone generates a higher amount of secretions, [also] making skin prone to acne and blemishes.”

For your ultimate skin care guide, The Directory enlists the help of experts to give us their top tips on how to avoid the worst skin nightmares this season:



The first step is to cleanse and cleanse thoroughly, says Tina Tesfaye, the products and lifestyle brands trainer of JBC, a company which distributes skin care brands including Ren, Nougat London and The Organic Pharmacy in the UAE.

“It should be the core of your every skin care regimen. Excess oil can stick to the skin and block the pores, preventing your razor from gliding along the skin smoothly. Use a cleanser that is strong enough to cut through the grease and yet gentle enough to be used at least two times a day,” she says.

Cleansing is especially important in the summer as you sweat more in the heat and this can cause a build-up of excess oil and bacteria on the skin, which can lead to skin problems, says Eli Abrass, senior brand manager at Beiersdorf Middle East & North Africa, the German company which owns Nivea, Labello and Eucerin brands among others.

“A simple routine using a refreshing face wash for men and a non-greasy moisturiser specially designed for male skin can make a difference in how your skin looks and feels.”



Layering yourself with a good water-based moisturiser should be the most important part of your regime this summer, says Dr Olfa Mokrani Ep Al Fahim, a dermatoligist at Kaya Skin Clinic which has branches across the UAE.

“[But] bear in mind that moisturisers should be used on damp skin. This helps in sealing the water which results in helping the skin to hold the moisture better,” she advises.

It’s important to know your skin type first and to choose products accordingly, says Abrass.

“For example, if you have oily skin you should use a non-greasy moisturiser and if you have sensitive skin opt for the extra gentle formula.”



Not using sunscreen now could cause a ‘leather skin’ effect later in life, he adds.

“You may not be outdoors all day every day but a walk to the car or to the shops or out for lunch will exposure your skin to damaging sun rays if it’s not properly protected,” says Abrass. “Sunscreen has come a long way in recent years and there are light, oil free, easily absorbed products designed for the face available in supermarkets and pharmacies. Or look out for moisturisers with at least an SPF 30. Apply a small amount before you head out the door and your skin will thank you when you get older.”



Shaving properly during summer could also help your skin, says Abrass.

“Blunt blades and shaving in the opposite direction to the hair growth can cause skin irritation and unpleasant feeling. Irritated skin from shaving coupled with excessive sweating in the summer months can leave you with painful stubble and skin problems,” he says. “For an extra skin soothing feeling, follow with a splash or two of aftershave balm or fluid.”

To shave correctly, follow your hair growth, says Tesfaye.

“Shaving against the direction of hair growth is the leading cause of razor burn, skin rash, skin irritation and cause an ingrown hair resulting in inflammation and possible infection,” she says.

And aftershaves are must-haves to help avoid chapped skin, adds Pevonia’s Hong.

“It’s one of the most important step that most men should not forget. During summer, because high winds can chap and damage the skin, it could lead to peeling, flaky skin, while others may see acne or an increase in oil production. So a soothing after shaving balm is a must.”



While what you put on your skin is essential, the things you put in your body is as important, say our experts.

“Women need to drink 8 to 10 cups of water a day to avoid dehydration, for men it’s 10 to 12 cups, says Kaya Skin Clinic’s Dr Al Fahim.

“Eat low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, yogurt and cottage cheese as calcium is lost through sweating,” she says. “To beat the effects of heat on our bodies, one must consume fruits like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and foods which are strong in protein, in the form of lean meats, beans, nuts, and seeds.”

A healthy balanced diet is essential, and get some regular exercise, says Beiersdorf’s Abrass. “Drop your intake of fast foods to a minimum and eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Not only will you feel better and have more energy, but it will improve the appearance of your skin too.”



If you are using hairstyling products, be careful, warns Tesfaye.

“Avoid getting hair products directly on the skin and look for products that are noncomedogenic, which won’t block pores,” she says. “Always cleanse your face thoroughly to remove all hair product residue, and avoid styling products if you are going to be exercising or sweating.

Also two-in-one shampoos and conditioners are thick mixtures that can cause breakouts, she adds.




Dr El Fahim also advises about choosing the right garments to protect your skin.

“Wear cottons rather than synthetics. For your feet, flip-flops and strappy sandals are definitely the better choice over closed shoes. As we are aware the feet that don’t breathe cause to stink and develop heat rash,” she says. “And always carry a good pair of sunglasses.”