Beauty hacks: how to repair and prevent sun damage on your skin

Our skincare experts have the answers to all your summer beauty woes with fixes for dry skin, congestion, sunscreen irritation and more.

A woman applying sunscreen on her face at the beach.
  • Penny Carroll
  • January 2020

Don’t let sweat, sun and soaring temperatures get in the way of a fresh face. Whatever your skincare issue, here are the expert tips and products you need.

Choose the right sunscreen

To avoid sunscreen sensitivity, opt for what’s known as a physical sunscreen – one that uses minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to deflect the sun’s rays. “These tend to be less irritating,” says Dr Liz Dawes-Higgs, from Northern Sydney Dermatology. They’re also kinder on our oceans. Whatever sunscreen you use, “reapply every two hours”, Dr Dawes-Higgs notes.

Try: Avène Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+, AUD $34.95, avene.com.au opens in new window

Avoid sun damage

“The best step is to prevent it,” says Dr Dawes-Higgs. “This means sun-protective clothing, hats and sunscreen.” Use a soothing after-sun lotion to aid recovery after sun exposure. Noticed some damage? “Products containing vitamin A, hydroquinone, fruit acids and antioxidants can help,” says Dr Dawes-Higgs. Use these ingredients in the evening only, Fisers advises.

Try: Sun Bum After Sun Cool Down Lotion, AUD $11.99, trustthebum.com opens in new window; Medik8 Retinol 6TR Serum, AUD $89, medik8.com.au opens in new window

Two bottles of serum.
Products containing vitamin A are a great remedy for sunburn.

Keep skin hydrated

If you are suffering from dehydration, try using an oil cleanser to replenish moisture, suggests beauty author Bernadette Fisers. A few spritzes of face mist can also refresh parched skin.

Try: Mere Phytosphere Bio-Divergent Cleansing Oil Complex, AUD $56, mereskincare.com opens in new window; Bybi Beauty Mega Mist hyaluronic acid facial spray, AUD $42, bybi.com opens in new window

Pick moisturising gels and lotions

Lightening up your products for summer will help avoid congestion. Opt for gels and lotions over winter’s thick creams. “Wear a light moisturiser and try to get an SPF in it so you are not doubling up on product,” Dr Dawes-Higgs says. She adds that you should also exfoliate once a week to keep skin clear.

Try: Natio Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF 50+, AUD $19.95, natio.com.au opens in new window; Essano Rosehip Gentle Facial Exfoliator, AUD $14.99, essano.com.au opens in new window

A white tube of facial moisturiser.
A light moisturiser will help avoid congestion in the warmer months.

Start with a primer

If you have oily skin, use a primer under your makeup to help control excess shine. Dr Dawes-Higgs suggests carrying blotting papers, too, for on-the-go shine control. “You can also cool off with a hydrogel mask,” Fisers adds.

Try: Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier, AUD $57, bobbibrown.com.au opens in new window; Swisspers Blot-Off Oil Tissues, AUD $7.65, swisspers.com.au opens in new window; Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrogel Mask, AUD $5.99, neutrogena.com.au opens in new window

Here’s how to detox your travel beauty bag opens in new window.