Since the warmer temperatures have officially arrived, it’s time to start transitioning your skin care routine for summer. While there are known benefits to being in the sun, exposure to UV light, which causes damage to the elastin in our skin, accounts for most of what we consider the ͞normal signs of aging. With elastin loss, skin starts to stretch, sag, bruises more easily and takes longer to heal. While damage may not be visible in youth, the damage from a lifetimes cumulative exposure will show up as you age.

“It’s understandable that we crave sun exposure after bone-chilling months of winter in Canada, however, there are ways to protect our skin while being in the sun, explains Vian Sharef, founder of Dermedix Cosmetic Clinic. Here, Sharef offers up crucial steps and product recommendations to add into your summer skincare routine.

Saving Face

“Sun exposure will always give us short-term benefits at the expense of long-term side effects such as aging and skin cancer, says Sharef. Our faces receive by far the most exposure to the sun and can benefit significantly from preventive measures.

For skin that has seen more than its fair share of UVs over the years, there are a multitude of options to treat, and in some cases reverse the damage done.

“With the constant advancements in skin treatments, it’s overwhelming to determine what’s the best treatment for our skin. More and more women are seeking procedures that are less invasive, and natural looking with minimal downtime. The latest procedures that fit these criteria are micro-needling, PRP (Plasma Rich Platelets) and laser skin rejuvenation. These procedures are progressive, not aggressive, resulting in gradual natural stimulation of collagen and elastin.”

Love Your Skin

While leading an active lifestyle (or just lounging by the pool, drink in hand), sunscreen is highly recommended. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, we must apply sun block 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours while being outdoors. Using a water resistant SPF while swimming is ideal, she advises. Some sunscreens are effective up to 45 minutes in water so if you love the beach or pool, reapply hourly to be on the safe side. Sharef also singles out driving, when unsuspecting people can spend hours unprotected, as an oft-forgotten source of exposure.

A relatively new addition to your sun-protection arsenal is UV-protective sportswear. Made with special fabrics, dyes, minerals or chemical treatments, manufacturers boast that their clothing has an ultraviolet-protection factor (UPF) of 50+ (your usual white t-shirt rates about a 7 on the scale) and blocks about 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Stylistically, the last few years have seen UV-protective clothing shift from function-oriented workwear, towards much chicer options.

Summer Glow

There are more ways than one to get that back-from-vacay bronze without the sun damage. With the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of ultraviolet radiation devices (specifically tanning beds) as known carcinogens, you should be looking for alternatives that won’t put you at risk.

According to Sharef: ͞the best way to get glowing, natural, healthy looking skin is to use self-tanners.” Self-tanners come in many forms, including lotions, wipes and sprays, and feature dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a plant-based sugar compound. When DHA is applied to skin it stains the upper layers, giving it a tanned glow that can last about a week.

There are so many self-tanning products on the market. However, my favourite line that’s available in Canada right now are the James Read self-tanners. There are a number of options to choose from, they’re organic sugar cane based, smell sweet, look stunningly natural and are very easy to apply, says Sharef. You’ll look, smell and feel great safely– what’s not to like?

Get out there and enjoy the sun (in moderation), the summer and all that it entails. The bottom line is that your best protection is the kind you’ll actually wear.


Hair: Anmar Sahar

Photography: Meiji Nguyen

Makeup: Vikki Aldridge

Model: Dana @ Viviens Model Management