Heat causes skin aging. Here’s what to do to prevent it.

We know that exposure to UV rays wreaks havoc on our skin. It depletes the moisture, triggers excess sebum production, destroys collagen, and causes hyper-pigmentation. Luckily, preventive measures from this type of skin aging are relatively straightforward – regular (and generous) sunscreen re-application and UV protective clothing.

As it turns out, however, there is another skin aging culprit to watch out for – heat. Recent research suggests that constant skin overheating can be as damaging to skin as UV. Prolonged heat exposure makes protective antioxidant levels in our skin to drop, leaving it more susceptible to free radical damage. It also triggers cells to create a pigment that will show up on the skin as age spots. Unfortunately, this type of aging can’t be prevented just by stocking up on sunscreen.

So, what can you do? Read along to find out.  

First thing first – know your ingredients.

There are plenty of natural ingredients to look for in your gels, creams, and masks that will help to reduce skin heat.

  • Titanium dioxide & zinc oxide. These minerals physically block infrared heat keeping your skin cooler. Bonus points –they also double as sunscreen agents typically found in physical (mineral) sunscreen formulas.
  • Peppermint & Menthol. While these ingredients don’t reduce skin temperature, they trick your brain into thinking it needs to re-adjust body heat. As a result, the blood flow to the skin’s surface decreases, and you get that cooling, tingling sensation.  
  • Cucumber. A classic, tried-and-tested ingredient that will deliver cooling, calming, and de-puffing effect. It will also help to hydrate and slightly brighten the skin. That’s why people put fresh cucumber slices on their eyes to get rid of any night swelling and dark circles.
  • Aloe. Another classic.  You won’t feel an instant cooling sensation with this hydrating and cooling gem like you would with menthol or peppermint. Instead, it will naturally reduce the skin temperature by several degrees, making for a more long-term, sustainable cooling effect.
  • Allantoin. Not precisely a cooling ingredient, but it is an ingredient worth looking for nonetheless. As overheated skin often equals red and irritated skin, it will help to calm down and hydrate the skin when it feels on fire.
  • Flower extracts. Look for extracts from white flowers such as Lily, Lotus, Plum or Cherry Blossoms. These will help physically cool down and soothe overheated skin.
  • Colloidal oats. It’s a natural soothing anti-irritant found in moisturizers and masks. It helps your skin to keep its cool.
  • Chamomile. Chamomile extract is known to work wonders on irritated, inflamed skin. Be it due to a bug bite or spending too much time under the sun, this natural anti-inflammatory ingredient will reduce redness and have a skin calming effect.

If you need to step your heat-aging preventing game further, here are the things you can do.

Ice towel or cold compress. Place it on your…neck. Yes, neck. The neck is like the cordon that heat must pass before fully reaching our face. So, concentrating on cooling down the neck area first is crucial to reduce the skin temperature effectively.

Ice roller + cooling sheet mask. Once you’ve placed something icy cold on your neck, now it’s the time to start working on cooling the skin on your face. Apply a sheet mask (preferably, containing some of the cooling ingredients from the list above) and start rolling across your forehead, around the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. It will physically cool down your skin and also help to reduce puffiness, enlarged pores, and improve redness.

Cold footbath. Keeping your feet warm in winter helps you not to feel cold. Vice versa, keeping your feet cold will reduce the body heat, preventing your skin from overheating. Soak your feet in ice-cold water for 20-30 minutes. Follow up with a menthol or peppermint cream.  

Bamboo & linen bedding. Both are natural, breathable fabrics with exceptional temperature-regulating properties that are far superior to cotton. Cotton readily absorbs moisture quickly becoming heavy and clingy (think what happens with your cotton t-shirt when it gets wet). Bamboo and linen wick moisture away from the body and help to maintain comfortable body temperature.

And there you have it. Do you have any other tips on how to prevent the skin from overheating? Share them in the comments below!

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