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Elegant

The ravages of central heating, lazy winds that go through rather than around you, and biting cold mean that winter gets all the bad press as the season that takes the greatest toll on skin, but summer can be tough on it, too.

After all, it's pretty unlikely that you'll get accidentally sunburned at an impromptu barbecue in January.

Since the reality is that even the most conscientious sunscreen devotee can sometimes slip up, keep these summer skin saviours on hand to ensure a speedy recovery from any sun-related mishaps.

>Best for the face

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Epidermal Repair Accelerator, €12.50, is an awfully big name for a small tube of product, but this is a little moisturising multitasker that punches well above its weight.

It soothes even the most delicate, sensitised, or rosacea-prone skin, protects from irritation, and prevents bacterial infections, all while speeding up the skin's repair process by stimulating the renewal of damaged cells.

Cicaplast is recommended by dermatologists for use after facial peels and laser treatment, but it's extremely effective in the treatment of scrapes and cuts, minor burns, insect bites, cracked heels, and sunburn.

Unlike many conventional aftersun products, this pro-recovery cream is also cosmetically elegant: Cicaplast's gel-like texture is non-sticky, doesn't clog pores, and provides such a good base for foundation that some make-up artists are actually using it as a primer.

No wonder the mother-in-law made off with my tube of the stuff last time she was visiting.

>Best for the BODY

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I've sustained some spectacularly stupid sunburns in my adult life.

Most recently, I managed to scald both shoulders when I removed my cardigan on a day out, completely forgetting that I had no sunblock on my arms.

My ultimate skin saviour following such lapses into idiocy is aloe vera gel, which can be found in pharmacies, department stores, and health food shops.

The gel should be applied topically (just in case anyone was thinking of trying it in a sandwich) and I find that it provides instant, cooling relief, reduces tell-tale redness, and restores suppleness to sun-damaged skin.

In addition, it has the distinction of being the only body product ever to prevent my sunburned skin from peeling, and I've tried more than one or two aftersuns in my time.

For skin that's too sore even to touch, the hands-free delivery mechanism offered by a spray-on gel is just what the beauty writer ordered.

Fruit of the Earth Aloe Mist, €6.99, from pharmacies nationwide.


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