Summer is almost here and as the days get warmer and dry it is important to take proper care of our skin.
And as many are looking to get that sun kissed look it is appropriate to talk about sun exposure. Should we or should we not sunbathe? This is probably the most controversial topic in regards to health and beauty. Many experts agree that direct sun exposure is one of the worst things we can do for our skin. The UV rays from the sun directly damage the skin, and there is even the opinion that even a slight darkening of the skin is a sign of skin damage, which causes wrinkles, speeds up skin aging, and contributes to a loss of skin elasticity. A tan is actually your body’s way of protecting itself against UV rays. But a tan doesn’t guarantee you will avoid damaged skin cells that can’t repair themselves.
On the other hand, lack of vitamin D, which our body synthesizes from the sunlight, has a lot of negative impacts to our health (read here about the benefits of vitamin D). So what is the best approach? In my opinion it is with safe, smart and limited sun exposure. Your age, complexion, where you live, season and time of day all affect the amount of sun exposure you need. I personally think that getting some limited sunscreen-free sun exposure (no more than 15 minutes) in the early and late hours of the day, is plenty to get a vitamin D boost.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to avoid sunburn at all cost, so be mindful with your sun exposure and don’t allow your skin to redden or burn.
Below are a few tips that will keep your skin healthy during the warm, dry summer months:
- Wear safe, non-toxic sunscreen
Be mindful that you can get sunburn even when it is overcast. So if you are out and about make sure you wear safe, non-toxic sunscreen.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for an SPF of at least 30. Note that bigger SPF (50+ and higher) is not necessarily better. Apply sunscreen everyday especially on your face and neck, where the skin is very sensitive. It is a good idea to also use a daily moisturizer that contains an SPF factor.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to choose an effective, non-toxic sunscreen make sure you check out EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.
If you want to know more about sunscreens, check out this article about 8-little-known facts about sunscreens.
And finally when choosing sunscreen it is a good idea to check the rating on EWG’s website.
- Avoid tanning beds
By now we know that tanning beds are linked to cancer are no safer than the actual sun, so they should be avoided. If you are prioritizing some tan, then a safer option would be self-tanning towels or lotions. Again, make sure you check the ingredients to ensure you are using a safe and non-toxic product.
- Exfoliate, exfoliate
I have already written about the benefits of skin brushing and exfoliation here. Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin will make it look dull, rough and dry. When you exfoliate you remove the dead cells, and allow for better blood circulation, which will make your skin more radiant. Exfoliating is also great to prevent skin aging. Choose natural and gentle exfoliation products.
- Moisturize and hydrate
Our skin may not feel as dry in the summer as it does in the winter, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to moisturize it regularly. In fact after each sun exposure you should make sure that you moisturize your skin thoroughly. One of the best ways to do so is to use aloe vera, which keeps the skin well hydrated and sooths it after sun exposure.
- Drink up!
Just as what we put on our skin matters, so does what we put in our body. Staying hydrated in the warm summer months, will allow the body to function better, and will make the skin supple and soft. Drinking enough water helps flush toxins from your body, and the less toxic your body is, the more glowing skin you’ll have.
- Ingredients for glowing skin
Talking about taking care of our skin from the inside out, here is short list of foods you can enjoy this summer that will help keep your skin glowing and radiant. You will find healthy fats, to keep the skin nourished and supple, antioxidant rich foods, to protect the skin from free-radical damage, as well as hydrating foods, to moisturize the skin from the inside out:
- Leafy greens
- Coconut milk and water
- Nuts and seeds
- Vegetable broth
Finally, stay in the shade, wear a sun hat, and enjoy the summer! 🙂