How to prepare your skin for summer
My goal this summer is to have beautiful dark skin. But that’s pretty unrealistic because, apparently, I have zero melanin in my skin. I end up looking like a lobster instead (dreams are fine, right?). I know. I know. If my skin is turning multiple shades of red, then I’m certainly not practicing what I preach. Burns are bad.
I decided to figure out how to prep my skin for summer and hopefully boost the melanin content (if that’s possible).
Here’s the findings…
As the sun makes a hotter appearance each day, it’s a good idea to ‘train’ your skin by spending about 10 minutes without sunscreen outside. Then build up each week with longer times without screen, up to 30 minutes. (Always make sure you’re protecting your skin before any signs of pinkness shows up). Getting sun exposure on bare skin is incredibly nourishing and, science is finding, can improve our health in many ways, as long we prevent burns.
Tip: Get your skin moist before heading outdoors. Some sources say coconut oil is a good moisturizer and may even support tanning (hint: it also makes a great hair protector before dipping in the ocean).
And...be aware when you are pregnant, your skin burns easier and faster due to the hormones flowing through your system.
Strangely, what we eat can protect skin from the aging UV rays of the sun.
Nutrients such as Vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene are phytochemicals found in certain foods that enhance your skin’s defenses against damaging UV rays. And, get this, some foods (such as summer squashes, carrots, and cabbages) can help enhance a summer bronze with their skin-tinting carotenoids. Guess who’s gonna be eating a lot of those?
Foods that grow during the hot season are also the ones that support our skin the best.
Here’s a few more of the foods that can support your skin during the hot UV-rich summer months:
- Goods fats from flax seed oil, blackcurrant seed oil, fish oil, and nuts.
- Water-rich foods, such as cucumbers, celery, melons and peaches help keep your body cool and hydrated.
- Enhance your UV defenses from within with foods like tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, apricots, yellow and red peppers, cantaloupe, and greens which all contain lycopene and beta-carotene (phytochemicals that help protect the skin from damage).
- Keep yourself hydrated with purified water with a squeeze of lemon or herbal teas, such as mint.
To keep your skin especially healthy this summer, try avoiding (or reducing) refined sugar, alcohol, and deep fried foods which all create inflammatory AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products), leaving skin more susceptible to UV damage.
Get yourself out to a farmers market!That’s where the real beauty foods party is happening.
So, we’re not done chatting until we talk about sunscreen. Be careful of what you use. Lots of sunscreens are pretty yucky with things like benzophenone, 2-ethylhexyl salicylate, homsalate, octyl methoxycinnamate (plus other tongue twisters) which behave as phyto-estrogens that cause hormonal craziness (translating to exacerbated skin issues).
Instead...I recommend looking for a non-nano coated zinc-oxide sunscreen that feels light on your skin. The one I like is from Badger Balm (their baby sunscreen is the one I use for my face). Also, consider wearing a hat.
It's especially important to implement a good facial routine during the hot, dry months.
Here's what to do:
- Cleanse every evening (especially after using sunscreen) to allow your skin to breathe at night and take in the nourishment from the next few products.
- Use a soothing toner right after cleansing, which will help calm skin after a day outside.
- Moisturize with a nutrient-dense facial cream to help heal and refresh skin while you snooze.
- Twice a week, or as needed, use an exfoliator (after cleansing and before toning) to help remove any sunscreen buildup, being gentle so you don’t strip away the skin’s natural barrier.
Tip: Dabbing your face with green tea can relieve redness.
So, maybe there’s hope for a girl who sports a beautiful shade of lobster red most summers. Either way this’ll be energizing self-care throughout the busy season ahead!
Hanna is a mother of busy children and Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Hanna's love of natural skincare began with her own journey of struggle and angst with skin issues. Finally, after finding no solutions she rolled up her sleeves and spent half a decade researching ingredients and formulas until....finally...something actually worked. Most of her time is spend trying to keep up with the kids, folding never-ending laundry, and making sure nobody starves (they seem to do that 30 minutes after meal time). But when she's got a spare minute she loves helping other women achieve radiance, naturally!
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