It’s summer and you know what that means. I hope you have plans to dig in and enjoy some adventures in the out-of-doors during this inviting season!
Exposure to sun and wind, though, can be rough on the skin—and that’s no joke. The skin is your body’s largest organ, acting as a physical barrier between your delicate internal systems and an endless onslaught of outside threats. Your skin stands between you and infection. It prevents rapid, extreme dehydration. Your skin helps regulate your body temperature. It even communicates your condition to others, an outward reflection of your emotions and overall state of wellness.
Know someone whose skin seems to simply glow with vibrant health? Chances are, it’s not good make-up but good self-care behind that polished appearance.
Now, in the season of sleeveless tops, bare ankles, and even swimsuits, there’s no hiding your skin. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot to treat your outermost organ with the respect it deserves.
Fabulous skin tip #1: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
It’s simple, but so effective: Moisturize.
We certainly have many products to choose from, but in my opinion those made from virgin organic coconut oil are among the best. Not only does unrefined coconut oil smell like a tropical paradise (ahh!), it also has a long-lasting moisturizing effect that can quickly soothe common summer irritations such as insect bites, reactions to pool chemicals, windburn, or razor burn.
Got eczema or other itchy skin conditions? Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that can help protect you during a flare. Better yet, add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the coconut oil. With that additional healing ingredient, you just might see a fast return of softer, smoother, healthy skin.
And don’t forget to hydrate from the inside, too. Your skin reflects what your internal systems experience. If your skin seems dry despite a good slathering, adjust your plate to include more juicy seasonal produce (tasty, colorful berries fit that bill!) and plenty of cool water. Bottoms up!
Fabulous skin tip #2: Enjoy the sun, sensibly.
Vitamin D plays a role in immunity, mood, bone health, cell growth—the health of many body systems. Our bodies need sunlight to make this critical vitamin, so by all means, do soak up some rays this summer!
Just remember moderation. Your goal is to stimulate vitamin D production, not wind up with sunburn, wrinkles, patchy coloring, or the deeper damage that can lead to advanced aging or even skin cancer. A solid general rule of thumb is to take no more than 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.
After that, bring on the sunscreen. Sadly, two different recent studies have found that many suncare products do not live up to the SPF claims on their labels. Frustrating! My best advice, no matter which brand you choose, is to follow two simple rules:
- Don’t skimp. The average adult will need to slather on a full ounce—think of a shotglass—to get adequate initial sunscreen coverage.
- Reapply frequently. Regardless how high the SPF, watch the time. Reapply at least every two hours as long as you’re exposed.
Fabulous skin tip #3: Seek out a sauna.
You may think, “What’s the point of sitting in an overheated room?” Sauna use soothes tired or stressed muscles after a workout. In addition, it’s been proven that being in the sauna increases the heart rate and stimulates the body to continue sweating—reactions that mimic and extend the benefits of that exercise for skin, muscle, and heart alike.
Some people, though, aren’t fond of the heat used in saunas, especially during the summertime. Instead, ask around to find your local infrared sauna. These systems use infrared light instead of heat to produce the very same benefits as the hot sauna. And some studies indicate there’s an added bonus to the infrared method: A 30-minute session can burn as many as 600 calories. Now that’s an extended workout!
Fabulous skin tip #4: Brush up on self-care.
Dry brushing is somewhat of a wellness secret—one I am so happy to share with you!
Dry brushing is just what it sounds like: brushing your skin all over while you’re dry. The method: Using a soft, natural-bristle brush, make long, gentle strokes that begin at the toes and fingertips and extend inward, toward the center of the body. A brush with a long handle is helpful for reaching your neck and back, again beginning from the top and bottom and brushing toward the middle.
Besides feeling as refreshing as a massage, this 5-minute investment just before you shower is beneficial for several proven reasons:
- It stimulates circulation of both blood and lymph, a body fluid that plays a critical role in the immune system, nutrient delivery, and waste removal.
- It encourages the body’s natural detoxification process, much of which is performed by the skin.
- It helps exfoliate old, dead skin cells. That opens the way to regeneration of fresh, bright, supple new skin. Yes, that means dry brushing makes you look better, too!
Fabulous skin tip #5: Get enough rest.
Do you have eye bags, fine lines, dry lips, irritated skin, and a grayish skin undertone, or is your skin just generally looking old and dull? Few things make skin look tired as fast as…well, being tired. And, sorry to say, the visible signs of poor rest become obvious even more quickly for those of us no longer in our 30s.
Please, you owe yourself a solid night’s rest. The physical and emotional benefits of adequate sleep are well documented, and yes, those ZZZs will make you look more vibrant, too!
Summertime is prime time to be out and about, taking in the wonders of warm weather, open air, and the great outdoors. With attention to a few details, you can practice good skin habits and still share in everything the adventure season has to offer. Step out, embrace the possibilities—and enjoy!