6 Skin Care Tips for the Dog Days of Summer
Summer time can wreak havoc on delicate skin. During these few weeks of scorching hot weather, we need to protect ourselves from the sun’s dangerous rays and the long-term damage it causes. By caring for our skin in specific ways, we can help to restore the youthful glow our skin once had.
Morning Eye Opener
Start hot, steamy mornings off right with a refreshingly cool shower. Even though we may be tempted to crank up the hot water to wash away the stress of the previous day, steaming hot water can dehydrate already dry, damaged skin. When washing with hot water, the skin’s natural protective barriers of specialized proteins, and oils are stripped away and are no longer present to do what they do best, protect our skin. When this natural protective barrier is no longer present, we are susceptible to environmental damage. To prevent such damage, cleanse the skin with lukewarm or cool water. Doing so will amp up skin’s natural oil properties and promote glowing skin.
Not only do hot steamy showers negatively affect the skin, but, what we cleanse with affects the health of skin as well. Washing with a cleanser, whether in bar or gel form, can actually dry the skin depending on the ingredients. For example, have you ever used a bar of handmade, natural soap and wondered why it leaves a film on your skin and tub? The reason this occurs is because natural soaps are made with natural ingredients including oils and essential oils. They do not contain chemical agents which prevent this film from happening but rather contain natural oils which form a protective barrier leaving behind soft, silky-smooth skin. Soap that strips off oil in skin, making skin feel squeaky clean but depleting the moisture barrier, is harsher than those that leave a film. For softer, more hydrated skin, replace traditional soap with an oil-infused shower gel or natural, handmade soap. The oils found in such products help replace natural oils that water and the environment strip away from your skin.
As we age our skin needs a little help to appear as fresh and glowing as it did when we were younger. Exfoliation is the answer. It accomplishes a few things all at once: it decongests pores, lightens and brightens the skin, and allows other products, including moisturizers, to penetrate more deeply. Proper exfoliation is essential for helping skin have a fresh glow, but overdoing it or choosing the wrong method, can really damage your skin. Choose a gentle exfoliating product for sensitive areas of the skin, such as the face. Gentle exfoliating ingredients include ground corn cob meal, salicylic, hydroxy and lactic acid and rice-based enzyme powders. The rest of the skin on our body can stand a stronger exfoliant like raw sugars, which contain natural hydroxy acids, sea salts, nut husk powders and volcanic pumice to name a few. For optimum results, exfoliate 2-3 times a week for a youthful, healthy glow.
Now that we have cleansed and exfoliated the skin, it is time to help replenish the moisture barrier. The dilemma is which moisturizer to use. A walk down the personal care isle in most stores may leave you baffled; however, be choosy when you pick your moisturizer. Read labels and really know what you are looking for. When reading labels, look for natural ingredients such as plant-based oils, extracts, and essential oils. A few ingredients to avoid are parabens, urea, mineral oil, petroleum, propylene glycol, harsh detergents, SD alcohol, DPG, TEA, MEA and DEA. Most likely, if you can not pronounce the ingredient you probably do not want to use it on the largest organ of your body, your skin.
When you do finally decide which product to use, then what? To get the most out of your moisturizer, apply it just after a bath or shower when you have towel dried your skin. This will help trap water in the surface cells of the skin and retain moisture.
Safeguard Summer Skin
During the summer, it is hard to resist the warm, uplifting rays of the sun. Yet, with all the research on the harmful effects of the sun, we may wonder if it is even safe to step outside; however, there are safe ways to still enjoy summer and all the warm weather it brings. According to an article written by Karen Sinclair Drake:
“a healthy appearance of the skin throughout the summer is dependent upon sun protection. To minimize UV rays-related damage, you should seek shelter during the peak hours (from 10 am to 4 pm), wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the delicate skin of your face as well as your eyes. Always use broad-spectrum sunscreens that provide a minimum SPF 20 (or higher if the skin is very fair). Do not skimp on sunscreen, make sure you cover your entire body (including your lips). Sunscreen should be applied 3o minutes before going outdoors as this is the time it takes to bond with the skin . Reapply it every 2 hours, after swimming or sweating profusely.”
Inside the Works
Eating right and drinking enough water can improve the skin as well. A few simple steps (listed below) from Karen Sinclair Drake can make a huge difference in the appearance of our skin.
- Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. During summer our bodies are likely to lose water to transepidermal water loss and sweating; drinking more water can prevent dehydration.
- EAT your water. Indulge on fresh fruits and vegetables; the water they provide is more easily absorbed by our cells than drinking water and they are also a rich source of nutrients which keep the skin supple.
- Cut down on alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Their over consumption can lead to dehydration, especially during summer. Always drink an extra glass of water for every glass of alcohol/cup of coffee you take.
- Increase your intake of selenium, zinc, vitamin C and E rich foods. They shield your skin from UV rays-produced free radicals.
For more information on summer skin care products, visit www.MakesScentsSpaLine.com for more information.
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