Summer is the time to be outside, maximize your Vitamin D absorption and enjoy the sunshine. Increased playtime, sunscreen and higher temperatures all can lead to increased toxins in your system, as well as possible sun damage and dehydration. To keep your skin’s youthful glow and lessen the appearance of wrinkles, it’s important to keep your body hydrated from the inside out.
Rise in temperatures, the in and out from air-conditioned buildings and extra exertion with outdoor activities increase our bodies’ need for good hydration. When there’s an increase in output (sweat and urine), we need to be mindful of replacing our fluids more often to increase our input.
Water is the obvious place to start. Being that our bodies are ⅔ water, when we lose too much body fluids, we are at a risk for dehydration. Ideally, we need to consume half of our body weight in ounces of water. That would mean the average 160 lb person should be intaking about 80 ounces of water a day – and that’s just the base level! For every caffeinated, sugary or alcoholic beverage consumed, you’ll need to add a similar amount of water to match the water lost.
Exposure to the sun can cause damage to your skin which can result in fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration and textural changes and, in severe cases, may lead to skin cancer. The cosmetic effects of sun damage can make your skin look prematurely aged and visibly damaged. If you do have moles or sunspots you are concerned about get them assessed and checked before summer starts so you have a baseline to refer to.
Sunscreen is an important tool in your arsenal against the harmful effects of the sun, however it is really important to know the quality of what you are putting on your skin and what chemicals are in the products. Unfortunately, as well as blocking the sun’s harmful rays, sunscreen also blocks your body from absorbing Vitamin D. Many sunscreens are full of chemicals; anything that has an SPF of 50 and up is not worth investing in. Relying on sunscreen to allow yourself to sit out longer in the sun is not a good strategy. The best source of information is The Environmental Working Group, they even have an app! Every year they release a Sunscreen Guide so you can identify the chemicals in the products you are using and the risks involved. This way you are not adding potentially cancer causing chemicals to your system in your efforts to prevent sun damage.
Keeping all this in mind, here are four tips for maintaining healthy skin this summer:
Protect yourself from the sun
- Cover up with big hats, sunglasses and remember long sleeves are your friends.
- Choose sunscreen that stands up to the EWG standards.
- If you do get too much sun, have a tray of Julie cubes (our Dr. Julie Moore’s secret weapon). Fill half of the tray with melted coconut oil and let freeze, then top off the tray with a layer of Aloe Vera juice and store in the freezer.
Support Lymphatic Flow
Our skin is the largest organ of detoxification; putting toxins all over it can affect that process. Sweating is the way our body releases heat, maintains body temperature and eliminates toxins. Talk to your Naturopath about adding these tools to your daily detox regime.
- Dry Skin brushing is a great way to increase circulation, improve lymphatic flow and remove dry skin.
- Chlorophyll is a great detox supporter and a natural body deodorizer that can be used daily in your water.
The products you use on your skin add to your daily toxic load. The process of cleansing your skin can, in some cases, increase the need to cleanse.
- Use simple products free of artificial scents and parabens and avoid using products that are drying to your skin.
- Reassess your routine for the activity and season.
- Try making some of your own skin care products. A great thing to have on hand is a facial spritz – make your own with 1 cup distilled water, 2 tbsp each organic witch hazel, rosewater.
Boost your fluid intake with the increased heat/sweating or activity. If you have a difficult time drinking enough plain water, check out these other options which are free of sugar and chemicals.
- Make your own chilled herbal tea – some choices are chamomile, calendula (marigold) and red clover. Plant some now to have a supply all summer long. Infuse fresh herbs in just boiled water for 5-10 minutes, take out plant matter and chill.
- Add Lemons or Cucumber to make your own spa waters
- Take a good quality fish oil to support your skin’s regulation of oil production and support hydration.
To further personalize your healthy skin toolkit, check in with your Naturopath on other ways to protect your skin this summer. Enjoy the sunshine!
Environmental Working Group Sun Safety Campaign
The Complete Woman’s Herbal by Anne McIntyre