The average adult carries 8 lbs and 22 square feet of skin. That huge organ acts as our waterproofing and insulation as well as our protection against temperature, sunlight, and chemicals.
If our skin does all that for us, what should we be doing for it?
Taking care of your skin means everything from preventing breakouts to staving off the signs of aging. That's especially true when summertime turns up the heat and leaves us feeling sticky, sweaty and oily.
With just ten simple skin care tips you can keep your skin looking fresh and radiant throughout those hot summer months. Follow the steps below for healthy summer skin that will last all year round.
The sun not only causes discolouration and age spots, but it also contributes to wrinkles. Anytime you're going to be exposed to the sun you should be protecting your skin with sunscreen.
But not just any sunscreen will do.
A broad spectrum or full-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, the two types of UV light that harm your skin.
UVA rays primarily contribute to wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays are what burn your skin. Being exposed to both on a regular basis can cause melanoma.
Take Other Sun Protection Measures
We can't stress enough how damaging the sun is to your skin.
These additional sun protection measures should be taken in the sunny summer months to minimize any potential damage:
- Limit the amount of time you're in the sun. That's especially true between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when UV rays are at their strongest (even on cloudy days).
- Seek shade when and where you can and always use a beach umbrella for a day by the water.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the sensitive skin on your face and neck. Consider wearing protective clothing like light, long sleeves when you'll be in the sun for extended periods.
- Use aloe vera or other botanicals to soothe your skin when it does get burned. This can help prevent peeling as well as inflammation.
Thanks to the humidity in the air, your skin already feels like it has enough moisture. That's not the case.
Moisturizing your skin after you've cleansed is an essential part of maintaining skin health and preventing breakouts. That's because cleaning your skin removes the natural oils your face produces. By applying a moisturizer after you've cleansed, you replace those oils.
If you don't immediately replace that oil, your body goes into overproduction mode. Thinking it needs more oil, it produces more than is needed to replace what was lost.
This can cause an unhealthy balance of oil and even lead to breakouts.
Cleanse but Don't scrub
Scrubbing is not a good way to clean your skin, but it's a good way to damage it.
Scrubbing your skin too harshly or using abrasive exfoliating products can cause irritation, damage, and even scarring.
You do need to cleanse your skin thoroughly in the summer. You sweat more often and spend more time outside exposed to free radicals. But to properly cleanse, you only need to use warm water, a clearing cleanser, and gentle circular motions.
Drink Plenty of Water
The summer brings with it higher temperatures and more time spent outside. A combination of these two factors can cause dehydration.
When your blood is deficient in water, it pulls the water stored in your skin cells. The result is dry skin as well as a dark, hollowed eye area. Worse yet, chronic dehydration can age your skin faster.
Use Non-Abrasive Exfoliants
If increased breakouts are your biggest fear of the summer, then exfoliating the built-up dead skin cells that clog your pores should be your focus.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA's) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA's) are non-abrasive exfoliants that can be found in over-the-counter skin care products.
AHA's like glycolic acid loosen the bond between dead skin cells and the surface of your skin so that they can shed naturally. BHA's like salicylic remove dead skin cells both from the inside of your pores as well as the surface of the skin
Prevent Bug Bites
Bug bites cause a relentless itch that leads to scratching and damage to your skin. Even if you can fight the urge to scratch, bug bites don't look very nice.
Chemical sprays are worse for you then the bug bites themselves. Instead, try using essential oils to ward off the bugs before they bite. Peppermint, lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus are all effective against those pesky critters.
Find Non-Comedogenic Products
Taking the time to cleanse and moisturize is counterproductive if you're using products that clog your pores.
Look for products that are labeled non-comedogenic. This indicates that the formula uses ingredients that don't clog pores and help promote clear skin.
Oil-free and alcohol-free products are another safe bet. But oil-free doesn't necessarily mean non-comedogenic.
Get Plenty of Rest
Besides avoiding the unsightly bags, you get when you're not well-rested, getting enough sleep also reduces inflammation that can make your skin appear red or swollen.
Eight hours of sleep is the recommended does. This gives your body time to replenish and rehydrate your skin, leaving you looking (and feeling) refreshed.
Avoid Chlorinated Pools
Spending your day in a pool when its incredibly hot and you need to stay cool is tempting. Unfortunately, too much chlorine can damage your skin when it reacts with the cleansers and lotions you use.
If you insist on taking frequent dips, wash your skin thoroughly with extra sudsy soap when you get out.
More Skin Care Tips
As the temperature rises, we inevitably show more of our skin to the world. These simple skin care tips can help you put your best foot forward when the shorts and tank tops come out for the season.
But skin care should be a year-round endeavour if you're serious about preventing breakouts, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. For more information on all the things that affect your skin, have a look through our blog.