We ask the experts for their top tips to help you care for your skin and hair this summer…
It’s finally here, our favourite season of the year – summer. With its glorious sunshine, bright blue skies and longer days, it’s when we tend to spend the most time outdoors, whether relaxing, eating or keeping active. Whilst it is a fabulous time of the year, you need to consider the health of your skin and hair. The sun’s powerful rays can do some serious damage; along with sea water and chlorine, it can leave both feeling frazzled, dry and in desperate need of some TLC.
“Both hair and skin can be ravaged by the heat and humidity common in the summer months. In humid conditions, skin pores may open and enlarge allowing them to collect more dust, dirt and allergens. Hot and humid conditions may also increase production of sweat which may result in excess production of oil and clogged pores.
“Summer months find skin assaulted by harsh sun, drying winds and, sometimes, the effects of alcohol consumption. There are also effects from air-conditioning, chlorinated pools and jet travel,” explains nutritional therapist Rose Holmes, education and training manager at Rio Health. “Ensuring skin is nourished, hydrated and well protected is essential to its ability to perform its many functions – and to ensure we look and feel our best.”
We’ve asked some experts for their top tips on how to naturally care for skin and hair during the hot summer months. Here’s what they revealed:
Keep skin moisturised
“Summer heat usually means fewer clothes and greater skin exposure. So, the first point here is that more skin surface may need consideration if light is to be favourably reflected off, and skin protected of, arms and legs previously covered through winter months. For all-over use, body butters are great—choose one with shea butter, rosehip seed oil and nourishing babassu, which gently moisturises both dry and oily skin,” advises Holmes.
“Skin has many functions besides vitamin D synthesis and protection from dehydration and UV radiation. It is important for heat regulation via production of sweat, which is one means by which skin also serves as an organ of detoxification. We also eliminate waste through the skin via skin oils. Ensuring adequately hydrated skin is essential for summer skin health.”
She also recommends using an oil: “Use an antioxidant-rich oil to help counter the drying, damaging effects of air-conditioning and to moisturise the skin. Look for ones containing nourishing, natural ingredients such as rosehip seed, sacha inchi and cranberry seed oil and apply three times daily or as needed.”
Don’t forget to protect it
“Look after the skin with effective UVA and UVB protection – remember products without this mentioned usually do not protect sufficiently against UVA – the ‘ageing rays’ – and look for 100 percent mineral sunscreens without synthetic supplements and mineral oils as these all contribute to degradation of the skin,” advises Graeme Hume from Pravera.
“It is important to ensure adequate protection from the potentially damaging effects of summer sun,” agrees Holmes. “This means, depending on skin type, inclusion of some form of sun protection. For many of us this means a product with sunscreen. Look for a product that uses natural UV screening—for example Porphyra umbilicalis.”
“Wear sunscreen every day, even it is not sunny out as UVA and UVB rays can be damaging,” comments Leah Eynon from Dr Organic. “Also don’t forget about your hair, it can become dry in warmer weather so choose a good conditioner to prevent this form happening.”
“Damage from sunlight accumulates over several years and usually, the first wrinkles that appear on the skin are not a sign of ageing but a sign of UV damage. To prevent this, it is important to protect your skin from sunlight during the warmer months by regularly applying an SPF sun lotion,” explains Hannah Mepham from Green People.
Opt for aloe vera
“After sun exposure, the skin can feel dehydration and should be nourished with an aloe vera-based after sun,” advises Mepham. “Aloe vera is exceptionally hydrating and when applied to the skin an aloe vera-based after sun will help to soothe any soreness whilst replenishing lost moisture to the skin.”
Meghna Patel, Director of Mahi Naturals, also recommends aloe vera: “Aloe vera gel is a holiday skin must have as the it is a wonderful multipurpose skin saviour. Use it to soothe sunburn and cool the skin plus for any itchy rashes and bites.”
Focus on your face
“Moisturising the face is important to counter the drying effects of sun, sea and air-conditioning,” explains Holmes. “Serums and creams with moisturising and hydrating effects may help skin to function and look its best. Use a day cream with natural UV screening to protect the skin. Remember to moisturise also after sun exposure to counter drying effects.
“Whilst intensive moisturising may be needed, look for a product that is light and easily absorbed. Ingredients which nourish, hydrate and protect the skin are important for summer skincare. Look for a daytime moisturiser with natural sun protection such as one containing red alga, which offers natural screening from UV light and protects from premature ageing of the skin. For repair and rejuvenation at night use an intensive treatment with soothing ingredients such as chamomile and calendula.”
Stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet
“Keep the body and skin well hydrated by drinking plenty of water,” advises Holmes. “It is essential to remember that in hot summer sun our whole bodies may become dehydrated and this has huge impact on the skin.
“A healthy, balanced diet with good sources of protein and plenty of vegetables in all colours. Protein is needed for skin repair and renewal and a ‘rainbow’ of vegetables can provide the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for healthy skin.”
Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re travelling on a plane this summer. Patel explains: “Staying hydrated is essential all year round but very important to remember when travelling, especially on a long haul flight. Dry cabin air can suck all the moisture out of your skin leaving it feeling dry and tired. Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol and caffeine which can cause dehydration. Keeping a light moisturiser to hand it useful to replenish your hands and face a few times during the flight.”