Keep a natural glow during the warmer weather with our expert guide to healthy summer skin.
As the weather hots up, there are many things to think about when it comes to your skin and altering your usual routine. For example, you might want to switch your heavier creams for something much lighter, or you could be looking for a light coverage tinted moisturiser in place of foundation. And you might also want to consider how healthy your skin is, and pack in additional nutrients.
Here’s what you need to know for healthy and happy skin this summer.
Your skin can say a lot about your internal health, with Rose Holmes, Registered Nutritionist and Education and Training Manager at Rio Health, explaining: “A number of factors can affect the health of skin, hair and nails. These are connective tissues and support for connective tissue generally needs to be part of the support for these. In addition, gut health, detoxification processes, diet, immune health, stress levels and products used on the skin may all impact skin health.
“Skin is a major detox organ and many common skin conditions associate with this function. Skin pores need to be open and able to participate in this, as well as other skin functions. For healthy glowing skin (an outward sign of ‘beauty’), the diet needs to be as free from toxins (including sugar and alcohol) as possible. Many skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, eczema and rosacea, suggest detoxification may not be optimal.”
She continued: “Skin health is a reflection of gut health and if our internal skin (our gut lining) is allowing substances to pass through that should not (either because the lining is not in optimum condition or because it is having to cope with toxins), the body needs to process these in addition to its normal load. Waste material must exit the body to maintain health. One of these routes is via the skin.”
So, what do you need to know to make healthy changes that will reflect in the skin?
“One of the worst offending toxins in terms of skin health is sugar, which impacts not only blood sugar level (potentially associating with acne) but also, via its ability to cross-link with proteins,” Rose explained. “Sugar can prematurely age skin, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Sugar has become ubiquitously present in processed foods, even traditionally savoury foods.
“Collagen connects and supports body tissues and is responsible for the firmness and suppleness of skin. Elastin allows the skin to resume its shape after contracting or stretching; it gives skin its elasticity. Both can be negatively affected by sugar consumption. A healthy, balanced diet with good sources of protein and plenty of vegetables in all colours is also important. Protein is needed for skin repair and renewal and a ‘rainbow’ of vegetables can provide the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for healthy skin.”
And don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated.
“Number one is water. Optimal hydration is absolutely essential,” Rose commented. “Keep the body and skin well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It is essential to remember that in hot summer sun, our whole body may become dehydrated and this has huge impact on the skin. And hydration is important year-round.”
Your skincare regime
You will probably prefer less on your skin in the summer months, particularly on the make-up front, as it can feel like it slides off when your face is hot. Our general advice would be to opt for natural or organic options, as these will nourish your skin and be free of some of the most concerning chemicals that can be found in some mainstream products.
Julia Vearncombe, Co-founder of SkinGenius, explained: “There are certain ingredients to be aware of for sure, especially when you have acne and spots, as your skin can be very sensitive. The top ones to avoid in skincare products are fragrance, SLS/SLES as these are irritants and will also dry the skin. The strength and quantity of some ingredients in products can be too harsh or can create other skin problems and sensitivities. For example, benzoyl peroxide can strip the skin of essential oils needed and lanolin and coconut oil are comedogenic and will block pores.”
Rose added: “Just as our bodies are healthiest when fed with good wholesome food, our skin benefits from nourishment with natural ingredients without synthetic additives. Such products with natural plant-based ingredients and without synthetic ‘nasties’ provide ideal nourishment without synthetic ingredients that might harm the skin, contribute to toxic load or cause allergic reaction. Added ingredients such as parabens, PEGs, DEA, TEA, SLS and others may negatively impact both skin and whole-body health.”
As well as being sure you are cleaning the skin regularly, and applying SPF to your face, even if it’s cloudy, there are other steps to take to keep skin naturally healthy.
“If you’re wearing a face mask at school or work, cleanse your skin when you get home and don’t wait until bedtime,” Julia suggested. “Always remove make-up at night – no excuses allowed! “Less can be more with skincare, so try not to use too many products. Also, a simple routine is easier to commit to over time. It’s really important to give products time to work so stick with your choice and give them time to work with your skin’s natural genius.”
Rose suggested products contains rosa mosqueta oil, thanks to its balance of omega 3, 6, and 9.
“A particular favourite botanical ingredient, and the beauty secret of South America is rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds of rosehips and is naturally rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and essential fatty acids, which play an important role in skin regeneration,” she explained.
“Studies have shown this antioxidant-rich oil has the ability to heal and fade post-surgical scars and prevent the advancement of premature ageing. It also contains trans-retinoic acid, a naturally occurring compound related to vitamin A. It has restoring and rejuvenating properties and helps to keep skin hydrated and soft, helping also to promote cell regeneration.”
“You could also look to sacha inchi oil, moisturising, rich in omega 3 and antioxidant vitamin E, and the natural exfoliator, Bambusa arundinacea, known as golden bamboo, is a natural vegetable scrub that cleanses and removes impurities, helping to brighten the skin.”
And Julia suggested: “For those suffering with acne and spots, I would recommend Oregon grape, witch hazel, Roman chamomile, hazelnut and calendula. These ingredients present a powerful combination to help reduce and prevent the bacteria that cause breakouts and acne, reduce inflammation, redness and soreness. Also, they are calming and healing.”