5 Steps to Your Natural Summer Skin Care Routine
5 Steps to Your Natural Summer Skin Care Routine
Every season poses its skin-care challenges, but none so intensely as summer. That’s because so much of our skin is exposed to the elements. Health care professionals warn that days full of sunshine can lead to serious health consequences. And climate change has introduced a variety of new threats, such as biting and stinging insects, heat stroke, and more.
One of the first options for summer skin care is to cover it all up. But for many people, that’s just not feasible; how enjoyable is swimming in long pants and sleeves? This summer, start your DIY skin care routine with these 5 steps:
- Apply an all-natural broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and preferably 30, that is best suited to your skin type and activity needs.
- Protect yourself from insect bites and stings by applying an all-natural repellant.
- Stay hydrated. Keep that water container handy.
- Inspect and cleanse your skin after a day in the outdoors.
- Moisturize after cleansing, to rehydrate your skin.
Keeping your skin safe, healthy, and glowing is easier than you may think. Let’s take a look at each step in a bit more detail.
1. Apply a Natural Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Health care professionals now consider sunscreen as a year-round daily essential. And during summer months, even more of our skin is exposed to damaging UV rays. What looks like a beautiful tan today, could lead to deadly melanoma in your future.
Choose a mineral-based sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Avoid oxybenzone. Be sure your sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays, also known as broad spectrum protection, and is at least SPF 15, though many physicians now encourage use of at least SPF 30. What’s the difference, you ask?
It’s complicated, but here’s the nutshell explanation: An SPF 15 allows 7 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin; SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin, while an SPF 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through. These numbers may not seem consequential, until you learn that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin than the SPF 50.
When applying your sunscreen, don’t be skimpy! Apply at least one ounce (two tablespoons, or one shot glass full) over your exposed skin, 30 minutes before going outside. Then, apply a teaspoon (or two) on your face, not overlooking your ears and neck. Reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget your SPF lip balm.
2. Protect Yourself from Insects
Insects like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and biting flies can put a quick end to a fun day outdoors. Look for all-natural repellents containing these plant-based ingredients: castor oil, rosemary, citronella, geranium, cedarwood, peppermint, and lemongrass oils.
Use an insect repellent that suits your needs and those of your family. For example, extra caution should always be used when considering the exposure of infants and children to any chemicals. We carry a great variety child-safe DEET-free options. Also, read the entire product label; some repellants should only be applied to clothing or gear.
Whenever possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes (rather than sandals) when heading into known infected areas. If camping outdoors, sleep under a mosquito net or in a tent with secure zip closures. Also, be prepared to keep mosquitoes out of your hotel room or lodging.
Finally, don’t overlook insect protection for your pets. All furry family members should be up-to-date on their flea and tick medications, for their health – and yours! Many a nasty insect has hitched a free ride into a home via the beloved Rover.
3. Stay Hydrated – Drink Water
To keep skin healthy, glowing and protected, stay hydrated. Drinking enough fluids is also the most important and easiest way to help prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion.
You won’t actually feel thirsty until you are well on your way to being dehydrated. Dehydration is often first detected by skin condition. Dehydrated skin may have itchy patches; dull, flaky and dark undereye circles; sensitive areas; and fine lines and wrinkles. Fortunately, dehydrated skin is temporary, and often can be remedied through simple hydration.
There is generally no need for expensive sports or energy drinks; water is sufficient to keep you hydrated. How much water do you need to drink? If you’re active outdoors on a typical 80-90 degree day, drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15–20 minutes, or ¾–1 quart (24–32 ounces) per hour. Drinking at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently. Don’t drink more than 48 ounces (1½ quarts) per hour! Drinking too much water or other fluids can cause a medical emergency.
Rather than purchasing earth-damaging plastic bottles of water, we suggest investing in several BPA-free active bottles, filling them with your home tap or filtered water. Cooled homemade herbal teas are also a wonderful way to stay hydrated.
4. Inspect and Cleanse Your Skin
It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. If caught early, skin cancer is treatable. Become aware of your skin, its freckles, moles, warts, and all. Routine inspection will let you notice any changes in their size, shape, or color. Promptly report any changes to your healthcare provider.
Inspection will also let you notice any pesky ticks, fleas, or other insects that may have latched on to you. When removing an imbedded insect, always use a sterilized implement, such as a tweezer or specialized tick removing tool. Thoroughly clean the bite site afterward and contact your healthcare provider if any signs of localized infection or suspicious symptoms occur.
Follow your skin inspection with a good cleansing in a lukewarm (not hot!) shower or bath to wash away the sweat, dirt, sand, sunscreen, and everything else your day has sent your way. What’s the best body soap for summer? Whatever suits your skin type and its needs. If your skin tends to be oily, try castile or a citrusy, more astringent soap. Dry skin should be pampered with oatmeal, aloe, shea butter or coconut oil soaps. Bar soap or liquid? Ultimately, that’s a personal choice. Bar soaps, in general, offer more eco-friendly packaging. But if you prefer a liquid soap, we encourage you to buy in bulk, and then refill your smaller plastic bottles.
5. Moisturize Your Skin
After a day outdoors, your summer skin may feel like a dry sponge, and it may act like one, too! Lavish on the moisturizer while your skin is still damp from your bath or shower. Choose a moisturizer best suited for your skin type. Keep in mind your face may require a different moisturizer than your body.
Look for all-natural lotions and creams with some of these ultra-moisturizing botanicals: sweet almond oil, olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera, manuka honey, and calendula. Botanical oils will give your skin a healthy sheen, offer penetrating hydration, while also locking in moisture. (Oils will also intensify the sun’s rays, so restrict their use to after-sun exposure.) Avoid any skin care products with alcohol, which can dry out skin.
Explore Co-op Market’s Natural Skin Care Products This Summer
Co-op Market can help you take care of your skin with all-natural skin care products created by natural skin care brands you can trust. We make it easy to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and stay hydrated, healthy, and glowing all summer long.