Whether your complexion is oily, dry or combination, summer provides unique skin care challenges for everyone. Scorching sun rays, heat, humidity, chlorine and salt water can take a toll -- leaving your skin looking dull, dry and damaged. While the season’s at its peak, brush up on these natural skin care tips to stay protected and looking your best.
The first and most important step to successful summer skin care is to make sure you’re protected from harmful UV rays with a consistent sunscreen regimen. You should wear sunscreen daily on all exposed areas of your skin—even when time spent outdoors is limited to just getting in and out of the car. Be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating.
It’s important to research and understand the active ingredients in sunscreen and always opt for natural, organic and mineral-based sunscreen options. Chemical ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate in popular sunscreen products have been shown to have potentially harmful effects on the endocrine system and also to lower testosterone levels in young boys. They've also been shown to damage coral reefs.
Be aware that increased sunscreen use can lead to clogged pores. During the summer months, opt to skip heavier makeup or foundation. Instead, use lightweight mineral makeup layered over your sunscreen. Don’t forget your eyes and lips, as well. Wearing sunglasses will protect the sensitive eye area from harmful rays, and lip balm with SPF will protect lips from sun damage.
Caring for both dry and oily skin
While dry skin is often associated with winter, it happens in the summer, too. Here are a few reasons why:
- High temperatures dehydrate skin and cause you to sweat, triggering moisture loss from the body
- Air conditioning may provide relief from the heat, but it also depletes natural oils from your skin
- Chlorine in pools and salt water both dry out skin
Luckily, there are several approaches to preventing dry skin during the summer months. First, be sure to drink plenty of water and stay properly hydrated, especially if you'll be sweating a lot. Aim to eat water-dense foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce or celery, as well. Second, use essential oils to improve the moisture level of your skin. Pomegranate seed oil, which contains fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties, is one good option. Either mix it with a carrier oil and apply directly to your skin, or look for pomegranate seed oil skincare products.
People with oily skin have it especially rough this time of year. Sweat, heat and humidity add to oiliness and shine. And clogged pores from sweating, makeup and sunscreen increase oil production, leading to acne.
While it might seem counteractive to use an oil to help oily skin, sandalwood oil is a great natural solution. Native to India, this essential oil has long been used in Indian beauty practices to reduce oily skin and breakouts. To try it, combine sandalwood powder with a few other natural ingredients to make a face mask that will soak up excess oil and help fight acne.
What you'll need:
- 1 Tbsp. sandalwood powder
- Rose water (enough to make a paste with medium-thick consistency)
- Optional: 1/2 Tbsp. turmeric powder
What to do:
Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. Gently wash off with cool water and a cloth.
Natural skin care tips for coping with heat and sun
Sometimes skin just needs relief! Here are three tried-and-true solutions to alleviate the harsh effects of summer.
1. Rose Water
Rose water is great for calming irritated skin. Studies show that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can relieve the effects of skin damage on a cellular level. Keep a small bottle of rose water handy and gently mist your face for a midday, on-the-go refresh. Extra bonus -- if you’re having a stressful day, rose water also offers calming benefits. It will calm your nerves along with your skin.
Do you find yourself squinting a lot in the bright sun? Cucumbers, with their high water content, can help hydrate and soothe delicate under-eye skin while also warding off wrinkles and crow’s feet. You can easily chop up some cukes from the fridge and place them over your eyes, or look for an eye cream that incorporates the active ingredients.
Even with strict sunscreen application, sunburn can happen. When sun damage unfortunately does occur—turn to trusty aloe for quick relief. The compounds of an aloe plant are proven to be effective in the treatment of burns and were approved for medical use by the FDA as early as 1959.
If you have an aloe plant, just snip a leaf, squeeze out the gel and apply directly to the sun-burned area. Or purchase aloe in the form of lotions or gels. Pro tip: keep aloe in the fridge for extra cooling effects. (Try this aloe vera spray gel for quick relief!)