Here are some tips for summertime skincare.

Go Outside

It's good to get some fresh air.  Between going to work, running errands, taking care of children and family, and general exhaustion from doing all of the above, it's easy to forget and miss out on beautiful weather outside.  Make an effort to get outside, get some fresh air and time in the sun.

As a matter of fact, many people don't get enough sun. Vitamin D deficiency is a thing. Vitamin D is produced by the skin's response to UV radiation primarily through sun exposure, which affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body.  A healthy supply of vitamin D promotes bone growth and prevent illnesses such as breast and colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders, and depression.

However, be mindful of the sun

While you're outside getting some sun and fresh air, be mindful to get safe exposure to the sun and avoid overexposure.  Too much extended time in the sun can cause obvious things like sunburn, but over extended periods of time can have long-term affects on the body.  Overexposure to the sun contributes to the formation of wrinkles, dark spots, and reduced skin elasticity.

Sunscreen has been recommended by scientists for daily use to protect against sunburn and skin cancer, but be mindful of the types of sunscreen, and their pros and cons.

Mineral sunscreen

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the two main protective ingredients in mineral sunscreen and are often referred to as physical barriers.  They work by absorbing into the surface layers of the skin and deflecting or scattering the sun’s harmful rays.

Mineral sunscreens are not as thin as chemical sunscreens, may leave a white film on the skin, and can be applied liberally.

Mineral sunscreens are considered safer than chemical sunscreens, but they do have things to consider. Some use ingredients that contain nano particles which are used to lighten or lessen the white film on the skin after applying sunscreen.  These can be absorbed into the skin and carry risks.  Some brands use ingredients specially designed to not use nanoparticles and are safer to use.

Chemical/synthetic sunscreen

30+ active protective ingredients, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone are used in chemical sunscreens.  They are also absorbed into the skin and deflect/scatter the sun's rays, but they also convert UV rays into heat and “deactivate” them.

These sunscreens have a thinner consistency, they're sometimes water-resistant, sometimes can be applied in spray form, and don't turn milky-looking when you get wet or sweaty.

One of the main cons of chemical sunscreens is the chemicals commonly used are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body.  The most common sunscreen chemical, Oxybenzone, was found in 96% of the population by a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is especially alarming since oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor, can reduce sperm count in men and may contribute to endometriosis in women.

Another thing to consider with sunscreen is that they hinder the production of Vitamin D in the skin, which misses one of the main benefits of the sun.  For this reason consider also the following.

    Shade and Protective Clothing

    The easiest and safest way to avoid sun damage is to stay in the shade, wear a hat or long sleeves. Long sleeves in the summer might sound weird, but there are clothes that use light, breathable, or airy material that are not as heavy to wear and let your skin get some air from the occasional breeze.

    Additionally use sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB sun rays.

    Stay Hydrated, Eat the Right Foods

    Eating the right foods can do just as much for you as what you put on the outside of your body.  Foods you should eat include healthy sources of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocado), foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc.), lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit, and water.  These foods provide the proper building blocks for healthy skin and reduce inflammation of the skin.

    Conversely, avoid excess sugar, processed foods, processed oils, fried foods, and processed grains.  Not only do they contain saturated or trans fats, they can increase inflammation in the body.

    And if you sweat a lot in the summer...

    If you sweat a lot in the summer like I do, African Black Soap is great for this time of year. It's extremely well suited for removing dirt from the skin and cleaning clogged pores.  The best thing is after you've finished washing and rinsing away the suds, your skin can breathe and you get a nice refreshed cooldown fee afterwards.

    Stay hydrated and stay cool this summer!

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