As the weather heats up and our seasonal activities change, so does our skin! With the proper knowledge and preparation, these scientific facts can help enlighten your skin needs and give you insight into what you need to know to get that perfect summer glow!
Science of Skin:
What is skin?
Let's get back to the basics! The skin is the largest organ of the body, so its optimal health is highly critical. The skin and its derivatives (including hair, nails, sweat, and oil glands) make up our integumentary system. By design, this system naturally helps protect and maintain our bodies from external factors such as bacteria, chemicals, and temperature.
It also holds onto our bodily fluids to prevent dehydration, especially during heated climates where water loss increases. This water loss can also make skin dry, red, irritated, and more prone to negative sensations because it is full of sensitive nerve endings.
Additionally, with increased warmth and humidity, the skin produces excess natural oil, which can lead to a sticky and greasy skin surface prone to pores clogging. This mix of excess bacteria, oils, and sweat in the summer is also why acne is most common during these months.
Skin, and The Sun's Role
When the sun shines, and you can feel it, your skin produces vitamin D! Vitamin D is a great nutrient that promotes benefits to protecting our skeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune systems from varying diseases. Maintaining proper vitamin D levels throughout the year can also optimize physical performance and boost mental health.
But do exercise caution! Sun exposes your skin to harmful UV rays, causing an increase in melanin production in the skin to protect your skin from sun damage. This production of melanin uses its photoprotective qualities and leaves us with darker, tanned skin after the rays exposure.
The sun emits two main rays to earth: UV-A and UV-B. These rays are classified by their wavelengths, UV-A being longer yet with a slightly lower energy amount than UV-B rays. 95% of UV rays humans are in contact with are UV-A, followed by UV-B. The longer UV-A rays can enter the second layer of skin called the dermis, which can cause damage to cells' DNA and functions, which is why it is critical to protect skin and avoid potential skin cancers.
SPF, SPF, SPF everywhere!
Dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Don't forget to layer the cream onto hands, feet, ears, and lips too! Wherever skin is exposed, those UV rays will reach. If spending time in the water, remember to reapply often, even if you are already wet! While outdoors for long periods, pack extra sunscreen and reapply it every few hours, using at least half a teaspoon for your face and neck and a full teaspoon per limb.
Like your summer wardrobe, try wearing a lighter (but just as strong and effective) sunscreen to avoid blocking pores that could lead to bacterial infections or acne.
Dermatologist Daily Tips:
Dermatologists are skin geniuses! With all their research, it is essential to trust the facts. Some of their favorite skin tips include:
1. Take quick showers twice daily to remove excess dirt, oils, sweat, and bacteria from growing on your body. It is recommended once in the morning and once right before bedtime.
2. Wear breathable fabrics and avoid tight materials close to the skin. Friction from cloth to skin, especially if soaked in sweat, can cause skin irritations and discomfort due to poor airflow.
3. Stay hydrated! Drinking at least 2.5 liters of water daily is recommended. Our bodies are about 60% water, with each cell relying on water to function correctly. When cells are depleted from dehydration, water loss can lead to unwanted stress on the system.
4. Glowing skin: one tablespoon coffee + one tablespoon lemon juice. No lumps. Apply to face for 15 mins and rinse off.
5. Aloe Vera: has a soothing effect and hydrates - massage it in for 20 minutes. Leave on for 10 before rinsing away.
6. Turmeric has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. Brightens skin, and adds a natural glow. Take a teaspoon of turmeric and three tablespoons of lemon juice, and let sit on the face for 20 mins, then wash it off.
Foods & Supplements for Skin
Working from the inside out can be just as critical as healing and fueling healthy skin externally! Many top skin specialists recommend carefully reviewing what you are filling your stomach (and cells) with regarding nutrition.
Fueling the body with a mixture of fruits and vegetables high in water content (to keep your skin hydrated) and lively nutrients can help promote optimal skin generation from the inside. Some foods known for their high water content are watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, bell peppers, celery, broccoli, oranges, cucumber, and honeydew melon.
These foods are also high in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc which are all critical in healing skin, combating inflammation, and oxidative damage, which can lead to signs of aging.
Using a gentle retinol serum on the skin can also help build collagen production, a protein which connects tissues and can improve discoloration, treat wrinkles and promote skin elasticity.
Have a great glowing skin season, everyone!