Dare to Bare Your Summer Skin

Even if your legs are paler than the latest True Blood victim, like it or not, it is shorts and swimsuits time. Although the summer can be great for our skin there are some conditions that can be aggravated and will make us want to cover up and hide. Here are some commonly seen summer skin issues and ways to deal with them naturally so you can bare all.

Unfortunately the aging process is inevitable, but the sun can make this worse. This is because sun exposure can cause the collagen in our skin to break down at a higher rate than chronologic aging. Wrinkles form due to the repeated process of breaking down and disorganized reforming of collagen. Luckily, the fruits and vegetables of summer are packed with nutrients that protect against this damage. Vitamin C in strawberries and peppers is important for collagen production. Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, found in plums, melons, berries, cherries, spinach, yellow or blue corn and carrots prevent oxidative damage and premature aging.

Sunburn not only hurts but if you have had five or more sunburns your risk for developing skin cancer doubles. Sunscreen and sticking to the shade when ever possible is a definite must but there are other considerations. Vitamin E both internally or topically for example can help with UV damage particularly in combination with Vitamin C. Some Vitamin E sources include nuts and seeds, wheat germ, and leafy greens. You probably already know to apply aloe on sunburns, but tea might be better. The tannic acid and theobromine help to cool the skin while the catechins and antioxidants prevent and repair UV damaged skin. Simply soak a tea bag in cold water and press over burned skin or take an "iced tea" bath.

Hot and humid weather can wreak havoc on acne prone skin. The summer temperatures increase oil production from the sebaceous glands leading to clogged pores and consequential acne and bacterial infections. Typically, I treat acne from the inside out and find that hormones are usually the cause but in the summer other factors are at play. The first step besides avoiding the heat all together is exfoliation. This helps to clear dead skin build-up and prevents clogged pores. Go gentle using a loofah so you don't aggravate your skin or to try this scrub recipe. You might also want to consider to switching your heavier oil-based winter products to lighter water-based products, which are more appropriate for summer skin.

Athlete's Foot
Hot humid summer is a fungus paradise. So if your feet are sweaty and moist, you can easily get Athlete's foot. To avoid getting this ugly, sometimes itchy, skin condition, it is important to keep your feet dry and avoid putting on damp socks and shoes. It is also contagious, so use caution with shower or pool surfaces. If you already have it, tea tree oil is a powerful natural antifugal that has been shown to be effective topically. Another option is actually found in your kitchen, garlic. Crush garlic cloves with sesame oil to make an ointment and apply topically. There have been a few studies showing sulphur compounds derived from garlic to be as effective as some prescription antifungals. Whatever natural treatment you choose, applying it as often as possible is the key.

Ivy BraninComment