Simple Steps to Beautiful Summer Skin


Looking at the weather forecast for this weekend makes me think that summer is finally here! If you are like me, you can't wait to spend as much time as possible outside soaking up some much-needed Vitamin D and is often the prescription I give to my New York City naturopathic patients. Unfortunately, there is downside to all this sunshine time. Continuous sun exposure can accelerate skin aging by producing free radicals that damage collagen. Collagen is the fiber in skin, which keep it supple and elastic. As it deteriorates, our skin begins to sag and form wrinkles. In addition to sunscreen, there are other ways we can be protecting our skin from solar damage as well as other summer related skin issues.

1. Vitamin C Boost. It is important for collagen production and preventing free radical damage. So enjoy plenty of berries, cherries and melons.

2. Ice Tea Compresses: Applying cool tea packed with tannic acid, theobromine, and catechins to the skin helps to prevent and repair UV damage.

3. Try Vitamin E: Both topically and internally can help prevent UV damage by increasing dermal superoxide dismutase activity by and protected epidermal glutathione peroxidase. The best sources are found in nuts, seeds and leafy greens. You can also click here for my favorite sun soother skin recipe.

4. Stay hydrate: Spending the day in the sun dries out your skin making fine lines more visible. Aim for about 64oz a day. If plain Jane water is hard to swallow, add cucumber or citrus or make Vitamin C rich iced hibiscus or rose hip tea.

5. Exfoliate: Hot temperatures increases the production of sebum which can be blocked by dead skin cells trapping in bacteria leading to break out. Removing dead skin cells by lightly exfoliating a few times a week can eliminate this problem. to learn how to make your own summer scrub.

6. Tea tree oil: Hot humid summer is a paradise for fungus. So use the natural antifungal, tea tree oil, to prevent Athlete's foot.

7. Eat 3-5 servings of colorful vegetables: They are rich beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, which helps improve fine lines and clarity of the skin. It also helps to bring down sebum production in acne prone skin.

8. Avoid Alcohol: Metabolites of alcohol serve as the photosensitizers, consequently enhancing the cellular damage. Over consumption of alcohol has also been associated with a higher incidence of skin cancer.

9. Cucumbers: Contains silica, which supports skin as well as water so it helps to hydrate the skin and caffeic acid to reduce swelling. Drink fresh cucumber juice or apply directly to the skin.

10. Probiotics: Studies show probiotics may reduce UV-induced skin damage and skin photoageing. Although I would lean more towards kimchi and sauerkraut and less towards Fro Yo.