A regular skin care regimen is indulgent (but healthy). It’s calming (but invigorating). It’s enjoyable, with huge payoffs (but…nothing).
If you’re not practicing good skin care, you are seriously missing out. Of all the things I do for my health, this is my very favorite.
In the summer, we think more about our skin, because we see more of it. But the truth is, skincare should be a year-round activity. And while there are some specific seasonal factors to consider, your baseline regimen won’t vary that much.
First of all, it’s super important to stay hydrated (obviously). But since you sweat more, you also need to mind your electrolytes. Don’t go crazy with sugar-laden sports drinks; a little coconut water should suffice.
You also need to walk the line between healthy sun exposure, and slathering your skin in chemicals. I find this to be particularly challenging, since I was raised by a bunch of Armenian ladies who fried themselves in baby oil every summer, proudly saying things like, “Look at you! You’re brown as a nut!”
Here’s what I’ve figured out about sun care.
There ARE some natural suncsreens out there. Alba 30 SPF is what my esthetician recommends. And even though 30 seems a little extreme for this olive-skinned sun worshipper, I’m pretty happy with it. Below is a comprehensive guide to the best natural sunscreens.
The deal with aloe. So, aloe gel can help with sunburns, but post-sunbathing I like to moisturize with coconut oil. It seems to do a better job soothing my skin, and it lasts longer. Also, aloe gel gets sticky when it dries. Ick.
Aloe is actually amazing – in its pure form. It really does help with burns and cuts, and as seen above, is even good to drink. I’m really not sure about the bottled aloe gel products. By all accounts, they’re good, but the added alcohol just throws me.
Vitamin D. Okay, so we know we can get vitamin D from the sun. Your body actually has to manufacture vitamin D out of the rays you soak in. Most of us know by now that we’re pathetically deficient in vitamin D as a population. But/and, you only absorb sufficient amounts of sunshine at midday (10-2), in warm climates. If you live in a temperate climate, you’re pretty much screwed.
Then there’s the ozone layer, or lack thereof. You might be getting a side of melanoma with your vitamin D, which nobody wants. But it is good for you to get some natural exposure to the sun.
My solution is to spend small chunks of time, sunscreen-free, in full sun, as often as possible. Which I admit won’t work for everyone (I’m thinking of my pale best friend, who burns just by thinking about the sun.)
I also recommend a year-round, daily vitamin D supplement. Of course, in the summer months you can lower the dosage significantly, but the rest of the year you should shoot for anywhere from 2,000-5,000 IU per day. (Your Western doctor’s recommendation will be a lot lower than a naturopath’s.)
I actually sell a really good, highly absorbable D vitamin. You can find it here.
Bug Spray Alternatives
What’s worse – DEET, or 10,000 mosquito bites every time you step outside? Tough call. But since the bugs love me so much, I need something.
Cedar oil really helps. I don’t know why, but it works. You need to reapply it often though.
Most outdoor stores, and probably Whole Foods, have natural insect repellant formulas. They stink, they’re more expensive, and you go through it a lot faster, but they work. The only downside is that the strong smell can also work as a boyfriend repellant. Just do a Google search for ‘natural bug repellant.’
Have any skin care secrets, or questions about your skin? Share them in the comments below!
Originally published at thenotmom.com.