Summer is officially here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Each season requires a slightly different routine to maintain healthy skin.
Summer Skin Issues
This season comes with a whole range of common skin issues such as sun burns, acne breakouts, dry patches, peeling, eczema, heat rash, discoloration and more. As much as we love the sun, the sun surely does not like our skin in return. Sun damage is the #1 cause of premature aging and wrinkling, not to mention skin cancer. I know, nothing feels better than a little tan and a boost of vitamin D, but if you do get burned, it’s nice to have some remedies on hand. Just like the rest of our body, our skin requires care to properly function. Our skin experiences heat, sweating, salt, sand, UV rays and more all summer - so our skin care routine should be built around these.
Summer Skin Care 101
Let’s first briefly look at how the skin works so we can better understand it’s needs:
Our skin is the largest organ of the body, it absorbs nutrients, acts as a protective barrier against parasites/bacteria, creates vitamin D, and so much more. In it’s peak condition skin should be smooth, slightly moisturized, soft and at a pH of around 5.5.
When skin is in its ideal condition, there are less overall issues like dry patches (dead skin build up), acne (overgrowth of bacteria from clogged pores), discoloration (buildup of dead skin cells), ingrown hairs (clogged pores and dead skin build up). As you can see, maintenance is prevention - so having a good routine is crucial.
Ideal Summer Skin Care Routine
The ideal skin routine for summer is:
Use a gentle cleanser if you have sensitive skin, and avoid harsh stripping soaps if you have breakouts.
Toning removes excess dirt and balances your skin back to it’s proper pH (bringing it back to it’s slightly acidic state after a strong alkaline cleansing).
Chemical or manual exfoliants (should be smooth with small grains, nothing harsh that can leave micro-tears in the skin!).
Always layer your products lightest to heaviest, or serum to oil to cream/balm/sunscreen.
Herbs for Summer Skin Care
Following this basic essential routine will help keep your skin in the best possible shape for healing and glowing. Now that we have a basic understanding of what our skin needs and how to structure a routine of products - let’s dig into the herbs!
For this post, I’m going to focus on regenerative and soothing herbs; all of which can be used to create products for summer to mitigate environmental damage, heal sun burns and decrease topical stinging and pain. All of these listed herbs are sustainable and quick growing, so they minimally impact the environment.
Soothe Skin with Calming Calendula
Calendula is gently calming and soothing. It’s a supportive flower that works to heal the skin and promote skin cell production. Calendula is so gentle that it’s often added to baby friendly formulations - so it’s safe for mostly everyone (but still do a patch test in case!). Calendula also contains flavanoids, which heal UV / sun damage.
Ways to Use Calendula for Skin Care
- Infuse the dried flowers into an oil to use on skin or in a D.I.Y. balm recipe.
- Make a strong infusion (tea) and apply directly to the skin, add to a spray bottle with witch hazel or use with a compress.
- Freeze a compress soaked in calendula for injuries, sunburn, bug bites or swelling.
Moisturize Skin Naturally with Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is moisturizing, soothing, and calming. Aloe Vera can be used directly on the skin, or mixed into a formula for the added soothing benefits - it also helps absorb the formulation into the skin. Aloe is taken internally and externally for it’s regenerative qualities - it’s one of my staples throughout the summer!
How to Use Aloe Vera for Skin Care
- Cut the thick middle from the leaf and blend with water, store in the fridge for drinking or topical use.
- Make a face mask from the gel by adding nourishing licorice root, cacao powder, brown rice flour or herbs to it.
- Freeze into a paper towel to apply directly to burns, add peppermint and lavender too!
Reduce Skin Inflammation with Turmeric
Turmeric is one life saving little root! It’s immense anti-inflammatory benefits help reduce swelling and pain. You can take Turmeric internally or use it topically. It’s used to brighten skin, heal scarring, and reduces inflammation.
Warning: Working with turmeric can stain clothes and skin (for a day).
Ways to Turmeric for Skin Care
- Infuse into an oil to apply directly to skin.
- Make a face mask with powdered turmeric.
Help Heal Skin Damage with Green Tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, which work together to prevent and heal environmental damage (i.e. from sun, wind and pollution).
How to Use Green Tea for Skin Care
- Make a toning spray with witch hazel, rose water and green tea (be sure to check that it doesn’t become cloudy, it lasts up to 3 weeks, refrigerate if your home is warm!).
- Infuse green tea into oil and make a nourishing body serum to fight off sun damage.
- Blend green tea, ½ tsp of apple cider vinegar and aloe vera gel to make a sunburn spray.
Cool Your Summer Skin with Mint
Mint is a great addition to any cooling formulation - it works well for digestion, to up energy levels aromatically, and also to topically cool the skin. I love using Lavender or Peppermint the most!
Ways to Use Mint for Skin Care
- Make a concentrated infusion (tea) and add to a spray bottle. Store it in the fridge for a refreshing spritz through the summer.
- Make a poultice and apply directly to a burn or bug bite.