Summer is finally here, and chances are your skin is going to be on display — no more hiding under bulky sweaters. Here are some tips to keep your skin looking its best for the beach, the barbeque, and beyond!
Be Wise with Water
It may seem counterintuitive, but water can rob skin of moisture. This is especially true of very hot water or long showers and baths. Even frequent dips in the pool can cause dryness. It’s best to limit daily shower and bath times to 5 or 10 minutes and use warm — not hot— water.
Choose soaps and body washes carefully, as some ingredients can make dry skin worse. Look for gentle, fragrance-free formulas, and avoid products that contain alcohol.
One tried-and-true remedy to consider is oats, which contain chemicals called avenanthramides that ease inflammation and redness. A great way to maximize oats’ itch-relieving properties is to grind or blend old-fashioned oats and then add to running water as the tub fills. A 15-minute soak should provide relief. Commercially prepared oat bath products are also available.
Moisturize and Repeat
Slathering moisturizer on dry skin may be an obvious solution, but most of us don’t moisturize enough for the products we use to be effective — once a day isn’t enough. Experts suggest up to six applications a day for true protection, which means keeping moisturizer handy or investing in duplicates to stash around the house, office, and anywhere else you might need them. Always apply moisturizer immediately after washing.
Not just any moisturizer will do, and there are two vocabulary words to learn in order to choose the right product for your needs: emollient and humectant.
As cells age, crevices form between them. Emollients help these cells hold together better, and give skin a “slippery” feeling. Jojoba oil is an example of an emollient that is commonly found in moisturizers. Humectants pull moisture from the air onto the surface of your skin, increasing hydration. Hyaluronic acid is one of nature’s best humectants, so look for it in the ingredients list. If your skin is very dry or damaged, look for thicker ingredients such as cocoa or shea butter and beeswax.
Nourish From the Inside Out
Dehydration can be an issue in the summer, so it’s important to be mindful of fluid intake. Aim to drink eight cups of water each day to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. It also helps the body clear toxins.
Essential fatty acids — commonly found in fish, nuts, and seeds — can help ensure skin stays soft and smooth by protecting it from environmental damage. Research suggests that regular supplementation with flaxseed or borage oil can boost skin moisture and soothe rough, scaly patches.