By Krista Bennett DeMaio
We all have this ideal of summer beauty—healthy, glowing, dewy skin, along with easy, makeup-free days. It all looks so effortless and natural. But, spoiler alert: It can be and just takes a little effort. Being your summer goddess self starts with the right skincare routine to keep your skin healthy and balanced. There’s no better time to tweak your routine and stop piling on the wrong products with sketchy synthetic ingredients that can get sticky, icky, and clogged—fast. Here are five ways to get healthier, glowing skin this summer, naturally.
1. Lighten Your (Product) Load
Everyone knows the importance of proper sun protection, and we’ll get to that, but let’s start with some tips that might not be top of mind. First, the dreaded multi-step skincare regimen. Perpetrated by brands to get you to buy more and more, multi-step skincare regimens in summer is like wearing layers of clothing in the sweltering heat—it’s overkill! The trick to lightening up for summer. First, since you skin is most vulnerable in the summer, get rid of your old synthetic products and seek out just a few simple products with powerful natural ingredients. This means using products without synthetic fillers that add nothing to skin except the potential for irritation and health problems. When possible, seek out products with multiple benefits to simplify your routine even more.
2. Get a Deeper (But Still Gentle) Clean
In the summer, “cleansing” just isn’t enough. Humidity, sweat, sunscreen applications (and reapplications), makeup meltdowns—skin’s surface can get pretty slick when the temperature soars. Even with daily cleansing, all that buildup can lead to clogged pores (which can make pores appear larger) and breakouts. So, two to three times a week, add a deep cleaning, clarifying or detoxifying mask to your regimen. Look for ingredients that mop up excess oil and dirt without irritation such as charcoal or clay, plus soothing, natural acne-fighters including lavender and zinc oxide, as well as nourishing oils (good oils like avocado oil!) to keep skin properly nourished and hydrated.
3. Hydrate Right
If you don’t drink enough water in the summer heat, you may feel a bit sluggish. Well, it’s the same for your skin. Sipping water throughout the day will help keep your cells inside energized and happy, so they can function at their optimal level. But you still need to hydrate skin on the outside, too. You may be thinking, “Wait, you just said skin gets oily in the summer, so why do I need to hydrate?” We hear you; it’s a valid concern. But here’s the deal: Sweat is not a moisturizer. So, skin that’s seemingly oily on the surface can still lack moisture. If your skin is dry, it might even pump out more sebum (oil) in an effort to compensate for the dryness. What skin needs are light hydrators with ingredients that penetrate quickly without feeling heavy. Naturally-sourced botanical ingredients such a prickly pear extract, coconut water, and cucumber all help skin bind water and maintain its essential moisture levels, without leaving skin feeling or looking greasy. And at night, when the AC is on, use an overnight cream to nourish and hydrate while you sleep.
4. Soothe and Protect
Under the hot summer sun, sunscreen is non-negotiable. UV radiation from the sun’s rays can damage skin, causing wrinkles, brown spots, and even skin cancer. What is negotiable, however, are the specific ingredients that shield skin from those damaging UV rays. The safest way to protect your skin from the sun is to use a sunscreen that contains a mineral filter, not a synthetic chemical one. Here’s why: Synthetic chemical sunscreen filters (for example, oxybenzone and octisalate) penetrate skin so they can absorb UV rays. So, what’s the issue with them? Recent FDA testing have showed that these synthetic ingredients do enter the bloodstream and other studies have shown that aside from possibly irritating skin and contributing to clogged pores, these ingredients are linked to even more dangerous potential health issues. Animal studies on oxybenzone have suggested the synthetic sunscreen filter can interfere with hormone function, and out of whack hormones can contribute to many things from infertility to certain cancers.
Synthetic chemical sunscreens are also bad for the environment, destroying the coral reefs in our oceans which is an essential part of our ecosystem. For that reason, some popular vacation spots are now imposing bans on synthetic filters oxybenzone and octinoxate, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, parts of Mexico, Hawaii, and Key West, Florida, Australia and others.
Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain natural, mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They don’t get absorbed, but instead sit on top of skin’s surface ready to deflect, scatter, and block UVA and UVB rays. They’re non-irritating (zinc is known as a soothing skin ingredient) and are less likely to clog pores. They are completely safe and natural and don’t pose the same health concerns as synthetic chemical filters. And in non-nano formulations, these sunscreen filters don’t damage the ecosystem. So, which one sounds more appealing to you? We thought so.
5. Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your skin against the summer sun. Antioxidants are natural substances that protect cells against free radicals, unstable molecules that stem from environmental aggressors such as the sun and pollution. They bind to cells in an effort to become stable, but in doing so, they damage healthy tissue, including your skin. The best antioxidants come from plants and fruits (you’ve heard of “superfruits”). When extracted and applied topically in a skincare product, they work to neutralize harmful free radicals before they get into skin and cause trouble. Some potent antioxidants to look for include pomegranate, acai, turmeric, maqui berry, coconut water, and sea kelp.
The Raw Truth
If you want to be a natural summer beauty, go natural. Making a few tweaks to your everyday skincare routine, and seeking out good-for-your-skin ingredients will help you get that healthy summer glow you always want (but don’t always get).
Do you have some tips on taking care of summer skin? Share them in the comments below. And have a wonderful summer!