The sunny days of summer are here! They beckon us to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors—hiking, biking, swimming, and just basking in the glow of the season. Yet prolonged exposure to the sun, water, and even air conditioning can zap moisture from the outermost layer of your skin and cause it to become dehydrated. Dehydrated skin looks dull, lacks suppleness, and may be tight, itchy, irritated, or flaky. To ensure your skin remains fresh, healthy, and hydrated, here are nine easy steps to follow to keep you glowing all season long.
- Drink Up. Put your best face forward by sipping a glass of water when you wake up to replenish the moisture lost while you slept. Drinking water is one of the best and easiest ways to keep your body and its largest organ—your skin—hydrated. Continue consuming water throughout the day, aiming for 8 to 10 glasses by bedtime. Try add-ins like lemon or cucumber slices to enhance flavor and provide a boost of vitamins too.
- Enjoy High-Water Content Foods. Nourish body and skin by choosing foods full of H2O. In addition to making you feel light on your feet, high-water content foods add fluids that your cells soak up. Think fresh fruits like watermelon and strawberries, which are roughly 92 percent water. Grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, and pineapples are also good bets with upwards of 85 percent water content by volume. Leafy green vegetables like lettuce and cucumber top the list of water-rich veggies (at 98 percent water), followed by zucchini, celery, and radishes. The added benefit is that these foods provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients. Aim for 10 servings of fruits and veggies every day—your skin will thank you!
- Lather Wisely. Keeping your skin hydrated requires protecting the natural oils in the topmost layer that help lock in moisture. Ditch harsh soaps containing irritating surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate that dry the skin in favor of mild, chemical-free cleansers for daily face washing. Cleansers made with natural ingredients and plant-based oils are gentle and help hold in moisture, whereas alcohol-based formulas can strip the skin of its natural oils.
- Exfoliate. Experts recommend gently exfoliating your complexion two to three times weekly to remove dead skin cells that dull skin. Look for products with natural ingredients and added vitamins for an extra boost.
- Moisturize. Nourish your skin morning and night with a high-quality, lightweight moisturizer designed for your skin type. Seek out products containing natural oils like shea butter and/or humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin that draw moisture to the surface layer of the skin.
- Shield. While it’s important to get vitamin D-synthesizing sun exposure every day, just 15 minutes under those warming rays will do the trick. Then reach for the sunscreen to guard against dryness and premature aging. Choose a mineral-based SPF 20 sunscreen formulated with a stable moisturizing oil such as coconut oil, shea butter, or cocoa butter. While the minerals safely block harmful rays, these oils help retain moisture. Apply 20 minutes before leaving the house and remember to reapply every two hours, especially if you swim or sweat excessively. Of course, you can protect your skin by also wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when outside. It’s a fun and fashionable way to keep damaging and dehydrating sun rays from shining too harshly on your face’s delicate skin.
- Supplement. In addition to using topical hyaluronic acid, supplements can also provide a healthy dose of this valuable skin savior. Ingesting the ingredient ensures the body receives its benefits from the inside out. Vitamins C and E, as well as essential fatty acids, zinc, and selenium are also well-known skin-friendly supplements that help protect moisture and elasticity while providing an array of health-boosting benefits.
- Mist It. A quick spritz can refresh when sweltering weather threatens to melt your face into a sweaty mess. Mists and hydrosols made from plant materials such as leaves, fruits, and flowers provide soothing relief from the heat while hydrating the skin with healthy ingredients. Carry them in your purse or gym bag for a quick way to freshen the face.
- Cut It Out. Alcohol and caffeine are known diuretics that can dehydrate the body, so it’s best to avoid them in excess. Sodium is another culprit that can pull water from the body. Trade in those sodium-packed fast foods and processed foods for fresh, healthy whole foods instead.
Sea Buckthorn: The New Skin Saver!
It is said that beauty starts within, and that is definitely true when it comes to sea buckthorn. Taken in supplement form, sea buckthorn provides more than 200 nutrients including vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids—many of which help promote healthy, hydrated skin.
In particular, the sea buckthorn berry is rich in elusive omega-7 fatty acids (palmitoleic acid). Omega-7s appear to have anti-inflammatory properties and a beneficial, moisturizing effect on the body’s mucous membranes. These unique fatty acids support smooth, hydrated skin. Sea buckthorn extract also provides a rich array of antioxidants that provide protection from free radicals and help to maintain healthy, youthful skin. While you can use sea buckthorn topically, it’s especially beneficial when taken in supplement form, providing beautiful skin protection from the inside out.