During the summer months, our skin changes.
Hot or humid weather can cause skin to become more oily, frequent exposure to the sun can give us burns and may even dry out our skin and hair (as will swimming in chlorinated or salt water), and wearing flip-flops or sandals can often make our feet rough (and not very pretty).
It’s a lot for our bodies to handle.
Thankfully there are a number of natural ways to take care of summer skin. And they won’t break the bank!
Here are a few simple strategies to ensure your skin looks and feels it’s best during the summer months.
Take care of your inner health.
The first step to glowing, radiant skin is to take care of your inner health. In order have healthy outsides, we need to have a healthy insides.
To improve the chances of having naturally, healthy skin, be sure to drink enough water (you’ll likely need more when it’s hot outside), eat good food (lots of fresh vegetables, well-sourced meat, and healthy fats), exercise, and sleep enough (this one’s very important). All of these play an important role in living a healthy lifestyle and have a great impact on the condition of our skin.
Dealing with oily skin.
Summer months can cause many of us to have oilier skin. Help combat this by using a mild astringent or toner to clean the face whenever necessary. Witch hazel works very well and is readily available at most grocery stores. Just apply to a cotton ball and wipe over the skin to help remove excess oil and tighten pores.
If you’d like to make your own natural toner, try this homemade chamomile toner. It’s very easy. Or, here’s Wardee’s homemade witchhazel and tea tree oil toner.
If deep-cleaning is necessary, give yourself a sour cream facial mask once a week. Simply spread sour cream over your face, avoiding the eye area, and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water and pat dry. Sour cream facials are great for reviving dull complexions. Be sure to use full fat sour cream.
Make beauty products from summer’s bounty.
Many natural beauty products can be made with summer produce. Making your own skin care products is not only fun, it’s a great way to give your skin a nourishing treat.
Try some of the following:
- Raspberry facial — Lightly mash raspberries (so the juice begins to come out) and mix with a little honey to form a paste. Spread over the face, avoiding the eyes, and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
- Honeydew face mask — Cut thin slices of honeydew melon, lie down, and place the melon slices over your face. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
- Strawberry facial — Mash two strawberries, add a tablespoon of ground almonds (or wheatgerm), and stir to combine. Gently rub mixture into skin as you would a regular body scrub (avoid the eyes). Wash off with warm water and pat dry. Follow with a light moisturizer.
What about sunscreen?
The pros and cons of wearing sunscreen have been greatly debated, and rightly so; sun-damage is a very serious thing, but so is the damage caused by coating our bodies with chemical-laden creams for months at a time.
Whenever possible, I find it best to avoid sunscreen for the most part. Wear lose clothing that covers the body (such as long sleeves and pants/skirts), don a hat, find a shady spot, and stay out of the direct sun between 10am and 2pm.
Of course, the above suggestions are not always practical and my family does opt for limited sunscreen use when needed. Thankfully, there are a number of chemical-free, paraben-free sunscreens available these days. It may be prudent to have a natural sunscreen on hand for times when you will be in the sun for stretches in the middle of the day and won’t be able to cover up enough to avoid burning.
When purchasing a natural sunscreen, look for one made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Here are some you might consider:
- How to Make Your Own Sunscreen @ Keeper of the Home (recipe from MadeOn Hard Lotion)
- A very thorough review and guide on a number of sunscreens @ Kitchen Stewardship
- Kabana Green Screen at Amazon
- Badger sunscreen at Amazon
- Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm
If a sunburn does occur, slather on the aloe vera. It is wonderful for cooling the skin and generally soothes a sunburn quite well. If you have access to an actual aloe vera plant (as apposed to the gel in a tube), cut a leaf in half and rub the inner side directly onto the skin (gently, of course).
Apple cider vinegar baths are also thought to provide some pain relief. Fill the tub with cool water and add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Soak for at least 20 minutes.