A new season is in full swing and this means a whole new range of problems for the skin.
What impacts our skin?
There are plenty of factors to take into consideration in the summer that can impact your skin. These include air conditioning, heat rash & prickly heat, hayfever, hot showers, too much sun and what we’re going to be concentrating on; our diets.
A few hints and tips for summer skin survival:
• Air conditioning dehydrates the skin, leaving it feeling tight and often sensitised – if you need the air-conditioning go for short blasts if possible rather than keeping it on all day and don’t direct it at your face. Make sure you are wearing a moisturiser to ensure the skin is protected against the air-conditioning
• Lower the shower temperature – hot showers can cause the skin to become sensitised which leads to dehydration leaving the skin tight and uncomfortable
• Double cleanse your skin twice a day but no more than that – excess oil and sweat can clog follicles (pores) if not cleansed out and can lead to the formation of breakouts. The temptation in summer is to cleanse the skin more often, especially in hot, sticky weather, but this could actually stimulate more oil production leading to further breakouts
• Moisturise morning and night, even if you have oily skin – choose the right moisturiser to suit your skin type; a dry skin will need a heavy moisturiser, normal skin a medium weight moisturiser and an oily skin a lightweight oil free moisturiser
• Wear an SPF everyday (minimum SPF15)! – The top cause of ageing is UV damage, if you are concerned with ageing then an SPF is a must. SPF will also protect you from pigmentation patches on the skin which look like brown patches. These are not only unsightly but also cause us to look older than we are
Whilst it’s lovely to slather ourselves in luxurious creams, one of the areas that we’re able to control and really get to the root of the problem with bad summer skin is our diet and, as the body’s largest organ, it’s one of the first areas to show tell-tell signs of nutrient deficiency.
How is our diet and skin connected?
This is a topic that is of particular interest to us here at yorktest. Many of our customers come to us complaining of skin problems be it acne, itchy skin or eczema – we often highlight that diet can play a big part in how our skin behaves. There are many stages of the skin’s cycle of renewal but the food and subsequent nutrients we consume help re-build, repair, nourish and quench the skin’s structure. If, therefore, we ingest food that our bodies can’t digest properly, and therefore discover a food intolerance our skin may be missing out on an important part of this process. Understanding which foods your body does and doesn’t agree with is therefore a really important step in ensuring optimum skin health.
Here are a few tips for your diet regime during summer that may help clear up skin conditions:
Keeping hydrated is an incredibly important part of the body’s diet and, even more so in summer. For our bodies to function at optimum we need a plentiful water supply. In the summer it’s therefore really important to replenish any water lost through sweat.
Dehydration can leave the skin feeling tight, sensitised, rough to touch and looking more wrinkled, hydrating the skin can solve these dehydration signs. Imagine when your skin is dehydrated it’s like a raisin – lacking water and wrinkled, and when it’s hydrated its back to a grape – hydrated and plump. Your skin acts in a similar way, looking much healthier, brighter, fresher and youthful once well hydrated.
Eat Fleshy, Water-Rich Foods
Cucumber, watermelon, strawberries – try eating foods that have a high water content to ensure your body is gaining that extra water content. Do you feel that your body craves these foods more often in summer anyway and you’ll often associate eating such foods as ‘refreshing’? Us too.
In fact, a study from 2009 by researchers at the Aberdeen Medical School revealed that after exercise the most effective way to hydrate the body is to reach for high-water content fruit or vegetables even more so than water or sports drinks!
So which foods should we reach for to restore water lost from the body that will keep our skin glowing during the summer months? Strawberries and watermelon contain around 92% water content so are great for a refreshing snack. However, you might not know that other water-rich foods include pineapple, courgette and potatoes.
Not eating enough of the good fats (unsaturated) can lead to dry skin and what’s great is that there are plenty of tasty sources of fats and essential fatty acids (Omega3 and Omega 6) that can be used in healthy lunches and dinners.
It’s been no secret that avocado is favoured as a great all-rounder for Nutritional Therapists and the health-conscious for a while now but what makes it so great is that this can not only make your skin glow from the inside out but is a great solution for organic skin care.
Rather than just chopping it into a salad and making Mexican night and your homemade guacamole a permanent fixture in your week, mash it up and make a face mask!
Give the booze a break
We’re all guilty of it, the sun’s out and we head straight to the nearest beer garden. We all know the implications that alcohol can have on the body but it can also wreak havoc on your skin. It is important to pay particular attention to what is accompanying your drink too – the biggest culprit in summery drinks is sugar which can lead to skin inflammation, cell damage and even ageing of the skin. The alcohol within your summer tipple causes skin dehydration leading to the effects we described earlier. If you want to keep that youthful glow during the summer – stick to skin thirst quenching drinks!
Could something in your diet be affecting your skin? Take the FirstStep to finding out your unique food fingerprint.