Here are a few quick summer skin care tips!
Tanned skin may look beautiful, but one of the main causes of aging is sun damage. If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, use a good natural based sunscreen to protect against the sun’s damaging rays. Reapply frequently and sit in the shade when you can. I recommend choosing a natural based sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, and that is formulated with ingredients high in antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are minerals that are approved by the FDA to provide adequate sun protection. Plant ingredients that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients include green tea, sea buckthorn berry, and shea butter. (Please note: shea butter provides a low amount of natural spf, however it is not approved by the FDA for use as sun protection).
Most natural based sunscreens also double as moisturizers, so when you use natural based sunscreens, you may or may not have to use another moisturizer. If your skin is normal, oily, or combination, a natural based sunscreen will probably be enough of a moisturizer. If your skin is on the dry side, you may need to use another moisturizer or a carrier oil with your natural based sunscreen.
A few natural remedies for sunburn:
Aloe gel or juice soothes sunburned skin. Make sure you use pure aloe gel or juice, which does not contain any colorants or fillers. Many excellent brands can be found at your local health food store, or online at herbal vendors. Or use your aloe plant! Apply aloe to sunburned skin several times a day. Once opened, store the bottle in the fridge.
Vinegar is another home remedy that helps sunburn. I recommend using apple cider vinegar though some people like using white vinegar too. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps reduce pain and also inflammation. Apply diluted vinegar to sun burned skin a few times a day (for use on sunburns use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts distilled or spring water. People with sensitive skin may want to dilute this more. Please note: usually for other skin and hair care uses, vinegar is diluted much more). Or add a cup or two of vinegar to your bath water.
Hot and humid weather can dry out the skin, making it look aged. Drink more water during the hot summer months to make sure you are adequately hydrated. Also hydrate your skin more: I recommend misting your skin with hydrosols or infusions to add extra moisture. Mist your skin a few times a day. Some good choices: green tea (antioxidant rich), lavender and/or chamomile infusions (soothing, see link to recipe below), and rose hydrosol (very hydrating). If you are using infusions, store in the fridge. I also suggest storing hydrosols in the fridge when not in use (though you could keep a little bottle in a cool, non-humid room. Do not store in the bathroom).
Eco Living article on how to switch your skin care during the summer and spring months (includes a recipe for a strawberry scrub):
Eco Living article on natural moisturizers:
Eco Living article on lavender-chamomile infusions and directions on how to make infusions:
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a great website on sun protection. I recommend downloading the pamplet (pdf format) on sunscreens and sunscreen ingredients (includes a chart that compares the effectiveness of different sunscreen ingredients).
My review of a few natural based sunscreen brands (from my eco blog, Solarkat's eco blog).
Many anb mall vendors sell sunscreens. The anb mall’s 2010 summer sizzler sampler has a couple natural based sunscreens too.
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company.
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog. http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
If you have any questions on Eco Living please feel free to contact Li at: