We all feel better when the sun shines. It’s something deep-rooted and primal, lifting our spirits and calling us to spend time outside. The sun is a giant ball of energy, so naturally we feed off this. It’s a biological response as sunlight triggers the production of serotonin – a natural mood-lifter. We don’t just feel better emotionally though. Lighter days encourage us to become more active and make better dietary choices too, often leading to a healthier weight.
As the body’s largest organ, skin protects us from the outside world – UV light, the elements and infection - and helps to regulate temperature. This flexible barrier is covered in millions of sensory cells, allowing us to feel heat, cold, pleasure. This remarkable natural covering is about 20 square feet in area and comprises 3 layers: the epidermis – the outer layer that gives us our skin tone and makes us ‘waterproof’; the thicker dermis, which contains hair follicles, sweat glands and connective tissue made up of collagen and elastin that gives skin its ‘bounce’ and elasticity, then the hypodermis – a deeper subcutaneous tissue layer that insulates and ‘cushions’ us.
Skin comes in different thicknesses and textures depending where it is on our body. Under the eyes it’s paper-thin and delicate, on the palms and soles it’s thicker and more resilient. Wherever skin is, it needs good nutrition inside and out to keep it smooth, supple and functioning at optimum levels. The key to healthy looking skin top-to-toe is routine and consistency, especially during the summer months when more of it is exposed and we want it to look its luminous best. We’ve found these summer strategies let us enjoy the sunshine hours sensibly while ensuring our skin glows with good health too:
Smoothly does it – For a really silky summer glow, dead skin cells need to be buffed away regularly. It’s a myth that you will ‘lose’ your tan if you use a scrub. Gently exfoliating lifts away dry, lacklustre skin cells to reveal the brighter new ones underneath, meaning your tan looks even more radiant and fresh. The process of cell renewal slows as we age. The cycle is around every 21 days when we are in our 20s but this can increase to 28 days or longer by time you’re in your 50s or 60s. Applying essential oils, regular exfoliation and the right diet and lifestyle can help speed up that cycle so that your skin functions more efficiently, like it did in your youth. Smoother skin also tans more evenly. Our Exfoliating Face and Body Polish is a multi-tasking, skin-buffing blend of ginger essential oil and threads plus natural orange and pomegranate exfoliants to re-energise and tone. Run out? Our Co-founder Margot suggests mixing virgin olive oil with either instant coffee or granulated sugar for a quick evening body polish that is simply showered off. If you’ve had a little too much sun by mistake, use a mitt or small hand towel to rinse it away, which will be gentler if skin is feeling tender. Exfoliating using a dedicated product (or quick-fix ingredients from the kitchen!) removes any debris from the day and perfectly prepares skin for the next day’s exposure if you’re on holiday.
Natural protection – we’re not the biggest fans of chemical sunscreens as they can disrupt the skin’s natural balance by absorbing UV light and dispersing it throughout the skin, which can cause intolerances. The more nourished skin is to begin with, the more resilient it is to the elements. Slathering a layer of avocado oil over our Essential Moisturiser adds to its deeply nourishing, replenishing and soothing benefits as it’s also full of anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This natural sun shield can be a real boon to darker and naturally olive skin tones but if you are fair, you’ll need additional protection from the sun. Why not opt for a mineral sunscreen or block? Jason Natural Sunscreen make a hypoallergenic one that includes a children’s’ version too, which is meant to be great for those with sun sensitivity. Find it online or in good health food stores.
Vital vitamin - UV light tops up our all-important Vitamin D levels. Even if you eat healthily, it’s hard to get all the Vitamin D you require from food alone. We need it for healthy bone and cell growth, to reduce inflammation and boost our immune systems. The sun’s rays are also known to help improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. In some countries, dermatologists will prescribe a sunny holiday to help treat these conditions.
Be a shade lover – We’re huge fans of spending as much time as possible outside, especially in the spring and summer to top up all those feel-good vitamins and endorphins. On holiday or when we are relaxing in the garden, you’ll tend to find us under a tree, a parasol or with a chair or lounger flipped around so we’re facing away from the sun. UV light is one of the fastest ways to age prematurely and pigmentation and ‘sun spots’ are the visible result of long-term skin damage. If it’s not scorching we like to keep bodies in the sun but faces will always be covered with a hat! Try to be patient and don’t rush to tan; you will still get a gorgeous sun-kissed, healthy glow even if you’ve been in the shade.
Take a stroll – Even when you’re on holiday, keep blood pumping and oxygen levels up for healthier, more vital looking skin by maintaining some kind of daily physical activity. We think that 4.30-6pm is the most pleasurable (and safest) time to be in direct sunlight. It’s a wonderful time to take a long walk in the park, in the woods or along a beach.
Eat early – You’ll feel far more comfortable during the evening and probably fall asleep much easier if your have your evening meal early, as you won’t feel so bloated. We all tend to over eat on holiday so it’s great to give your digestive system a chance to catch up before you try to sleep, if you can.
Stay hydrated – It’s common sense but do stay topped up by drinking plenty of fresh water. We’re around 60% water and need it to keep our brain’s functioning properly, cells renewing and skin glowing. Aim for at least a litre a day – it really is your skin’s (and your body’s) best friend, especially during summer. Invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it with you; this will avoid the need to grab a single use plastic bottle if you’re out and about.
Sea surge – If you’ve access to a beach make sure you swim in the sea, not just in the pool. It’s much more natural and sea salt is rich in minerals including potassium chloride, which makes it really healing. It’s also a natural exfoliator. Swimming pools contain many artificial chemicals to keep them clean and safe but they’re not particularly good for skin or hair. Luxuriate in the ocean instead; the sound of the waves crashing or lapping the shore is intensely soothing. Negative hydrogen ions released by the surf also help to neutralise free radicals and boost your natural immunity so drink them in… we think it’s just heaven!