Did you feel it? Did you? Those fleeting few hours of ‘proper’ warmth in the air. At last, it feels like summer is here.
In the UK, as soon as the thermometer notches 20 degrees I am asked to comment about summer skin. Skin advice in summer tends to be focused on the ‘put it on and keep it on’ messages of using sunscreen or sunblock to protect against excessive ultraviolet rays and the threat of skin cancer. I get it. Two people close to me have had a skin cancer scare of late and I’m not suggesting taking any risks.
Whilst the skin of a sun worshipper will age faster than someone not taking the sun, a complete retreat is not what I’d recommend at all due to sunshine’s vital link with vitamin D.
Approximately fifteen minutes of sun without protection is what I recommend at a sensible time of the day. I’m no lone voice. Back in 2012, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer reiterated advice for people to guard against the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Those particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency include all pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged under five, older people aged 65 and over, those with low or no exposure to the sun and people with darker skin. if in doubt, look up the NHS advice online or speak to your GP.
Summer skin isn’t just about grabbing some vitamin D friendly rays though. From a nutritionist’s point of view, we are also missing the big trick by focusing only on the outside.
Protecting the skin in summer has to be about helping from the inside too. It is the impact of free radicals inside our body from sun damage that attack collagen and elastin and speed the aging process. A good intake of antioxidants is as important as your SPF factor in my opinion.
Maintaining the tissue elasticity of youthful, peachy skin may well be a nutritional nirvana or an advertiser’s myth but nevertheless some key ingredients can help any age of skin.
Vitamin C and E both offer protection from free radical damage and are relatively easy to source, either in foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables or in supplement form. If you are not so good at getting your eight (yes, eight!) portions of fruit a veg a day and are in need a bit of a plant power boost, try Udo’s Beyond Greens. Add a scoop into a summer smoothie!
Essential fatty acids from oily fish or plant-based oils such as hemp or flax are another natural treatment for inflamed or dry skin. So, stick some salmon on the barbecue or make sure you have another source of these all important oils. Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend is an ideal summer salad drizzle that does all the hard work for you.
Lastly, simple dehydration is one of the key reasons you might notice you are looking a bit more wrinkled in the warmer months. Most of us are aware that drinking water will improve the skin so sipping from a bottle of water throughout the day, around two litres on average, is a good rule to adopt.