Think summer, think radiant skin (ideally with a little colour, right?). But as we all know, the pursuit of sun-kissed skin can be dangerous if it’s driven by solar power. If you want gorgeous glowing skin this summer, you want to keep safety in mind, too. Here’s what you need to know.
Although we tend to associate a sun tan as a sign of good health, that darker tone is actually the result of your skin trying to protect itself from UV radiation. When skin is exposed, a pigment called melanin is produced by the skin, causing it to darken. The more your skin is exposed, the quicker your skin will age – think: wrinkles and age spots – and the higher your risk of skin cancer.
So if you want the bronzed look, you can get a healthy tan the safe way with alternative tanning methods such as fake tanning lotions and spray tans, but be aware that they don’t offer sun protection. (No matter what your mum told you, a tan doesn’t offer sun protection.)
How to protect our skin in summer
Here’s what good sun protection looks like, according to The Australasian College of Dermatologists:
• Wear broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses and tightly woven, long-sleeved clothing
• Avoid sun exposure during the middle of the day
• Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30 at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or after going in the water.
Remember that no sunscreen can block all UV radiation, so seeking out shade as often as possible is important. That means basking in the sun is a definite no-no.
Eat up and glow!
Since your skin is your largest organ, looking after it makes sense. According to accredited practising dietitian Jaime Rose Chambers, a healthy diet can help promote glowing summer skin.
“Deficiencies in some nutrients have been associated with conditions such as dry and scaly skin so make sure your diet is rich in vitamin A and E, as well as omega 3 fatty acids and zinc,” she says.
Vitamin A can be found in eggs and dairy products, while E is in sunflower seeds and nuts such as almonds and peanuts. The best sources of omega 3 fatty acids are oily fish like salmon and mackerel, and zinc is found in red meat, poultry and beans.
Other tips for glowing summer skin:
• Drink plenty of water. Making sure your skin remains well hydrated will help keep it healthy and feeling good.
• Manage stress. Acne breakouts and skin sensitivity can be the result of uncontrolled stress. Stress-reduction tips include: try to stay well rested, don’t let your to-do list get out of control and ensure you’re making time to enjoy life. Because that’s what it’s all about, right?
• No brainer, but quit smoking. Smoking starves your skin of oxygen and nutrients, making it look older and more likely to become wrinkled.