Summer is just around the corner and most of us are more than ready to bid adieu to the wintery breeze coming off our warm woollen clothing, trading them for cool summer wear. The summer, however, does bring with it a number of potential abuses to our skin making it dull and lifeless. Nevertheless, with just a few simple tricks, it is possible to look and feel elegantly fresh and glowing without suffering from dehydrated skin, which is so typical of summer.
Basics of Skin Structure
The skin is the largest organ in the body, comprising about 15% of the body weight with a chemical composition, of about 70% water, 25% protein and 2% lipids. The balance includes trace minerals, and numerous other chemicals. The skin consists of three main layers, the epidermis, which includes the layers directly exposed to the environment. Below this is the dermis, rich in collagen and elastin to provide strength and flexibility playing a very important role. Finally, is the hypodermis that contains fatty tissue.
Skin cells contain natural chemicals that make up the Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF). Water coalesces to NMF, which in turn helps hydrates skin. The production and health of NMF determines the balance factor of the skin.
Since the skin contains mostly water, any insignificant amounts of loss in the body’s water volume in a day can lead to problems of mild dehydration. Nonetheless, drinking two litres a day could still make the skin dehydrated caused by a number of internal and external factors.
Factors That Affect Hydration
There are several external and internal factors contributing towards a reduction in hydration levels of the skin. They are as follows…
- High temperature
- Intense UV radiation
- Taking long hot showers or baths
- Aggressive cleansing methods and strong active ingredients in products
- Dryness caused by heavily air conditioned room
- Drinking alcohol, coffee and smoking
- Declining hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin
The symptoms of dehydrated skin are more or less similar to dry skin. These include a rough, tight feeling with little elasticity and incessant itching combined with peeling, redness, coarse thick skin, and in severe cases, cracks that bleed can develop on occasion.
Dry skin does not indicate lack of moisture. However, for an oily skin there are more possibilities of dehydration with the oil glands producing added sebum at the onset of dehydration. Products used to battle oily skin do more than good failing to moisturize or dry out the skin.
Tips to Keep Skin Hydrated
It is important to exfoliate skin in summer at least twice or thrice a week, to remove dead skin and improve blood circulation to the face. Choose from any of the cosmetic scrubs available in the market or make one at home. Try this simple one using 4 to 5 tablespoons of gram flour, a pinch of turmeric powder, 5 – 6 drops of rose water and milk or yoghurt. Mix it into a paste and use it to exfoliate your face. Apart from keeping the skin smooth, it helps absorb the beneficial ingredients of the face moisturizer more easily.
Using the right kind of moisturizer during the day and night is very essential to keep skin hydrated. Hyaluronic acid and plays a major role in the skin’s rejuvenation process by retaining moisture, regulating tissue repair thus keeping the skin soft and supple. It is an important ingredient; hence, skin care experts recommend looking for in hydrating products. Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water making it a super moisturizer. Although water-based products boost hydration, it is advisable using them as part of the morning routine. Since skin requires nutrients it is important to use oil-based, nutrient-filled products at night to soak up the benefits and remain healthy.
Using the right soap is essential as heavily scented harsh soaps strip skin’s natural oils; encourage drying-out process, Therefore trading in rich, foamy mild fragrant-free soaps will help prevent dehydration of skin.
Drink Plenty of Water
One of the foremost ways to keep skin hydrated is by drinking plenty of water, which hydrates the body besides being naturally low in calorie sans sugar. Keeping skin hydrated is essential all year round but especially important in the summer months when fluid is lost through sweat. Therefore increasing consumption of water by a couple of glasses a day sure does help. However, if one finds it difficult to drink plain water, mix things up a bit by adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. (Also read benefits of lemon water)
A well-balanced diet is the base for healthy skin as it provides the body with necessary nutrients. Indulge on Foods like fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, as they are naturally high in fluids, offering extra benefit of fibre, vitamins, minerals, as well as antioxidants. Besides, the high fluid content is more easily absorbed by the cells than drinking water. These factors, keep the skin hydrated and at its best making them supple and radiant.
Increase intake of supplements like selenium, zinc, vitamin C and E rich foods. Apart from shielding the skin from free radicals caused due to the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun, they help the skin cells retain more moisture and elasticity
The best way to protect skin throughout the summer is to use sunscreen every day. Applying a sweat-proof sunscreen lotion with moisturizer providing sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher with a broad-spectrum agent that protects against UVA and UVB rays keeps the skin healthy. Nevertheless, people with fairer skin, lighter hair, and lighter eyes often need a stronger sun block providing SPF 30 than their darker counterparts. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before stepping outside. Sunscreen should always be reapplied after contact with water or after exercise, since towel drying and sweating removes the sunscreen, making it less effective.
Treat Skin to a Facial
Maximize the use of antioxidant rich fresh ingredients that keep skin oxygenated warding off or repairing any damage caused by UV radiation of the sun.
Eye and Skin Protection
Wearing sunglasses a broad rimmed sun hat or carrying an umbrella should protect skin and eyes from the blistering heat of summer.
Avoid Alcohol/Aerated Drinks
Cut down on alcohol and caffeinated aerated beverages providing empty calories, as they do not offer any benefit in terms of nutrition. Sweetened coffee, as well as fruit juice with added sugar should also be limited.
Avoid Excess Sodium
Condiments and foods very high in sodium will naturally draw water from body, contributing to dehydration. Hence, limit intake of sodium laden junk fast foods, and other processed food such as crisps canned soups, frozen pizza, processed meat and canned vegetables.
Home Remedies for a glowing Summer Skin
Gram flour can be used as a face mask and an anti tan agent that works excellently well to eliminate uneven tan. Mix it with yogurt and a few drops of lemon juice and apply on the face until it is dry. The citrus properties of the lemon effectively remove tan.
Papaya is full of natural goodness and can be used as a homemade pack. Just mash 2 tablespoons of papaya with a teaspoon of honey and an egg white. Leave the mixture on the face for about 15 minutes and enjoy the skin radiance
Blending half a cucumber and 1 tablespoon of yogurt in the mixer can make another simple and effective homemade face pack. Apply this on the face 15 minutes for that oh so cooling feel
Therefore, to obtain a radiantly glowing skin not just in summer but the whole year through just follow the recommended easy tips combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise.