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Summer Skin Care Guide


Summer is arguably the best time of the year. We are outside, soaking up the sun, and getting more time in nature. Summer can often take a toll on our skin- from sunburns, to to bug bites, to jellyfish stings. By the end of the summer, we can feel toast and ready to wear comfy sweaters and take a long break from the sun. Here we’ll dig into how to protect our skin throughout the summer using both food and natural products. 


Sun Exposure for Vitamin D


Vitamin D is crucial for our health: our hormones, bone health, immune system, brain health, mental health and more! It enhances the immune system, helping to fight off free radicals and bacteria that cause premature aging and acne. Studies show that vitamin D can also help mitigate the risk of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.


The best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. We can get only a small amount through food alone (seafood, egg yolks, mushrooms). In the winter months it is usually not possible to obtain vitamin D from the sun due to the earth’s position, unless you live close to the equator. We recommend all of our clients get a vitamin D lab annually to assess their need and proper dosage of vitamin D supplements (ask us, we'll help).  


We recommend getting outside daily without sunscreen to absorb vitamin D from the sun. 


Safe Sun Exposure Tips


  • Timing: Aim for 20-30 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin without sunscreen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, when the UVB rays necessary for vitamin D production are strongest. 

  • Skin Type Considerations: Lighter skin synthesizes vitamin D more quickly as it has less melanin than darker skin, so adjust your exposure time accordingly. 

  • Gradual Exposure: Start with short intervals once the weather breaks to build up resistance and avoid burns, gradually increasing your time in the sun.

  • Once you have gotten your daily fill of the sun, choose shade, clothing, and a hat.

  • Choose natural sunscreen that is better for your skin, hormones, microbiome and the planet. Wait to apply sunscreen until you’ve had your daily 20-30 minutes of sun exposure to absorb vitamin D. Our favorites are mineral sunscreens that are chemical free. Here are our favorite brands:

    • PureHaven Face Sunscreen Lotion

    • Babo Botanicals Daily Mineral Sunscreen

    • Stream2Sea Mineral Sunscreen

    • ThinkSport Clear Zinc Sunscreen

    • Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen


Skin Health Diet


Did you know that what we eat affects how quickly our sun burns in the sun? True! 


Some foods provide a protective barrier against the harmful effects of the sun. We’re talking omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidant colorful vegetables. On the other hand, some foods can make your skin burn more quickly. Highly processed inflammatory foods are the culprit here. Below we dig into what makes up a way of eating that focuses on healthy skin and prolonging the time it takes for our body to sunburn. 


The Role of Omega-3s


Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, meaning the body cannot produce them and they must be obtained from the diet. They play significant roles in the body: skin, brain, heart, immune, hormone, and gut health. They are crucial for health! The standard American diet is significantly lacking in omega 3s, while being very high in omega 6s. Omega 6s are beneficial if they are from a high-quality source, and when in balance with omega 3s. Both nuts and seeds and processed seed oils are high in omega 6s. However, processed seed oils are highly inflammatory. While raw nuts and seeds are anti-inflammatory healthy fats. 


Maintaining a balance is key. A 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is ideal. This balance is associated with reduced inflammation and improved skin health. Not only will this ratio improve skin health and help protect against sunburn, but it has been shown in studies to prevent chronic diseases. By incorporating the omega 3 foods below and omitting seed oils, you can maintain a balanced omega ratio.


Omega-3 Rich Foods


  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3s. They contain two highly absorbent forms of omega 3s, EPA and DHA. Other fish and shellfish are good sources as well. Choose wild-caught.

  • Plant Sources: Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds provide plant-based omega-3s. These omega 3s are in the ALA form, which is less bioavailable than EPA and DHA. Keep in mind if you are not eating fish, you will have to increase the quantity of these foods in your diet. 

  • Supplements: If you're not able to consume at least 2-3 servings of fish weekly, consider taking an omega 3 supplement sourced from high quality fish oil. Always check with your licensed nutritionist and healthcare provider before starting any supplements. We like Nordic Naturals (vegan option available) and Designs for Health options.


Anti-inflammatory Diet


An anti-inflammatory diet is the basis for health, including skin health. Anti-inflammatory diet increases the amount of antioxidant rich foods. These should make up half your plate at each meal. We also need to decrease the inflammatory foods. We’re looking at highly processed oils like seed and vegetable oils (canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, palm oil) and trans fats (fried foods, baked goods, margarine, microwave popcorn, etc.). We also see that a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can increase inflammation all over the body, including the skin, and make us more prone to quickly burning in the sun. 


Antioxidant-Rich Foods


  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, baby kale, collards, Swiss chard, bok choy, etc.

  • Non-starchy colorful vegetables: Bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, summer squash, cucumbers, celery, artichoke, asparagus, onions, garlic, ginger, etc.

  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Always choose organic berries as berries test for the highest level of pesticide contamination year after year. 


Antioxidants combat free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, leading to healthier skin.


Hydration


Proper hydration is vital for skin health. Water aids in maintaining skin elasticity, texture, and helps flush out toxins. You may notice a quicker time to burn when you’re dehydrated. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water daily. For a 150 lb person, that’s 75 oz. Make sure you filter your water to remove toxins and chlorine. When you’re sweating it’s important to replenish your electrolytes that are lost through sweat. 


  • Half body weight in ounces of water daily

  • Add electrolytes when sweating: LMNT or Electrolyte Synergy by Designs for Health


Mosquito Bites


Mosquito bites are a part of summer that no one enjoys. Studies have shown that certain foods and nutrients make mosquitoes less likely to bite. Natural methods allow the body to properly detox without having a harmful effect on hormones. 


Nutrition and Lifestyle for Prevention of Bites


  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Some studies suggest that vitamin B1 can make your skin less attractive to mosquitoes, though more research is needed. We recommend focusing on food sources of B1, including quality meats, legumes and nuts. Book a call with us to discuss what supplements are right for you. 

  • Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar: Some people find that incorporating these foods into their diet help repel mosquitoes.

  • Low sugar diet: Added sugar and processed carbohydrates can wreak havoc on our health. While there’s no tried-and-true evidence to support that a diet low in sugar reduces mosquitoes from biting, this is a healthy way of eating- so it can’t hurt to try!

  • Cover up. Wear longer clothing when exposed to mosquitoes to prevent bites.

  • Essential Oils: Oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, and citronella are known for their mosquito-repelling properties. Instead of putting it directly on your skin, spray it on the environment around you or use essential oil candles. Here are some of our favorite products from Pure Haven:

    • Pure Haven Bug Off Spray

    • Pure Haven Neem-O- for soothing bug bites

    • Pure Haven Bug Off Candle



Jellyfish Stings


Jellyfish stings can be very painful. Natural remedies can reduce the pain and promote healing. No need to have a friend pee on your sting, we promise.


Natural Treatments for Jellyfish Stings


  • Vinegar: Applying vinegar to the sting area can neutralize the venom from certain species of jellyfish. Vinegar inactivates the stinging cells, preventing further venom release.

  • Hot Water Immersion: Immersing the affected area in hot water (100-115°F)for 20-45 minutes can reduce pain by neutralizing the venom. Ensure the water is not too hot to avoid burns.

  • Baking Soda Paste: For stings from non-box jellyfish, a paste made from baking soda and seawater can help neutralize venom.

  • Aloe Vera: Applying aloe vera gel can soothe skin irritation and promote healing due to its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties.


Wrapping It Up


Taking care of your skin during the summer months involves more than just creams and lotions. We need sun exposure for vitamin D! Sun is not bad - it is the ultimate healer of mind and body. We need vitamin D to be healthy and happy! The food we eat plays a role in how quickly our skin burns in the sun. An anti-inflammatory diet rich in omega-3s and colorful vegetables, and low in processed foods including seed oils and sugar can increase the time we can spend in the sun without burning. We hope you enjoy the summer and soak up the sun!



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