After over a year of being confined indoors, summer 2021 just may be the most anticipated summer of the century. It’s finally time to get outside, catch up with friends at the beach, enjoy long summer nights, and show off the glow that comes with soaking in all that sunshine. However, we wouldn’t recommend doing so without adequate skin protection!
No matter what the season, it’s always important to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. This is especially true in the heat of the summer. What’s more, heat records are being broken left and right across the nation this year, underscoring that it’s extra important to adjust your skincare routine ASAP. From what you eat to the products you use (and don’t use!), here are our expert-backed tips for summer-ready skin.
Eat Foods That Fight Sun Damage
What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it. Chances are, you already have numerous damage-fighting foods in your diet already. Be sure to increase your intake of these foods to maximize their skin-saving properties!
Key to fighting sun damage is consuming lots of antioxidants, which blueberries are loaded with. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals (compounds that can cause cellular damage) in your body. Overexposure to UV rays from the sun is a source of free radicals, so don’t be shy — and top your morning oatmeal with blueberries or try blending them into a refreshing smoothie!
Like blueberries, leafy greens such as kale, chard, and spinach also contain plenty of antioxidants. Specifically, they contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can prevent wrinkling, cell damage, and even skin cancer.
Green tea is great for your morning wake-up call — and for saving your skin from the sun. It’s been shown to prevent skin damage from UVA light and protect against collagen reduction, thanks to its abundance of flavanols.
Carrots contain what’s known as beta carotene, which our bodies process into vitamin A. In turn, vitamin A shields our skin cells from UV damage and prevents the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene and flavanols, both of which aid in the prevention of sun damage. Lycopene, the natural chemical that gives tomatoes its red color, is also known to protect against certain kinds of cancer.
Not only is watermelon refreshing in the heat, but it’s also chock-full of vitamins A and C, along with lycopene. Vitamins A and C possess strong antioxidant properties that naturally shield the skin from harmful UV rays.
Many nuts, like almonds and walnuts, are adequate sources of skin protection. Pecans, however, pack an extra-powerful punch, as they’re loaded with zinc and vitamins A and E.
Avoid These Skincare Ingredients When The Sun Is Strongest
If you plan on spending the day in the sun, don’t wear products that contain chemical exfoliants. Exposing exfoliants to too much sunlight could backfire and cause them to do more harm than good. They work wonders for issues like acne and fine lines, but they can also make you more susceptible to sunburns, given that they peel away a layer of skin. Avoid using the ingredients below during the day in summertime — try applying them at night instead!
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Azelaic acid
Add These Ingredients To Your Beauty Routine
Wearing sunscreen is a definite must. But adding extra layers of sun defense during the summer is always a good idea. The ingredients below will add that extra oomph to your skin protection.
Squalane, derived from olive oil, is a potent natural UV shield. It works by protecting the skin’s most sensitive lipids, which are necessary for keeping the skin barrier healthy and intact. Squalane is the skin’s most important protective lipid, and it can be found in many serums and creams.
Thanks to vitamin E’s antioxidant properties, this potent protector works to shield skin cells from UV rays that could harm cell development and growth. It also works as a great aftercare solution in case you do end up getting sunburned.
Turmeric, the compound that gives curry its signature spicy kick, has been used in holistic wellness practices for thousands of years. That’s because it’s composed of the pigment curcumin, which possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumoral, and antioxidant properties. You can find creams and lotions that contain turmeric — or try blending it into a smoothie.
Grape seed oil
As far as sun protection goes, grape seed oil works pretty much on par with Vitamin E, given its strong antioxidant properties. It also has an SPF rating of 4 when used as a sunscreen ingredient. Granted, that’s not enough to use on its own, but every little bit helps!
Summertime is an amazing season for soaking in life’s pleasures. However, be sure you’re also soaking in these skin-protecting ingredients while you’re at it. It’s never too late to keep yourself safe from harmful UV rays. Sun damage can contribute to wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer — so the best time to prevent sun damage naturally is now!