Over exposure to the sun is the skin's number one enemy. Unless steps are taken to shield our skin from its glare, it quickly becomes wrinkly and slack.
Not only do the sun's rays destroy the supporting collagen and elastin fibres of the skin, but they also encourage deep brown pigmentation marks known as 'age' or liver spots.
Protection is always far easier than a cure and it is well worth taking steps when younger to ensure that our face and body never show the ravages of premature sun-induced skin ageing.
Below are some simple skin care tips for the summer, but the best course of action is to avoid overexposure to the sun in the first place:
- Sun protection - Look for formulations that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are both natural sun blocks that offer immediate and effective protection from UVA and UVB rays.
- Sesame oil - For a nourishing natural sun block, try sesame oil, which has an (albeit low) SPF of eight.
- Cool sunburn quickly - The most important factor when treating sunburn is to cool the skin down quickly, to prevent the heat from penetrating the lower levels of the skin. Soaking in a deep, cool bath rapidly brings down body temperature and adding a handful of oatmeal or porridge oats also helps soothe angry, inflamed tissues. A few drops of lavender essential oil is also a wonderful skin soother and a natural antiseptic that works especially well on sunburnt skin.
- Vitamin E in the form of wheatgerm oil is also a useful addition to re-moisturise the skin and helps prevent peeling while reducing the risk of blisters.
- After sun bath - dilute four drops of chamomile, three drops of geranium and one drop of peppermint essential oils in one tablespoon of jojoba oil and add to a bath. While in the bath gently massage the oil over the areas that have been exposed to the sun.
- Aloe vera cooler - this is an excellent lotion for taking the heat out of sunburnt and damaged skin. Mix two teaspoons liquid aloe vera juice and 15 drops of calendula tincture and apply to sunburnt skin.
- Chamomile floral water makes a simple, soothing and refreshing facial skin toner, especially good when you've been exposed to the sun.
- A gentle facial massage oil will help to treat your face from the drying effects of the sun with.
- To prepare your feet for summer exposure, and to help remove a build-up of hard, dead skin, soak your feet for 15 minutes in a warm to hot footbath containing two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Pat feet dry, then rub over a mixture of ¼ cup of olive oil and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Put socks on and sleep on it.
- On hot summer days at the beach, use the rough granules of sand and softening sea water to exfoliate your feet.