by Lori Stryker
Healthy skin is slightly acidic, due to the acid mantle which covers it. The acid mantle is a combination of sebum and perspiration designed to protect the skin from the environment. Each day we lose 850 ml of water through perspiration, so drinking water is helpful in replacing this lost fluid. During the summer, water loss is more rapid, and humid conditions accelerate water loss through the skin as the body attempts to cool itself. As a result, sebum production increases, collecting on the skin and clogging pores. For many, this process results in breakouts, so regular cleansing is recommended.
A good skin care regimen for most skin types during the summer months is the following:
1. Cleansing with a natural, vegetable soap or soap-based cleanser.
2. Exfoliation, not exceeding once or twice per week
3. Hydrate your skin with an alcohol free, natural toner or fill a clean, sterile spray bottle with filtered water and mist over the face after cleansing or exfoliation.
4. Moisturize with a light, all natural moisturizer. Creams and lotions with petroleum based ingredients tend to clog the pores unnecessarily.
5. Massage a face oil or moisturizer into the skin at night. Massaging serves to increase circulation to the skin, which helps the natural rejuvenation processes which take place during sleep.
6. Keep lips protected and moisturized with a lip balm, lip gloss or lipstick, preferably containing a natural sunblock such as titanium dioxide.
7.Cover up to reduce the amount of exposure to the sun with a wide brimmed hat, long and loose fitting clothing. Ninety percent of skin cancers are due to chronic sun damage and eighty percent of wrinkles arise from photoaging.
Any skin care discourse which does not include a discussion of nutrition is lacking a fundamental principle of healthy skin care. Good health and beauty are synonymous. For instance, a clogged and spotty complexion can be linked to a diet high in saturated fats and sugar. Sensitive skin may become worsened by poor digestion or inadequate absorption of nutrients. Dry flaky skin may reflect a diet low in fatty acids or vitamin E. Skin that does not heal quickly may be low in vitamins A, B6, C or zinc. A healthy, varied diet helps the skin defend itself against infection, cell damage and premature aging, especially during the summer months. Increasing your daily intake of fresh, raw vegetables and fruit adds vitamins, antioxidants and water to your diet. Take advantage of the increased variety of fresh foods available during the summer, since a good diet is one of the essential elements for healthy, glowing skin.