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Summertime Skin- Challenges and Opportunities!

Salt, sun, and wind are all elements that affect your skin. Yet, for many of us, we don't think twice about these things, and just slather on some lotion and are done with it. Summertime skin requires some tender care, just as wintertime holds its own set of challenges for maintaining healthy skin.

This is a photo of me, in Cairo, Egypt, 2015. Even with a hat on and sunscreen, the sun was super strong!

For most of my life, I have been in the sun. I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, during a time where most of us eschewed sunscreen and laid out using Jafra Royal Almond Oil or baby oil.

In college, I was an archaeologist working in Mexico, Belize, and Ecuador, always in the tropical sun and heat. What I learned about taking care of my skin then was to drink a lot of water (at least eight 8 oz. glasses per day), clean my skin every night using a gentle cleanser, and never go to bed with makeup on!

Salt is a natural scrub, so time spent on the beach with saltwater and sand has an effect as well. After-sun skin care should include first, removal of any sunscreen products (use PABA-free if possible), cleansing, and a gently moisturizer (yes, even in summer!).

As you can see, I love the ocean, this shot was taken in Hawaii on a sunset cruise...without makeup, At 55, I am fortunate that there are few lines on my face, especially around my eyes.

I think part of this is due to genes (my mom and grandmother had skin full of collagen), but also taking good care of my skin from my 40s onward.

Products I use to ensure that my facial skin is getting enough moisture externally include Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, Strivectin Eye cream, and Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub (I use this 2x per week). You should never use the same products in the summer as you do in the winter (even in Southern California where I am), as the climate differences affect your skin differently.

Keep an eye on your sun exposure! I use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on my face (along with a hat), and at least 50 on my body. I try not to lay out during the most direct sun of the day (12-3PM), and if i start to see a bit of red, I cover up.

But, if you do end up with some over-exposed skin, a soothing balm or gel will help. Straight aloe vera gel (I keep mine in the refrigerator) works best, but if you don't have it handy, Banana Boat soothing aloe after sun gel works, or lubriderm or aveeno lotions.

I don't offer my customers facial products, but for your body, a fatty soap will also help moisturize. Keep your baths or showers to a minimum (they do dry out your skin, believe it or not!), dermatologists recommend no more than 5 minutes in the shower during the summer. Carry your water bottle wherever you go; drinking water is key to healthy summer skin.

But, most importantly, if you are planning to be outdoors, cover up. The larger the brim on your hat, the less sun on your chest and neck and face. Beach cabanas and umbrellas block harmful UV rays yet still allow you to enjoy the outdoors at the beach. Hiking, biking, and other outdoor sports require some sort of cover-up, I love REIs offerings of UV protecting clothing that are light, airy, and block sun.

This photo shows one of the tops purchased at REI that is light and breathable, but blocks UV rays. Wearing an infinity scarf on my hat blocked sun from the back of my neck as well.

Sunglasses too help! I am never without them (my light eyes are sensitive).

In my next blog, I will share more about creating your own skin regimen using homemade products with materials right from your own pantry. From hair masques, to facial toners, to moisturizers, you can make your own!

Until next week, this is Dawn Smith, signing off. Have a happy week!

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