Radiant Skin, From the Surface to Within
Radiant Skin, From the Surface to Within
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is finally here. June 21st marked the first day of summer, bringing with it brighter days, and warmer temperatures.
The Summer Solstice is considered to be the longest day of the year, but that doesn’t mean it has more than 24 hours. On this particular day, the sun rises at its earliest time and sets at its latest time, making it the day with the most hours of sunlight in the entire year. Along with it having the longest duration of daylight, it is also the time when the sun’s rays are at their strongest intensity.
For many of us, summer has been long awaited and is the time when we finally get to spend our days wearing shorts, flip flops, swimsuits, and sunglasses. It’s a season spent mostly outdoors, enjoying the longer days (officially), and having lots of fun in the sun. Just the mention of summer probably conjures up sultry memories of swimming pools, corn on the cob, ice cream trucks, lemonade, and juicy watermelon. We can probably even smell the reminiscent scents of BBQs and suntan lotion just thinking about them. And I’m sure we all have a story about that one time we got embarrassingly sunburned!
Since the official start of summer is here, school is out so we’re likely already spending more time outside. The sun is also out more and is producing stronger rays. We know these rays as UV (ultraviolet) light. Though they are essential for the growth of plants, provide us with healthy doses of vitamin D and can give us an appealing tan, too much exposure can cause damage to our skin. Overexposure can lead to sunburn and in extreme cases sun poisoning, premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, and even skin cancer, caused by free radicals and damage to our DNA. It is currently estimated that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime.
With all of summer’s extra sun and skin exposure, the time is now to take action on keeping our skin safe and looking good in our swimsuits.
So what’s the game plan?
Well, I’m sure the first thing we think of is sunscreen, but it’s not just about what we put on our skin that benefits it. What we put inside our bodies also has the ability to help protect us from the potentially damaging effects of sunlight and as well to keep our skin glowing and healthy. Mother Nature is quite intelligent, and does a great job at providing everything we need, usually just when we need it!
Remember those deliciously juicy watermelons we mentioned earlier? Well, turns out they are full of the phytonutrient lycopene, whose antioxidant properties can help reduce the impacts of sun exposure, and increase your skin’s elasticity, keeping it looking firm. And being that watermelon is 96% water, it is also excellent at moisturizing the skin and ensuring the rest of your body is properly hydrated, which is essential with summer’s heat. Tomatoes are another great source of lycopene, and just happen to be ripe for the picking nearly all summer long.
And that corn on the cob? It contains lutein, which is known to help with UV protection in the eyes (forgot your sunglasses?) as well as the skin. Lutein filters high-wavelength light, fighting off photodamage such as sunburn and premature skin aging.
Cantaloupe, another summertime favorite, along with other orange and yellow foods are all great sources of lutein and also have a brightening effect on your skin’s tone to bring out its natural glow. Mangoes anyone? Here in Florida, they are literally falling from the sky as we celebrate the solstice.
Vitamin C & E on the skin, as well as within!
Vitamin C is well known for its antioxidant properties, which help fight against free radicals that can cause damage to cells and DNA, and ultimately lead to cancer. It is also shown to increase melanin in the skin, which means an increase in protection from the sun’s rays. It even boosts collagen production, keeping skin hydrated and strong, helping to prevent and smooth out wrinkles, and keeping your skin firm.
Vitamin C is easily found in citrus fruits, but strawberries also contain high amounts. And for most of the country, June is prime time for strawberry picking. A diet high in Vitamin C is very beneficial, but applying it topically to the skin also aids in sun protection.
Vitamin E is another go-to that can be used topically and becomes a power couple when paired with Vitamin C. When shopping for skincare, look for products enhanced with these vitamins such as sunscreens, lotions, and serums. In the diet and on the skin, Vitamin E is great at fighting harmful rays by absorbing the energy from UV light and even aids in cell repair, reversing damage to and revitalizing the skin. Heading out to a ball game? Don’t forget to pack your bags of sunflower seeds and peanuts, which are both high in this nutrient.
Another refreshing summer harvest that has a host of benefits for your skin are cucumbers. (And honestly, who hasn’t at least once put slices of them over their eyes?!)
Like watermelon, cucumber has a high water content, 96%, which along with its collagen-producing properties is perfect for keeping you and your skin hydrated and wrinkle free.
Cucumber is also high in vitamin C and antioxidants which help fight free radicals from excessive sun exposure and help give your skin its own natural glow. For an added benefit, be sure to consume the peel as it contains silica which helps firm the skin.
Now along with those strong summer rays of sun comes that intense summer heat, so let’s not forget about the importance of being adequately hydrated. Staying hydrated won’t prevent you from getting sunburned, but it will help to ensure that your body is functioning optimally and that your skin stays healthy and looking its best.
When you sweat, your body and skin lose significant amounts of water and electrolytes, which are crucial to replenish. This can be done not only by drinking extra water, but also by consuming foods with high water and electrolyte content.
And it just so happens that strawberries, watermelon, oranges, almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds, spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers, as well as coconut water (the beverage known as “nature’s Gatorade”) are among some of the many foods and drinks that naturally contain electrolytes.
Instead of putting those cucumber slices on your eyes, try them in a glass of cool water with a few wedges of lemon. This refreshing beverage will not only quench your thirst, but will also help keep you hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes.
Protect your skin
So as we can see, no matter where we are in the country, or what part of the summer we are in, our caring Mother Nature is looking out for us!
It’s important however to note that diet alone, or simply packing a watermelon on your picnic, won’t completely protect you from the sun. Always be sure to wear sun-protective clothing and apply sunscreen to exposed skin prior to getting outside.
When selecting sunscreens, not only does the SPF make a difference, but so do the ingredients it contains. In this case, it’s not just about the health of our own skin, but also the health of the ocean we are swimming in. Therefore, please keep Mother Nature in mind, and be mindful to select eco-friendly, conscious, and reef-safe brands.
Need to restock your sun supplies? Come see us at The Green Pineapple Boutique and Wellness Cafe! We’ve got you covered, literally, from our beautiful selection of sun hats and stylish shades, to our selection of natural and eco-friendly sunscreens and skin care products.
So come on in and take a break from the heat and the sun. While you’re shopping, be sure to try our Cafe’s refreshing “Cool Down” smoothie, which contains hydrating and electrolyte replenishing pineapple, coconut water, chia seeds, and lime.
And if you’re feeling inspired to pay thanks to Mother Nature, please consider helping us in supporting The Coral Reef Restoration Foundation by making a donation to their fund with your purchase.
Now, for that added layer of protection, and to maintain healthy radiantly-glowing skin, be sure to enjoy nature’s abundant summer harvest all season long!