Updated: 6 days ago
Tis the season for outdoor activities, beach days, pool parties, cookouts, vacations, and everything under the sun, literally!
I’m a lover of the beautiful sun and hot weather so I soak it up every chance I get. I'm often outside in the sun for extended periods of time, with that comes the responsibility of caring for your skin a little extra.
The sun is an essential element not only to life on earth but overall health and wellbeing of humans. Achieving optimal health isn't possible without daily sun exposure. While the sun provides us with so many health benefits, it's important to know how to care for the skin during and after sun exposure to prevent burning, dehydrated skin, premature aging, sun spots, and dis-ease like cancer.
Skin is the largest organ of the body. There are many layers of skin, today we're focusing on the moisture barrier. The skin's moisture barrier is the outermost layer of skin that determines the ability of the skin to receive and retain moisture. A healthy moisture barrier is smooth, soft, radiant, and is able to effectively absorb and retain moisture. An unhealthy moisture barrier can look dry, scaly, itchy, flaky, chalky, and lacks the ability to accept moisture, never mind retain it.
Our skin receives moisture through drinking water (moisture from inside out), applying moisturizing products (moisture from outside in), and even a bit through physically being in water like a bath, shower, pool, ocean, etc.
The sun, sunblock, chemical pool water, scented body products, hot temperatures, and extra sweating can all cause a bit of trauma to the skin's moisture barrier. It is important to take preventative measures as well as replenish our skin after sun exposure.
Hydration From The Inside
This one might seem like a no-brainer since we need to be doing this every single day BUT did you know that our skin is made up of about 65% water? Staying properly hydrated is the most important thing you can do in preventing moisture loss and maintaining a healthy moisture barrier. Once you become dehydrated, your skin is losing moisture. Not to mention we all sweat more when the temperatures rise, water is literally being secreted through the skin to keep you cool. The only way to avoid dehydration is to consistently drink water throughout the day.
How much water should I be drinking? Eight cups? A gallon? Half gallon?
Everybody is different, there is no one size fits all when it comes to hydration. A simple way to know if you're properly hydrated is to keep an eye on the color of urine. If it's yellow, you are already dehydrated and need to drink water immediately. The desired color of urine is a light yellow, lemon-aid like color to clear. This indicated proper hydration.
We know we should be drinking water for good health but not just any water. The quality of water in which you are consuming directly correlates to overall health and wellbeing. Tap, bottled, and conventional filtered water can contain upwards of hundreds of different contaminants including chemicals like chlorine, pesticides and arsenic, toxic elements like fluorine, pharmaceutical drugs, heavy metals, nitrates, and so much more.
Drinking low quality water has serious impacts on the entire body on a cellular level. Toxic water can create deep dehydration, inflammation, and an acidic environment within the body which actually causes you to become more sensitive to the sun leading to more burning and skin related diseases.
The only way to ensure your drinking high quality water is to invest into a water system that purifies the water and removes contaminants. The water filter attached to your fridge or the water filter picture isn't going to cut it. Oftentimes these water filters remove minimal amounts of impurities solely to improve taste. You’ll want to invest into a reverse osmosis water purification system or something similar that removes all contaminants. I use a convenient countertop reverse osmosis system from the brand AquaTru. I’ll drop the link right below so you can check them out yourself!
Fresh cold pressed juices and coconut water are other amazing options for achieving deep hydration. Juices from fruits and veggies act as a nutrient and hydration bullet that pretty much goes straight to the cell as there is no fiber to be digested. You’ll want to ensure that any juice you consume is organic and cold pressed to get maximum health benefits. If you're interested in pressing your own juice check out the link right below to the two in one juicer and blender that I swear by! It’s top quality and will save you money in the end if you're really serious about juicing or smoothying!
Coconut water is insanely hydrating with its abundant amounts of potassium and electrolytes. My fav brand of coconut water that I always have on hand is from Harmless Harvest. It’s organic, sustainably sourced, and it’s pink! The most raw forms of coconut water are pink. Plus they have different infusions like watermelon, apple, and smoothies. A perfect drink to bring to the beach or poolside 🥥
Hydration From The Outside
We’ve hydrated from the inside out now it’s time to lock in moisture from the outside.
The best time to moisturize the body with lotion or oils (or both) is right after a shower. The skin is moist and most permeable meaning it will accept more of the products you put on it vs. applying moisturizer to bone dry skin. This is going to ensure that the skin remains hydrated and keeps the moisture barrier healthy.
Moisturizing the body from head to toe is one of the best ways to replenish the skin after spending time in the sun. My little hack for those days is lathering my skin in some type of oil, typically coconut or olive, before I apply my body lotion. Game changer!
What you put on your skin matters! Body moisturizers are not going to hydrate the skin if they are full of chemicals like petroleum, parabens, fragrance, etc. It can be hard to find a 100% clean moisturizer, sometimes we won't be able to fully avoid harmful ingredients. All we can do is our best, keep learning, and make the best informed decisions for ourselves. My current favorite non toxic body lotion is the unscented 98.9% natural origin one from Burt's Bees, dropping the link right below!
SPF is something I only recommend using when you are in direct sunlight for extended periods of time to prevent burning.
Unfortunately, the sun has been demonized and were told we need sunblock at all times for any kind of sun exposure. Like I mentioned earlier, we need the sun for optimal health and wellbeing. Blocking the skin from the sun prevents us from receiving all of its vital health benefits. If you want to learn more about the sun and why it’s essential to human health check out my blog linked right below!
I recommend getting 15-20 minutes of direct sun exposure daily for maximum health benefits depending on your personal sensitivity. If you plan on being in direct sun for more than 30 minutes my first line of action would be to cover with clothes. Clothes are the best at preventing burns and the most natural form of sunblock.
A lot of sunblocks contain chemical ingredients that not only can harm the skin but negatively impact hormones, reproductive health, the liver, thyroid, kidneys, nervous system, lymphatic system, and brain. Keep in mind that everything you eat, breath, and put on the skin gets absorbed and filtered through the liver approximately 420 times a day. The liver is the main detox organ, we cannot survive without it. The health and ability of the liver to do its job depends on overall lifestyle.
Not to mention how toxic they are for our oceans, coral reefs, and marine life. Earth and human life depend on healthy oceans and thriving marine life to survive, we need to do what we can to take care of our oceans.
There are better, non toxic options for sunblock that aren't a threat to our skin and the oceans. The brand Native has an amazing fragrance free mineral sunblock that contains one ingredient, zinc oxide. This is the only ingredient that needs to be in sunblock. Toxic ingredients found in many sunblocks to be on the lookout for include…
Avobenzone: An extremely unstable ingredient that when exposed to sun breaks down into unknown chemical compounds that release free radicals which damage cells and can cause cancer. It impacts the kidneys, liver, and nervous system.
Homosalate: This ingredient accumulates in the body faster than the body can detox it which has negative impacts on the liver, clogging it up and bogging it down, slowly losing its ability to do its job effectively, detox!
Parabens: Preservatives that are found in endless beauty products, directly linked to asthma, allergies, obesity, breast cancer, and reproductive issues like uterine cysts, tumores, and infertility. Many parabens have been banned in other countries.
Octinoxate: Another chemical that gets broken down into free radicals and is linked to reproductive and thyroid disturbances. This ingredient has been added to Hawaii’s ban in efforts to protect the color reefs.
Octocrylene: This ingredient has a strong ability to penetrate deeply into the skin and produce free radicals, again affecting the liver and increasing risk of skin cancer.
Retina Palmitat: An ingredient that speeds up the development of skin cancer tumors due to it being broken down by the sun.
Fragrance: A blanket term for hundreds of chemicals that are used to add appealing scents to products of all kinds including skin care, hair care, cleaning products, perfume, candles, etc.
It really makes you wonder why these harmful elements are added to so many of our self care products. Why would so many unstable ingredients that break down in the sun be put in something that is meant to protect us from the sun? It’s unfortunate that we have to put in time, energy, and research into seeking out products that aren't damaging to our wellbeing. It’s through this effort, however, that this will change and get better.
Sip On Coffee
I’m not just saying this because I’m an avid coffee lover. Actively sipping coffee while you're in the sun prevents cellular damage. Coffee contains lots of antioxidants, polyphenols, and caffeine all of which fight against cancer forming cells within the skin. Plus this is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a cold brew on the way to the beach. Just make sure it’s not full of low quality dairy, refined sugar, and toxic plant milk or flavors ☕
Aloe has some pretty powerful benefits for the skin. It’s been used for after sun care for centuries and for good reason! Since it's made mostly of water it helps to replenish lost moisture from the skin. It also contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti wrinkle properties, all of which your skin will love and thank you for.
Typically, aloe is used to treat sunburns but it can be used daily for all of the other health benefits. Add fresh aloe vera to smoothies or juices, use it as a hydrating face mask, blend it with oil or body lotion, or apply it straight to the skin. You can buy pure whole aloe vera stock from the grocery store, grow it at home, or buy a high quality, non toxic brand (link below).
Body scrubs are an amazing self care treatment that can keep the skin's moisture barrier healthy and help rejuvenate it. Sometimes the skin’s moisture barrier is already damaged and has been neglected for some time. A great way to “start over” in a sense, is to make a habit out of exfoliating your skin head to toe with a body scrub.
Since the moisture barrier is the outermost layer of skin it can begin to be repaired and replenished by scrubbing off the damaged, dry, scaly skin. Make doing a weekly full body scrub part of your self care rituals to remove the dead, dry, damaged skin and allow the fresher, healthier skin absorb moisture more effectively. Overtime, the healthier skin will become your new moisture barrier!
If you're in need of a body scrub check out my blog Homemade Honey Coffee Scrub to make your own nourishing, non toxic scrub that you can use head to toe!
I know, a cold shower might sound miserable but not for your skin! Cool water isn’t damaging to the skin's moisture barrier vs. warm/hot water. Hot water not only makes you lose moisture by sweating but it totally dries out the moisture barrier. Plus it will take the heat off of your skin from being outside in the heat/sun and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! If you can stand it, take cooler showers or at least do a cold rinse before getting out.
If You Do Get Burnt...
It happens and it’s not the end of the world. Although we want to do everything in our power to prevent burning our skin, the number one most important things to do are hydrate from the inside and outside. Drink extra water, get yourself some fresh pressed juices, take a cold shower, and lather yourself in a high quality body oil and lotion. Regularly apply layers of moisture to reduce redness and prevent peeling.
Wherever you are in the world, if you're experiencing hot months now, all year round, or in the near future, keep these tips in mind to take care of your beautiful skin. You only get one body in this lifetime. Cherish it, prioritize it, and love it endlessly and unconditionally 💕
Wishing you a beautiful day 🌿