Jordan Douglas, MS, HHC
Summer skin requires a little extra TLC to navigate increased heat, humidity, sun and bug exposure, and other gifts of the summer season. With more skin exposed, it’s extra important to take good care of our skin and to be mindful of the products we’re using. Many conventional skin and body care products and even some “natural” products are full of harsh chemicals and preservatives that negatively impact our health and the environment. Luckily, the Ellwood Thompson’s Nourish Department has you covered – scouring labels and adhering to a strict banned ingredient list – so that you can shop for clean, effective products with peace of mind. Below, a guide to tending to summer skin; all products are available in the Nourish Department.
Our skin maintains a protective barrier through production of the acid mantle (pH mantle), formed from our natural sweat and sebum. With increased sweat and sebum production in the summer months, many people tend to over cleanse the skin, stripping away the natural acid mantle which can further exacerbate excess oiliness, redness, irritation or breakouts.
Oil cleansing is a time-honored practice of gently cleansing and exfoliating the skin in a way that preserves the acid mantle and the skin’s microbiome. High-quality, cold-pressed botanical oils are massaged onto dry skin, then gently removed with a damp cloth. Some folks may feel adequately cleansed and hydrated after oil cleansing, while others may like to follow with a spritz of hydrosol and another hydrating face oil (again, the combination of oil and water helps to balance the skin’s acid mantle).
Evan Healy products perfectly embody this gentle, healing and highly effective skincare philosophy. If investing in high-quality skin care is in your budget, check out the Nourishing Cleansing Oil along with any of the serums and hydrosols. For a lower price point option, check out cocokind’s Facial Cleaning Oil, Rosewater Toner and facial oils.
Gentle exfoliation year-round helps to support the skin’s natural turnover process. Dry brushing helps to slough off any dead skin cells while also moving lymph and promoting circulation. While there are many lovely body scrubs on the market, it’s simple and affordable to make your own from sugar and botanical oils. Feel free to experiment with the amounts depending on your preferences, but 4-6 tablespoons of brown or cane sugar mixed with 2-4 tablespoons of a cold-pressed botanical oil (e.g., jojoba, argan, avocado, olive) works well.
Sun and Bug
Clean SPF is important year-round and absolutely essential in the summer. Chemical sunscreens are damaging to both our skin and the environment. Physical sunscreens, like zinc oxide, are a clean and efficacious way to protect against the sun’s rays (wearing layers and seeking shade in peak sun hours are also important). Badger’s clear zinc sunscreens work remarkably well and also offer moisturizing, anti-oxidant benefits to the skin. For facial SPF, the Badger Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen is a great option, as is Evan Healy’s Sheer Tint Sun Stick. Don’t forget to reapply!
Post-sun skin care is equally as important, and I’ve yet to find a better/cleaner product than Solar Recover’s Save Your Skin. This blend of botanical and essential oils cools, soothes, and hydrates the skin; spray liberally during and after sun exposure.
For keeping bugs at bay, check out clean and effective bug sprays from Wooden Spoon Herbs, Badger, and Quantum Health. For bug bites and irritation, Badger’s After Bug Bite Relief Stick works wonders, as does Rustic Remedies Jewelweed (also great for poison ivy!).
A Note on Diet and Hydration
A quick reminder that the best skincare regimen starts from the inside. Including an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables, high-quality fats and clean proteins in the diet while minimizing refined, processed foods, sugars and oils helps to promote healthy, vibrant skin. Be sure to drink plenty of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated, and minimize caffeine and alcohol.