Days on the beach are good for your soul – but all that sun and wind can leave your skin parched and rough
Days on the beach are good for your soul – but all that sun and wind can leave your skin parched and rough. Show it a bit of love with these top-notch natural healers
As summer draws to a close we’re rinsing out the salt-encrusted snorkelling gear, pulling up our summer crops that have bolted and wondering what to do with the ripped tent. After a season’s worth of outdoor living our skin could use a bit of attention too. Often it’s coarse and flaking by the time the weather starts to cool. “If the skin is deficient in oil and water, it rapidly becomes dry, lined and saggy,” write Dr Megan Mathews and Alison Cassar in Radiant Health, Radiant Skin. “In this vulnerable state, it can easily be damaged and develop infections, sensitivities, eczema, psoriasis and premature ageing.”
Points to you if you’ve been regularly slathering on the sunscreen during the last three months – but even so you may have ended up with clogged pores, the downside of shunning potentially harmful nanoparticles and using natural sun blockers such as zinc.
Start your remedial regime this week. Set aside an hour and apply a clay mask to draw impurities out of your pores and lift away dead skin. Look for products containing white clay (also called kaolin clay) which is gentle enough for sensitive skin and also helps reduce any inflammation or infection. The next step is to rehydrate your complexion with a serum or moisturiser. Serums are designed to supply your skin with nutrients; moisturisers deliver (you guessed it) water. Use a serum in areas requiring extra attention, such as fine lines, pigmentation and discoloration, or the delicate skin around the eyes. If you’re using both serum and moisturiser, the serum goes on first because it’s designed to penetrate more deeply into your skin.
For extra nourishment, use an oil rich in essential fatty acids instead of your usual moisturiser at night. Plant oils such as jojoba, argan, avocado and rosehip seed are best avoided in the daytime as they can cause your makeup to slip and slide, but they’ll rehydrate and repair your skin while you sleep. If you have an oily complexion, plant oils can help restore balance to your skin. Jojoba oil is so similar to our natural sebum that it tricks skin into thinking it’s made enough oil – so it stops producing more than necessary.
Petroleum: friend or foe?
It’s a common sight on the ingredients list of moisturisers, lipsticks and lip balms. But not only is petroleum (also called petrolatum) a byproduct of petrol production and potentially carcinogenic (it’s been linked to breast cancer) – it simply doesn’t work. “It has absolutely zero nutrient value for the skin, and blocks sebum and the body’s natural ability to regulate moisture,” writes Summer Rayne Oakes in Style, Naturally.
3 fab ingredients:
If you need some serious intervention, try one of these natural healers:
Aloe vera’s cooling effect is excellent for soothing a whole range of hot-weather hazards, from sunburn to razor burn and itchy insect bites. Unsurprisingly it’s tops for replenishing Sahara-like skin. You can up the cooling factor even more by keeping it in the fridge.
Manuka honey is hygroscopic, which means it attracts and holds water molecules. Naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, manuka is also ideal for soothing irritated or inflamed skin and preventing infection.
Vitamin E plays a starring role in healing sun damage as it neutralises skin-ageing free radicals – unstable molecules created by solar radiation. This hero vitamin is usually found in plant oils such as jojoba, argan, avocado and rosehip oil.