In this article we’ll be focusing on how to keep our skin clear and vibrat during the warm summer months with proper skincare and face yoga.
I don’t know about you, but summer is my favorite time of the year. I’m super happy, positive, vibrant, and my energy levels are through the roof! Even if I find myself in a stressful situation, I cope with it easier – always with a smile on my face :)
I blame it on the sun. It is scientifically proven that people living in warmer and sunnier countries are way happier than the ones who don’t get as many sunny days. I often joke that “people are just like plants with more complicated emotions” And it’s partially true – our cells need sun, water, oxygen, and nutrients to work at its best as well.
So why is everybody warning us about how harmful the sun is for our health and looks?
SUNBATHING & VITAMIN D
It is scientifically proven that spending too much time in the sun causes premature aging and makes you more likely to get skin cancer. And it is true; if we are sunbathing all day without protection sun will harm us. Just think of the time you got really severely sunburnt. We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun – that’s why we need to focus on proper skincare before we go to the sun.
Did you know that the sun rays are responsible for about 80-90% of the features we associate with aging? We’re talking about fine lines, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and even pigmentation changes due to sun rays degrading collagen in our skin faster.
On the other hand, we NEED sun for our body to produce vitamin D. If we are exposed to the sun long enough, our body will create its own vitamin D out of cholesterol. Vitamin D is essential for our health and well-being because unlike other vitamins, it functions as a hormone. Every single cell in our body has a receptor for it.
Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, but it’s challenging to get enough intake from diet alone.
Sure, you’ll find plenty of vitamin D supplements in the market, but no supplement can replace the vitamin D produced in our bodies. Also, it’s essential to encourage our body to produce its own vitamins and minerals. By adding too much food supplements in our diet, we are making our body extremely lazy and reducing its ability to produce vitamins and minerals itself.
According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are vitamin D deficient, and this is especially problematic because a lack of vitamin D can cause:
- Weaker immune system
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Bone loss
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
That’s why it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL to pay more attention to your skincare routine and know:
1.) When it’s the best time to expose yourself to the sun
2.) How to provide your skin with proper protection
3.) How to maintain moisture and hydrate your skin
4.) How to keep your collagen levels balanced
The key is not to avoid the sun entirely but to be mindful about sunbathing, skincare, and using the right protection for your body: the right sunscreen, a hat, and a pair of quality sunglasses.
Adding the right foods to your diet is going to help your skin battle the harmful sun rays, and stay hydrated at the same time (don’t forget about the water intake too).
Doing facial exercise in summer is helping you SLOW DOWN the aging process, serving as a counterweight to the sun, which makes your skin AGE FASTER.
Do you feel like your face looks puffy and swollen in summer? Well, face yoga can help you sculpt and tone your face by minimizing the water retention, stimulating the lymph flow, and increasing collagen and elastin production in your skin.
A WORD OR TWO ABOUT SUN PROTECTION
There are two types of UV rays that are harmful to our skin: UVA rays and UVB rays.
UVB radiation damages the skin’s outer layers contributing to sunburn. Because we can see the actual redness of the skin, we think those are the ones we should protect from. But in reality, UVA radiation is more problematic because those rays penetrate the skin causing it to age faster and form more wrinkles.
UVA – long-wave rays (A stands for aging):
- te the deepest skin layers
- Present during daylight
- They can penetrate clouds and even glass
- Play a key role in photoaging
UVB – short wave rays (B stands for burn):
- Penetrate the skin’s surface
- The strongest between 10am – 4pm
- Cause sunburns and skin reddening
Choosing the right sunscreen
There are many types of sunscreens in the market, and due to different scientific studies, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding them. Everybody seems to have a different opinion about the efficiency of sunscreens and their potential health risks.
For instance, latest studies show that different toxic chemicals in sunscreens (such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene to block harmful rays) can profoundly affect our health. Oxybenzone in sunscreens causes hormonal disbalance and leads to many diseases. You can read more about potential threats here.
PHYSICAL/MINERAL SUNSCREEN VS. CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN:
Our skin absorbs chemical sunscreens, which then absorbs the UV rays, converts them to heat, and releases them from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone which are harmful to both our health and the environment (they are polluting the sea).
Physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks.
When it comes to sunscreen, I always recommend and opt for a physical sunblock that has less harmful chemicals, is less irritating and more moisturizing. Most importantly, make sure that it doesn’t contain any nanoparticles and is labeled as a bio (if possible).
Let’s talk about SPF, shall we?
SPF or sun protection factor is a measurement we use to rate the ability of the sunscreen to protect against UVB radiation.
1.) SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays
2.) SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays
3.) SPF 50 blocks about 98% of UVB rays
Keep in mind that SPF does not necessarily protects you from UVA rays so always make sure you get a sunscreen that:
- Protects from both UVA and UVB rays
- Doesn’t have a fragrance
- Is non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores
- Doesn’t contain oil or paraben
When should I apply an SPF product?
You should apply your SPF product every time you are planning to be in the sun for more than 30 minutes. However, I highly recommend using broad-spectrum physical sunscreen on the face throughout the year.
There is SPF in different foundations we use, but usually, we don’t apply enough product to get the right protection. To be on the safe side, always use sunscreen under your makeup.
In which order should I apply the skincare products, sunscreen, and makeup?
First, apply the skincare products you use daily, then wait a few minutes, and then continue with your sunscreen. If you are using physical sunscreen, you can also use organic oil I listed below to double your SPF protection, however, make sure you put it on a few minutes before putting the sunscreen
REMEMBER: Apply sunscreen as the last skincare product before you put on your makeup!
What is the right amount?
For your face, 1/2 tsp of the product will suffice, but please don’t forget about your NECK.
NATURAL SUN PROTECTION & SKINCARE
As I am a firm believer that natural products are the best for us, I also try to protect my skin during the summer with natural techniques.
For example, here’s what I recommend:
- Avoid the sun between 10 am – 4 pm when UVB rays are the strongest
- Use a hat and a pair of quality sunglasses
- Increase the intake of foods that offer natural UV protection
- Never sunbathe for more than 20 minutes
ORGANIC OILS THAT CONTAIN NATURAL SPF
If you are allergic to a combination of sun+salt+sunscreen (as I was in my childhood), you need to look for a more natural way to protect your skin.
I recommend using oils containing natural SPF, which help you protect and nourish your skin naturally. Even though these oils are high in antioxidants and offer some sun protection, I still recommend using them in combination with non-toxic physical/mineral sunscreen. SPF protection varies when it is actually on your skin.
The most potent natural SPF oils:
- Red Raspberry Seed Oil (spf 28-50)
- Carrot Seed Oil (spf 28 – 40)
- WheatGerm Oil (spf 15)
- Avocado Oil (spf 15)
- Coconut oil (spf 8)
- Macadamia nut oil (spf 6)
* The SPF amounts noted are approximate and could not be confirmed via researched studies due to a broad range of quality and oxidation rate (except raspberry seed oil which is reported to have broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection).
UV DAMAGE REPAIR OILS
If you got sunburnt or if you would only like to take the right care after sunbathing these oils are lovely to use. They are full of antioxidants and are going to repair and calm your skin.
- Tomato seed oil
- St. John’s Wort oil
- Sea buckthorn seed oil
- Mongongo oil
- Argan oil
- Raspberry seed oil
FOODS FOR UV PROTECTION
Did you know that you can protect your skin from UV radiation from the inside out too? Eating foods high in beta carotene (which transforms into vitamin A) are going to give you an SPF 3-4 and nurture every cell in your body at the same time. Coupled with appropriate skin care, proper nutrition CAN help you maintain a healthy glow throughout the summer.
In short: eat your rainbow! Focus on orange, red and green colored veggies and fruit (For example; carrots, sweet potatoes, kale & spinach).
GLOWINFACE FOODIE FAVES
Carrots – contain a high amount of beta carotene and other vitamins. Put your carrots in your salads or make carrot juice. You will increase vitamin absorption if you combine it with healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil.
Tomatoes – rich with the antioxidant lycopene. Make yourself a tomato soup, put fresh tomatoes in your salad, or pour tomato sauce on your gluten-free “pea pasta.”
Watermelon & Melon – Besides being super tasty and hydrating watermelons and melons actually contain far more lycopene than tomatoes.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach – high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which have also been found to protect against wrinkling, sun damage, and even skin cancer
Cauliflower – contains histidine. This alpha-amino acid stimulates the production of urocanic acid, which absorbs UV radiation.
Green tea – reduces skin damage caused by UVA light and slows down the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is our body’s most abundant protein. It gives skin its integrity and firmness. You can make your Green ice tea by putting a few eye cubes + a few drops of lemon juice.
***Make sure the veggies & fruits you get are organic***
FACE YOGA IN SUMMER
Face Yoga does not only works on facial muscles but also has a positive effect on your skin! Facial exercises are improving blood circulation in the deepest skin layers and boosting collagen and elastin production, which make our skin firm, toned and youthful. Our collagen and elastin production naturally decreases with age, but everything happens even faster if we are overexposed to the sun. This process is called photo-aging.
By implementing facial exercises in your daily skincare and beauty routine, you’ll be able to slow down the aging process and smooth out any existing wrinkles.
If your face is PUFFY or SWOLLEN during the summer, we’ve got good news. Face yoga can help!
Swelling and puffiness in hot weather are incredibly common. We call it ‘heat edema’ and it’s caused by a build-up of fluid in the body. In short, blood vessels near the surface of our skin automatically widen as temperatures rise, as a way of keeping our body cool.
The increased blood flow can cause clear fluid from our lymph system to leak into the surrounding tissues, causing the swelling.
It’s not just the face; your feet, legs, and hands can swell too. On the face, you can also notice bags under the eyes.
Based on Chinese medicine water retention is caused by imbalanced heart & kidney energy. The face often becomes pale and puffy with fine lines or (if the energy is too strong) it can get red, flushed, irritated and prone to broken capillaries. In addition to that, sweating, excessive thirst, and insomnia are other indicators of disbalance in heart energy.
Face Exercises balance the heart & kidney energy by opening the meridians and improving energy flow to the organs. At the same time, the exercises improve lymph circulation and are crucial for depuffing the whole face.
In other words, if you want to get rid of the puffy look, practice these face yoga exercises from our online face workout program:
- Cat eyes
- Forehead lift
- Goodbye eye circles
- Chinese eyes
- Total Face Lift
Acupressure is a technique originating from Chinese medicine. Stimulating acupressure points on the face and body helps to balance the function of the organs and improves overall well-being. Above all, the following acupressure points will help you balance your kidney energy and reduce the so-called eye bags + dark circles.
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) Place your three fingers on the bone under the eyes:
- Your ring fingers are placed directly under the inner corners of your eyes
- Your middle fingers are placed vertically under the pupil (still on the bone)
- Place your pointer fingers on the bone under your outer corners of the eyes
2.) Make sure your fingers are placed on the right spot (be careful not to hurt your eyes).
3.) With inhalation lightly press into the points and start breathing deeply.
4.) Hold it for 60 seconds.
This massage releases the tension in all facial muscles and in that way increases lymph and blood flow. For instance, to reduce puffiness, make sure you spend more time tapping on the jaw area and on the area under the eyes.
HOW TO DO IT:
1.) Breathe deeply through the exercise.
2.) After that, place your fingertips on the bone under the eye area and start tapping. Make quick and gentle movements with your fingers.
3.) Make 10 taps under the eyes and then slowly move to the temples.
4.) Continue to tap down to the jaw area at make from 20 – 30 taps (most tension blocking your lymph is hidden in the jaw).
5.) Finally, tap down to the sides of the face, to the sides of the neck and down to the collar bone. This will “flush” all the liquid out of your face and reduce puffiness