Summer skin tips and tricks
This month I want to talk about the importance of caring for your skin, especially with summer sun exposure. It is the body’s largest organ and is a very important organ of elimination for the body. The skin expels toxins via sweat, balances electrolytes (water follows sodium) and is our external barrier to protect our internal organs. The skin is also the last route of elimination for the body if the internal organ systems aren’t working correctly. So if you are someone that is experiencing acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema or dryness then there is work to do to support the gastro intestinal tract for proper elimination and the liver for proper toxin conversion.
Here are some guidelines to optimally care for your skin:
1. Be careful what you put on your skin!
Everything that you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream in less than 30 seconds! There are so many hidden chemicals in our face and body products so be sure you are using trusted all natural products in order to protect the inside of the body. The main chemicals in non-natural brands act as hormone disruptors, organ toxins and carcinogens – so read the labels! Here are the main chemicals to watch out for:
- Phalates in fragrances
- The “amine” family of chemicals in foaming agents
- Parabens in body and haircare products
- Triclosan in antibacterial products
- Benzones in sunscreens
2. Be careful of hidden toxin exposure.
Many of us don’t think of the extra toxins that are in our daily routines that actually touch and affect our skin. Again, use natural products if you can! These are the most common products that contain harmful chemicals that affect your skin and also the internal body:
- Dry cleaning
- Hair products and dyes
3. Check your skin weekly!
This means being conscious of spots, moles and dark areas. The acronym on how to track skin spots is ‘ABCDE’:
- looking for asymmetry of the spot/mole
- looking for borders – are they uneven?
- looking for colour – is it dark, is it purple, is it spotted?
- looking for a diameter larger than 3mm
- evolution – has the spot or mark changed?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you need to get the spot checked by a professional.
4. Wear your sunscreen! This means about a quarter size amount for each separate part of your body (eg: per one arm). Again I would advise using all natural brands to decrease your toxicity and carcinogen exposure. Here are my favourite all-natural brands:
- Salt & Stone: they have an excellent array of sunscreen options that vary from SPF 30 to SPF 50. They also have different versions for face and body
- Consonant Skin+Care: they have a tinted SPF 30 which is great for face
- Birch Babe: good all day SPF 30 that is zinc based so it’s good for kids that don’t care about that white glow.
Keep an eye on your skin this summer and be sure to treat it as best you can. Be safe and enjoy the sun!
Kate Hunter is a naturopathic doctor and owner of The Creemore Apothecary.