How to Protect Your Skin this Summer
Table of contents
The heatwave that has set across the UK and Europe this summer has impacted us all in lots of ways. You might have noticed a negative impact on your skin too: heat can lead to dry, red, or prickly skin, heat rashes, and of course, sunburn. Heat also promotes the secretion of oil on the skin, which can be exacerbated by sweating, resulting in clogged pores, breakouts or skin conditions¹. At the same time, summer is a time when we want to get out and socialise, usually bearing more flesh than usual, so we want our skin to look its best. For all these reasons, it’s a good idea to take extra care of our skin during summer and adjust our skincare regime to take account of the season.
1. Stay Hydrated
It’s easy to get dehydrated in the heat, which dries out the skin. It’s tempting to find refreshment in a cold beer, fizzy drinks, or an iced coffee, but caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks actually dehydrate us more. Instead, stay hydrated with plenty of water. Invest in an insulated water bottle and keep this with you for cold water throughout the day. Sparkling water, diluted fresh fruit juice, or cold-infused fruit or herbal teas are good alternatives too.
If you find it difficult to keep off caffeine completely, then try opting for green tea, which has less caffeine than regular tea or coffee. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has been found to have numerous benefits to our health². Its high antioxidant content helps to protect the skin from oxidative damage from UV light³. It has also been found to support the skin by reducing oiliness and buildup of impurities⁴,⁵.
2. Choose Fresh Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables and fruit are water-based, providing further hydration, and are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals, all of which support the skin⁶. Fruits and vegetables of all sorts are a great source of vitamin C. This important antioxidant is found in abundance in the skin where it plays a role in the formation of collagen⁷: one of the main building blocks of skin, essential for supporting elasticity, plumpness and hydration⁸. Vitamin C also provides antioxidant protection from UV-induced damage⁷, and from signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles⁹. Raw vegetables and fruits contain higher amounts of vitamin C than cooked, so make the most of summer by loading up on delicious, colourful and crunchy, raw salads. You could also try a fruit salad with breakfast or in place of dessert.
Orange-coloured vegetables and fruits like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and mangoes contain beta-carotene: a form of vitamin A which is another important antioxidant and nutrient supportive of skin health. It has been found to slow the ageing process by protecting collagen, strengthening the skin, and reducing wrinkles¹⁰. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in red-coloured vegetables and fruits like tomatoes. You may have heard of it in relation to prostate health, but its antioxidant effects protect the skin too, and has been found to protect against sunburn¹¹. Its availability can be increased through cooking.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and kale should be included in a healthy diet daily. They are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals including vitamins A and C, folate, and vitamins B2, B3 and B5. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps to regulate collagen levels, improving skin elasticity and moisture¹². B3 (niacin) has antioxidant properties¹³ and can therefore support skin health. And B5 (pantothenic acid) is thought to support the skin’s natural hydration and help to soften the skin¹⁴.
The bottom line when it comes to vegetables and fruit is, to get in as many as you can, and keep it varied with a mix of different colours and mix up cooked and raw. Pack in some extra portions while hydrating with freshly squeezed juices or smoothies. And another great tip: wash your veggies and fruit rather than peeling them; their skins contain silica which helps to strengthen skin⁶.
3. Choose Good Quality Protein
Protein helps build healthy skin by supporting cell turnover and tissue building. It plays a role in liver detoxification and therefore helps the body to get rid of toxins which cause harm to the skin. Protein is made up of amino acids including lysine, which promotes collagen production¹⁵. Include a palm-sized protein source with every meal. Good protein sources include lean meat, fish, boiled eggs, chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, hummus, nuts, and seeds. Fish and eggs are also a source of vitamin A and B vitamins which are supportive of skin health.
4. Get More Omega 3
Harmful saturated fats from sweet treats, meat and cheese have a negative effect on our health. Instead, include plenty of good fats from nuts and seeds, cold-pressed oils, avocados, and oily fish like mackerel, salmon or sardines. Healthy fatty acids nourish and support the skin⁶.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, important to include in the diet. It reduces inflammation in the body which can help with skin conditions¹⁶. Studies have also found it can protect the skin from UV damage¹⁷. If you eat fish, you can meet your omega 3 requirements by including 3 portions of oily fish a week. However, with increasing concerns over toxins and heavy metals found in fish, a great option is to take a supplement. Feel’s Omega 3 is a high-potency vegan source made from algae: the most direct source of omega 3 and where fish get theirs from.
5. Include Skin Supportive Supplements in Your Daily Routine
There are times when, even though we are doing everything we can through diet and lifestyle, we still need a helping hand, and that’s where supplements can come in. Feel has a range of supplements that can support the skin’s health, from the inside out.
Pro Collagen: Although many nutrients support the production of collagen, our collagen production naturally declines from age 25 onwards so a boost may be helpful to keep your skin looking youthful.
Feel’s Pro Collagen is the only true vegan collagen product on the market. It goes a step further than animal and marine-derived collagen products since they have fundamentally different structures to human collagen, while Feel’s is made from an amino acid profile that perfectly replicates human collagen. It’s also more sustainable and carries less risk of contamination from pesticides, heavy metals and toxins, when compared to non-vegan equivalents.
Beauty Probiotic+: Contains 3 different strains of lactobacillus bacteria to support the skin through a healthy gut. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid: A key molecule in supporting skin moisture¹⁸ that our bodies produce naturally but declines with age.
Skin Care: A great all-round supplement for supporting skin health. Contains beneficial vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, zinc, and pantothenic acid, along with lysine and beneficial herb.
⁶ Haas, E.M., Staying Healthy with Nutrition (2006), chapter 16, pp 604-607.