With summer sunshine comes plenty of opportunities to hang in the backyard for fun with family and friends. Joyous moments in a sparkly clean pool make swim season special, but exposure to sun and chlorine can wreak havoc on your skin. Nothing brings a perfectly great pool day to an end worse than burned, dry skin. Soak up the good times safely with these tips for protecting your skin when it’s swim time:
Eat Your Sunscreen
We all know that covering in sunscreen and light, loose clothing protects skin on sunny day. While we suggest you keep up with those practices, there’s another way to easily prepare your skin for a poolside day: eat superfoods that help your body produce natural skin protectants. ‘Consume your sunscreen’ with these vitamin and nutrient rich foods:
Blueberries are rich in powerful antioxidants and vitamin C that help fight off skin damage and prevent wrinkles.
Tomatoes, and even more so, watermelon, contain lycopene, which absorbs both UVA and UVB radiation.
Nuts, seeds, fish, and eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, which bodies do not make on their own. This skin-loving fat helps maintain skin’s integrity. Consuming salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds helps bodies naturally recover from the effects of spending a day in the sun.
Carrots get their lovely orange color from beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, a vital skin nutrient.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach are high in lutein and zeaxanthin which have both been found to protect skin against wrinkling, sun damage and even skin cancer.
Cauliflower contains potent antioxidants and histidine, an alpha-amino acid that stimulates production of urocanic acid, which absorbs UV radiation.
Embrace Your Skin’s Natural Oils
When it’s hot and sweaty outside, people have a tendency to wash more. This summer, consider allowing your skin to build up its natural oils rather than stripping away and covering them. When it’s time to wash, try thoroughly rinsing with water instead of abrasive soaps and exfoliators. There’s a balance here, especially if you’re prone to breakouts, so do what works for you. As odd as it might sound, dirt and bacteria can actually help your skin glow! Sebum is the oil that skin produces and it contains vitamin E, which acts as a natural sunscreen and antioxidant. Vitamin E is also anti-inflammatory, so you may find your skin is more able to weather the elements. Vitamin E molecules can absorb some UV rays, but not all, so consider this method ‘a boost’ while continuing other sun care regimes.
If you MUST wash your face with a product, try a sqaulane cleanser. Squalane mimics sebum, and moisturizes your skin in the same way that your body does naturally, without leaving it feeling oily. Squalane acts as a barrier that hydrates at a cellular level. It’s like washing your face with the very oil that it produces, but leaves you with that sought after ‘fresh faced’ feeling.
Before & After Swim Time Plan
Chlorine is a natural irritant that opens up pores and removes your hair and skin’s natural oils, sometimes causing itchiness. These no-brainer, non-toxic solutions will protect your skin from chlorine:
Stay hydrated. Use this hydration calculator to determine how much you should personally be drinking each day to keep your body’s water content adequate for healthy skin. Snacking on fruits and veggies can help in this area, too.
Get wet before you swim. This sounds counterintuitive, but wetting the skin before taking a dive helps reduce the amount of chlorine that your skin is able to absorb.
After you wet your skin, apply a thin layer of oil to further reduce the amount of chlorine that your skin can absorb. This adds an extra barrier of protection.
Rinse off right after a swim to remove skin-drying chlorine.
When done rinsing off, treat your skin with a vitamin C solution to neutralize any lingering chlorine.
Don’t sacrifice your healthy skin this swim season! In addition to wearing sunscreen, eating healthy, embracing your natural oils, and staying weary of chlorine on your skin will allow you to enjoy days by a clean pool all summer long without worrying about skin damage or irritation.