In summer, the skin takes a lot more damage than we think, and a lot quicker too, with effects that are often visible only years later! We asked Julia, an Aurovilian and trained beautician, to give us the best tips for getting our skin through South Indian summers.
During summer here in India, with its scorching sun, sunscreen is a must: without it, sun exposure can result in many unpleasant side-effects, such as deep skin damage, wrinkle increase and skin pigmentation disorders, along with the classical sunburn. This damage is hard to repair once done, so protection should always be a priority, even more so for pregnant women who are prone to skin pigmentation disorders due to high levels of hormones.
Sunscreen (SPF 50) is a must, but there the questions begin: Which SPF? What does that mean? What else to use? And can the sun actually be good for us?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which refers to the amount a person can stay in the sun without getting burned. For example SPF 25 could allow you to stay in the sun 25 times longer than you would without protection. For the face, one needs a stronger SPF, because the skin on our visage is more delicate and of course more exposed during the day.
Unfortunately, it is very hard to find a sunscreen that is strong enough for the face while staying light and non-oily. Increasingly, scientists are concerned about the effects of chemical sun blocks on our skin, as they may actually contain ingredients that increase the risk of skin cancer. And that does not even take into consideration the effect all these chemicals are having on the life in our oceans! The USA health authority is no longer recommending chemical sunscreens, and we are happy to follow this trend: We recommend using a natural zinc oxide sunscreen. Because it physically blocks the sun by creating a thin layer of reflective matter on the skin, you might look a little bit pale – but it seems a small price to pay for the health of our skin and oceans!
In addition to a good sunblock, face scrubs are also useful during summer! Use a scrub to help the skin get rid of the dead skin cells and oils that keep it from breathing and lead to overheating. However, it is important to keep in mind that the skin’s natural peeling rhythm takes about a month, so scrubs should not be used more than once in that length of time. The scrubbing should only serve to help the skin complete the natural process, and using it excessively will result, in time, in a thickening of your skin and blocked pores. So let’s not be counterproductive!
To help you achieve that healthy skin with simple household ingredients, we recommend this easy Home Scrub recipe. Use the essential oils based on your skin type:
- 1.3 cups of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, cold-pressed
- 5 to 10 drops of frankincense essential oil (for aged, mature skin)
- 5 drops of tea-tree essential oil (for oily/very oily skin)
- 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil (for sensitive skin)
Mix all the ingredients and, if needed, add some more coconut oil. Gently massage your face with the scrub before washing it off with clear water. Make sure to moisturize your skin after the scrub with a cream, serum or light face oil.
Skin moisture in summer is a priority, so make sure to drink lots of water, use a moisturizer serum in the morning (before the sunscreen) and a cream at night. Treat yourself to a weekly hydrating mask to further help your skin to balance and harmonize.
Beauty comes from inside, so if you want a glowing complexion, make sure to drink lots of water and maintain a healthy diet that include sufficient doses of Vitamin C. It also helps to avoid alcohol during heavy heat for an improved skin health.
And last but not least, do not hesitate to pamper your skin all year round with morning and evening gentle face washes!
Have a great summer!