Welcome to the first week of July friends! Have you made it out to the beach or park yet to relax and catch some rays? After a pretty miserable winter and gray spring, our bodies our eager to soak in all the Vitamin D we have lost over the months. I personally prematurely did this in March, when I took a weeklong trip to Belize solo. I was so excited to get in the sun that I forgot a few things along the way, and ended up sunburned a la Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. I peeled terribly for weeks, and since I have learned my lesson, I want to give you some tips on how to stay hydrated and protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun!
1. Drink Water!
Essential Alkaline Water
At any point in your life, your Mom, your doctor, your friend, or basically anyone you have probably come into contact with has probably mentioned that you should drink water, or drink more water. Water seems to be having a moment right now as at any point on social media, you can come across a post that reads “I drink more water, and mind my business”. That is a slightly snarky variation, but rightfully so. When we are hot, or are in direct sunlight, our body’s natural reaction is to sweat to cool down. When you are in sustained sunlight, you sweat more, losing more water. To keep balanced, it is so necessary to stay hydrated by drinking your H2O. Dehydration can catch up quick, in the form of headaches, lethargy, or dizziness. I generally have a 32 oz bottle of water wherever I go, like this Eddie Bauer Freezer bottle I may have permanently borrowed from my Mom. If I forgot my bottle, I usually prefer to drink an alkaline water like Essentia or 1907 in the liter size.
EIR NYC Surf Mud SPF 30
Let us start by letting it be known that the sun’s rays can wreak havoc on individuals of all complexions. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays, and are the primary cause of skin wrinkling, and in more extreme cases, skin cancers. UVB rays are shorter, and cause skin reddening and sunburn, and tend to damage the skin’s superficial layers. With so many sun protection products on the market, it can be very difficult to discern which products are actually useful. As I have been on a bit of a health kick lately, I personally have been fixated on all-natural hair and body products, with sunscreen being high on the list. When looking for your next sunscreen, be sure to look out for zinc oxide on the ingredient list. The white powder compound blocks UVA & UVB rays of ultraviolet light.
My personal favorites are from EIR NYC (hi Jun!). The line is all-natural and designed with athletes in mind. I use the Surf Mud (SPF 30) on my face and the Surf Mud Body Oil (SPF 15) all over my body. Both have cocoa powder and coconut oil as a base, so you will also smell delicious as you keep your skin protected!
3. Coconut, in all forms
Grace 100% Pure Coconut Water
It is no secret that I love all things tropical, mainly coconut. I love coconut so much that I changed my Twitter headline name to “Andrea Shea Coco” to prove my adoration for the stone fruit of nearly unlimited uses. So where does it come in, in regards to hydration? Coconut water, in recent years in the US, has gotten a huge marketing push for its claims as a super hydrator gearing towards the fitness community as an after-workout beverage or as a hangover-cure for the party patrol.
I personally have read a few articles on this (read here) and have tested it out in real life. Studies say coconut water has the same effectiveness of plain water or sports drinks, but its key differential factor is the high amount of potassium per serving and sugar content, which can put a bit of pep in your step after feeling drained. The verdict? Drink up if you like the taste, and if you want to imagine being on a beach in paradise. My personal favorites are Grace’s 100% Coconut Water, and Harmless Harvest, when I’m feeling fancy.
Carrington Farms Coconut Oil
My other favorite use of coconut is coconut oil. From using it to fry up some breakfast, or to lather all over my body for moisturizer and glowing purposes, an extra virgin variety is a staple in my everyday routine. Dr. Oz has 99 uses for it on his site, but in regards to the sun, I use it to soothe a sunburn, to hydrate sun-damaged (or saltwater or chlorine damaged) hair, and to moisturize my skin between sun exposure. When purchasing coconut oil for use on the body, I prefer food-grade brands which are cold-pressed and extra virgin. I am currently using a variety that is only sold Belize (of course), but Carrington Farms has a great variety that is organic, extra-virgin, and cold-pressed.
Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Energizing Hand & Body Scrub
In order to maintain a youthful glow on your epidermis, in addition to everything mentioned above, you must exfoliate. Exfoliating the skin on the face and body helps removes dead skin cells, revealing a brighter more radiant complexion. When done at least once a weak, more given the season or wear on your skin, exfoliating helps keep skin super smooth and bright, helping increase blood flow by the motion/texture of your exfoliator.
I personally use Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Energizing Hand & Body Scrub at least once a week, sometimes twice in the summer when my feet tend to get a little dry. There are also tons of recipes to make your own salt or sugar scrub at home that you can find via a quick Google search. Opt for versions that include coconut oil and a light blend of essential oils to give you an in-home spa experience.
I hope all my tips are helpful in your journey of protecting your self from the sun and maintaining your glow this summer. As always, having a nutritious diet, exercising, and maintaining a proper sleep schedule will boost your skin results. I am no doctor, but as they say, beauty begins on the inside. Stay hydrated folks!
*Header photo by Andrea K. Castillo, all others from company websites