Summer\’s warmth has finally coaxed us out of hiding—bringing along a few uninvited seasonal skin and hair snafus. Don\’t let unsightly or uncomfortable issues keep you from your favourite activities. These quick, natural solutions help tackle summer\’s most pesky problems, putting you back at the pool in no time.
Ah, summer! This is the time when we can be lighthearted and carefree. But not when it comes to our skin. Between UV rays, humidity, and salt water, we do a lot of damage to our complexions and hair. Thankfully, no matter what the summer beauty problem, there are always simple, all-natural solutions.
Yes, green hair. Caused by chemicals and minerals in the water of swimming pools, hair with a greenish tinge can be an incredibly annoying issue that more often affects blonds.
Prevent the problem by protecting your hair before swimming in chemically treated pools: wet and condition your hair before swimming, and then wear a tightly fitting swim cap. After swimming, use a specialized natural shampoo for swimmers and a deep conditioner.
To treat already-green hair, shampoo with a natural clarifying shampoo that helps remove mineral deposits.
Whether or not your hair goes green from pools, it can become very dry and frizzy in the summer due to the harsh sun and salt water.
Remedy the situation by nourishing your hair with a natural leave-in conditioner or hair mask that features ingredients such as vitamins and soothing plant oils. Care for your hair and prevent damage by limiting colouring or heat styling whenever possible.
An oily complexion
Shininess is annoying, but it can also be solved quite easily. If you haven’t already done so, switch up your heavy cold-weather moisturizer for a lighter lotion. Then make blotting tissues your best friend; these small but powerful papers absorb perspiration and excess oil. Just make sure to dab, not rub, to avoid smearing your makeup.
A streaky sunless tan
Streakiness is a result of not applying sunless tanners properly. Here’s how to do it the right way.
- Exfoliate beforehand to remove dead skin cells and to ensure the product can be applied to an even skin tone. Choose a sugar-, salt- or oatmeal-based scrub or one made with jojoba beads, but steer clear of the many conventional scrubs that contain environment-harming plastic beads.
- Use your natural scrub with a bath mitt, loofah, or facecloth, and pay special attention to elbows, knees, and toes, where skin is thick and can often look orange with sunless tanner.
- Dry your skin, and apply the tanner in sections, in a circular motion. Choose a natural sunless tanner to steer clear of many of the chemicals found in conventional cremes.
- Make sure to wash your hands as you go, or else you might end up with streaky orange palms! Blend well into the wrists and ankles for a natural look, and apply less in areas with thick skin, such as knees and elbows.
- Give the sunless tanner sufficient time to dry before showering or wearing tight clothing.
- After it’s dried, promote your sunless tan’s longevity by moisturizing regularly with a natural body lotion.
You can often also fix a botched, streaky sunless tan by exfoliating the problem area to reduce the colour and then redoing the section properly.
Many of us go to great lengths to remove unwanted body hair in the summertime, leading to occasional ingrown hairs.
To help prevent painful ingrown hairs caused by shaving:
- lubricate skin well before shaving
- avoid dull razors
- shave in the direction of hair
- apply cool compresses after shaving
To help dislodge ingrown hairs, scrub the problem areas in a circular motion, using mild soap and a damp cloth or a clean soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use a gentle exfoliant, such as salt or sugar, in the same way.
A mild sunburn
Didn’t follow proper sun smarts and now you’re feeling a bit red in the face (pardon the pun)? Here’s what to do.
- Stop sun exposure at once.
- Evaluate the damage. Be sure to seek medical attention if it’s anything other than mild, or if you have a fever, a headache, or chills.
- Use cooling techniques such as having a cool bath, and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Keep skin moisturized to keep as much water as possible in the skin. Consider a natural lotion or aloe vera gel, which is a traditional topical remedy for burns.
Glossy and dangerous?
Do you protect your lips from sunburn? If your lips’ only protective coating is a shiny lip gloss, you’re likely doing more harm than good. It turns out the shine actually attracts UV rays and increases light penetration.
Skin cancers on the lips can be much more aggressive than other skin cancers, meaning that we have to take extra care to protect them. Instead of a shiny gloss, choose a natural lip sunscreen or lip balm that contains an SPF. Wear it under any other lip products—including lipstick—for best protection.
Treating minor bug bites
For a serious bug bite or sting, or for an allergic reaction, seek out immediate medical attention. However, a mild bite or sting can be treated at home. Try these suggestions to soothe the pain or itch.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
- Consider a creme with oatmeal, or a paste of baking soda and water, to help relieve itchiness naturally.
- Try not to scratch or pick, as this will only increase irritation.
It seems like every year brings more choice in the sunscreen aisle. Do you know what to choose—and how to use it?
No sunscreen is perfect, and the safest option is to stay covered from the sun and practise proper sun smarts, such as hanging out in the shade.
The Environmental Working Group recommends mineral-based SPFs as the safest sunscreens. Rate your current brand at ewg.org/skindeep.
Skip the spray or powder formulations, as well as insect-repellent-and-sunscreen combos. Stick to a tried-and-true creme or lotion.
Don’t be fooled by high SPFs. They aren’t necessarily better and can tempt us to stay outside longer than we should without reapplying. It’s safer to choose an SPF that’s lower, and be sure to reapply as directed on the bottle.
Bought a sunscreen last year? Check out the expiration date, and if it’s passed, toss it. The same goes if there are any changes in smell, texture, or colour.