Beauty in the Sun

Dr. Amy Rolfsen


It’s that time of year again: long days full of sun, sand, salt and bonfires! We wait all year long for summer fun…but it can wreak havoc on our skin and hair. Here are just a few tips to try this summer to keep your skin and hair healthy.

Wear Sunglasses
squinting in bright sunlight will cause overworking of your facial muscles and crinkling of the skin. Over time, these can turn into permanent lines

Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the best tools to help protect your skin from the damaging and aging effects of the sun. With all the additives in skincare products t is important to choose a sunscreen without added chemicals. Here is the Environmental Working Group’s guide to safe sunscreens: My family has tried quite a few of the natural sunscreens out there and we’ve been happiest with the Goddess Garden line.

Stay hydrated
Summer heat can really dehydrate your body, including your skin. Glycosaminoglycans are water bound polysaccharides that fill in the space between collagen and elastin in your skin, giving you a youthful appearance . Sip roughly 1L per 50 lbs of body weight. Be sure to add on extra for any alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.

Eat lots and lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
one more reason to eat your veggies! when our skin gets exposed to sunlight, free radicals are formed, which can damage the skin. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are very effective at neutralizing these free radicsls

Stay moisturized
Summertime wouldn’t be complete without some trips to the beach! But the sun, sand and salt can be very drying on your skin (and hair). Be sure to choose a moisturizer that is free from chemicals such as parabens and pthalates. I alternate between almond oil and an unscented, herbal-based lotion that I get at the Soap Dispensary on Main Street in Vancouver.

Make sure to shower off any gunk
Sunscreen, bug spray, sand, chlorine, salt and smoke can clog your pores and leave your skin and hair looking dull. Take a quick warm shower as soon as you get home from being outside. Hot water will be drying on your skin, while cold water may not be effective at removing sunscreen. Some of the thicker natural sunscreens have a beeswax base. You may need to use an oil such as olive, almond or coconut to help remove them before showering. Make sure to moisturize directly after your shower (see above)

Removing dead skin cells will reveal smoother, brighter skin. I like to keep an agave wash cloth in the shower to use every second day. Bonus: for improved lymph drainage, try exfoliating from the tips of your fingers and toes and work your way towards your heart in small circular motions. This will help you flush toxins out of your tissues more effectively

Moisturize your hair, too
Although you should be rinsing any residue out of your hair, try to refrain from shampooing every day. Washing every 3 days is plenty for most people. Shampooing can strip the natural oils from your hair, leaving it dry and more susceptible to damage from the elements.

I like to use a homemade hair mask once a week to infuse extra moisture into my hair. Here is how I do it:
•  1 egg
•  1 tbsp olive oil
•  1 tbsp coconut oil
•  1 tbsp honey
Whisk together and massage into dry hair. Cover and leave on for 30-60 minutes.
Rinse off in cool or warm water. If you use hot water, you run the risk of making scrambled eggs in your hair. I don’t suggest you try it out.

After washing your hair, use a natural hair oil. Look for one that has heat protectant qualities. I use one called Loma that works well for me.

Prevent ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs are unsightly and can be quite painful. If you’ve gone to the effort to remove body hair, it is always worth the effort to keep the area looking smooth and soft. Make sure to exfoliate daily over any area where you are prone to ingrown hairs. If you frequently experience ingrown hairs, you can try this homemade recipe for ingrown hair mask.
•  3 regular strength aspirin tablets
•  1/2 tsp coconut oil
•  1 tsp honey
Apply to affected area 2-3 x each week. Leave on 15-30 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly.

If exfoliation and the mask aren’t enough, there is one more option. I can write a prescription very effective cream that we can have compounded at the pharmacy.