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When most of us think about summer skin care, we probably only focus on our face. But the skin is your body’s largest organ!

It protects your internal organs and acts as a shield to keep out germs, UV rays, pollutants and other toxins. It helps regulate body temperature, and releases accumulated waste materials through sweat glands and pores. It also absorbs water, oxygen and vitamins in order to provide moisture and nourishment.

So what’s the best way to take care of your skin during the summer? Skin is comprised of 70% water, but unfortunately it can’t produce this moisture itself. It needs two ingredients to function properly: water and oil.

If skin doesn’t have enough moisture it will be dehydrated. Dehydration is caused by the environment, not drinking enough water, and sun damage. Skin that lacks moisture is dull, flakey and has an unhealthy appearance.

The skin does produce oil naturally, and needs it for strength, elasticity, and to function properly. Oil creates a barrier that holds moisture in. When skin lacks oil it becomes more sensitive, and results in a loss of moisture. 

Surprisingly, the best summer skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated or involve a bunch of expensive products. Here’s what your routine should look like for the softest, smoothest skin all year long:

1. DRINK WATER

Almost all of us have dehydrated skin caused by environmental conditions and not drinking enough water. There are plenty of good reasons to drink more water in general, but especially during the hot summer months. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine recommends 131 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women per day.

2. EXFOLIATE

Exfoliate every time you take a shower to remove dead skin cells that prevent skin from absorbing moisture. Dry brushing before showering stimulates circulation and moves lymphatic fluid. Other ways to exfoliate include loofahs, textured cloths and granular scrubs. All methods are effective so it really comes down to personal preference as to which one you choose.

3a. MOISTURIZE

While skin is still damp, apply a moisturizer to your entire body. You may need a thicker cream for hands, feet, elbows or knees. (Even if you don’t shower every day it is still advisable to apply a lotion or moisturizer.)

3b. APPLY OIL

If your skin is lacking oil, apply a little coconut oil (or oil of your choice) over the moisturizer. This works to hold the moisture in and prevent evaporation.

4. APPLY SUNSCREEN

Sunscreen is the one of the best anti-aging products! Always wear SPF when outdoors. I recommend sunscreens that use minerals like zinc and/or titanium dioxide in lieu of chemical sunscreens. Here are some of the best mineral sunscreens available right now.

5. AFTER SUN CARE

After sun exposure, be sure to apply extra moisturizer to extend the life of your tan and keep your skin soft and glowing. If you do overdo it and end up with a burn, aloe can help calm the sting and cool the skin. In a few days resume exfoliation to remove flaky peeling skin. (Never pick at the peeling skin, let it come off with gentle exfoliating pressure.)

6. BE CONSISTENT

The key to success with good skincare is really consistency. Exfoliating and moisturizing once a month isn’t going to do you any good in the long run. Make time in your daily routine all year long for these skincare steps and for healthy, supple skin.

Taking good care of your skin ensures that it will take care of you. As an added bonus it will look and feel better as well!

Author: Linda Hoff, Owner, Sugar Spa STL

Like this blog? Read Two DIY Recipes for Self-Care At Home next for a sugar scrub and bath salt recipe you can make at home.