Although you may not think of your skin as having the same importance as your brain or your heart, it’s still the largest organ in your body, and it plays a huge role not only in how you look, but also in numerous important health functions, such as:

  • Acting as a barrier to protect you from the sun, injury, and many harmful things in the environment
  • Playing a role in the immune system by resisting allergens, environmental toxins, bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Making the essential nutrient vitamin D – which your body manufactures when cholesterol in your skin is activated by the sun’s radiation
  • Providing sensory input from the outside world through your senses of touch, pain, and temperature
  • Regulating temperature by opening and closing pores and dilating or constricting small blood vessels
  • Supporting detoxification by eliminating some toxins through sweat

Because your skin is the primary barrier to the outside world, weather and climate have a big impact on its health. Summer’s added exposure to the sun poses different challenges to the colder and dryer conditions of winter. Here are some tips for supporting the health of your skin in the summertime. 

1. Drink water

It is so important to keep your body hydrated when the temperature goes up, and skin hydration is no exception. Although skin can feel oilier in the summer because heat softens the oils in your skin, and increased circulation in warmer weather increases production of sebum, don’t let this fool you.

Your skin is 30% water – so if your body is dehydrated, then so is your skin.1

Skin moisturizers are a great way to help prevent moisture loss, but they are not a replacement for hydration. If you engage in activities that cause you to sweat, then you should consider replacing lost electrolytes with a product like Thorne’s Catalyte®.

2. Rinse off

A dip in the ocean or a pool is always refreshing and provides great exercise. But the ocean can leave skin coated with salts that can be harsh when allowed to sit too long, and swimming pools leave a coating of chlorine, bromine, or other anti-bacterial chemicals. So, enjoy your dip, but rinse off in fresh, clean water after a swim.

Use sun protection

Sun is important for your health because it boosts mood, helps manufacture vitamin D, boosts immunity, and benefits skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. But the sun’s radiation can also lead to inflammation and skin damage – which if it happens too often can lead to skin cancer. So, enjoy the sun, but be smart about it.

Good strategies include limiting the total amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using a good quality sunscreen.

And remember that sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly to be effective, so make sure you read the instructions for the one you buy and use it correctly. See our tips for safe and effective uses of sunscreen.

3. Supplement with a good quality fish oil

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are important for the appearance and the function of the skin. They can reduce signs of aging and dryness, promote the skin’s immune function, protect the structure of the skin, and support the natural defensive functions of skin against the sun and other environmental challenges.2

If you aren’t already taking a fish oil supplement to support the health of your heart, brain, and eyes, then skin health is one more reason to add it to your list. 

Confused about what you need in a fish oil product? Check out this quiz to help you choose.

4. Take an antioxidant supplement

Antioxidants play an important role in skin health and are critical to how the skin defends itself (protects you) against the sun’s rays and other elements of the environment. The skin uses vitamin C to protect the aqueous (water) phase of the cells, vitamin E to protect the lipid (fatty) layer, and glutathione throughout.

The more exposure you have to the sun and the environment, the more of these critical nutrients are used up by the skin.

Replenishing these nutrients becomes more important as you spend extra time outdoors. Plant-based antioxidants, like those found in green tea, can also boost the antioxidant capacity of skin, lending a hand to E, C, and glutathione.3,4 

Even though summer poses challenges for skin health, don’t miss out on all the good things the sun has to offer. Protecting your skin inside and out will let you enjoy your favorite summertime activities while keeping your skin happy and healthy.


References

1. Popkin B, D'Anci K, Rosenberg I. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev 2010;68(8):439-458. 

2. Rhodes L, Durham B, Fraser W, et al. Dietary fish oil reduces basal and ultraviolet B-generated PGE2 levels in skin and increases the threshold to provocation of polymorphic light eruption. J Invest Dermatol 1995;105(4):532-535.

3. Oresajo C, Pillai S, Manco M, et al. Antioxidants and the skin: understanding formulation and efficacy. Dermatol Ther 2012;25(3):252-259.

4. Katiyar S, Elmets C. Green tea polyphenolic antioxidants and skin photoprotection. Int J Oncol 2001;18(6):1307-1313.