Two things you need to know about for summer prep: Skin + Exfoliation

As far as I’m concerned, it’s never too early to start thinking (and dreaming) about summer…. So, this month we are going to talk all about preparing for the summer months!

Up first, let’s talk about skin. Summer skin is much different than winter skin and the skin on our face is much different than the skin on our feet. One of the best ways to get all skin in summer shape is to exfoliate!

Exfoliation for skin is the holy grail of skincare.

However, too much of it is also bad. When exfoliation is done right, it makes the skin much smoother, cleaner, better, and younger. But if you use an exfoliator that’s a bit rough on the skin, or apply it too much or too often, or, even if you combine two or more exfoliating agents, then it’s very likely that is going to over-exfoliate your skin which can damage your skin’s lipid barrier. When this happens, our skin becomes rosy, puffy, or a bit swollen and can be easily inflamed. This inflammation can then escalate into an acne breakout. Using too much exfoliant also removes too much of the surface layer of the skin, taking away with it all the trapped moisture and your skin can become visibly dry and dehydrated.

The best way to exfoliate your face is to make small, circular motions using your fingers to apply a scrub according to your skin type. My absolute favorite scrub is the Satin Mint Facial Scrub! If you are using a brush, make short, light strokes. Exfoliate for about 30 seconds and then rinse your face with lukewarm water. Keep in mind that the water should not be too hot.

When exfoliating other parts of your body like elbows, knees, and feet it may take a more heavy-duty scrub but it’s still important to not get carried away and scrub your skin too vigorously either while you’re washing or as you dry off. When you’re exfoliating, let the product do its job, and don’t feel the need to take off a layer of healthy skin cells by pressing too hard. And after you’re done with your shower or bath, be sure to pat dry rather than rubbing the towel back and forth across your body with all your strength. Over-scrubbing can cause dry skin to peel off before it’s ready to be removed. The scrubbing should be done gently in the shower, and when it’s time to dry, show your skin a little tenderness. 

Check out a favorite DIY body scrub here:

Need to grab the oils above? Click Here to shop with me! Once you have that skin beautifully exfoliated, don't forget to moisturize! Check out this blog post to learn more about natural hydration for dry winter skin.

Why is hydration so important?

Sweet Summertime. The sun. oh how I have missed you. Pool or lake days, BBQs, getting outside! Summer is the season of being outdoors. It’s also the season of forgetting to hydrate, sunburns, and bugs. 

Hydration is key to many functions in the human body, and in the summer heat, it can be challenging to maintain hydration. One of the most significant roles that water plays in the body is regulating internal temperature. The body’s ability to stay cool in hot weather depends on proper hydration. But hydration isn’t maintained by water consumption alone. Who knew? Water is vital, but electrolytes are also required for hydration. The body cannot fully absorb the water you drink without electrolytes. In addition, electrolytes are necessary for nutrient absorption. You must have sufficient electrolytes to absorb the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. So it’s a big deal!

Electrolytes help regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. So what is the easiest way to introduce electrolytes to your body? Sea salt. Seriously! Sprinkle some pure non-iodized sea salt into your water. You will barely notice it is there.

Along with skipping iodized salt, skip the pink Himalayan salt. Another way I like to get my electrolytes in is by using the YL Vitality Drops. They are packed with electrolytes (sourced from the Great Salt Lake, which has over 70 naturally occurring ionic trace minerals!!) which are so needed for our bodies to function correctly.

Your body will thank you if you start adding sea salt or YL’s Vitality Drops to your water!

Sunscreen, SPF, and Bugs... OH MY!

Who doesn't love absorbing the warmth of the sun on these late spring days?? Sun exposure can be helpful, and we need twenty minutes per day with no sun protection on to get our vitamin D and happiness...and guess when the best time to absorb that Vitamin D is?? Yup - between 10 and 2...

The most common sunscreens contain chemical filters and those synthetic toxins that we have talked so much about. Remember, in the late 1970’s, the FDA grandfathered in the use of chemical ingredients in sunscreen but did not review their potential hazards. One chemical in particular, oxybenzone is in almost 65% of all non-mineral sunscreens, was the allergen of the year in 2014, is an endocrine disruptor, causes low testosterone in men and endometriosis in women, low birth weights and even showed up in 85% of breast milk samples…

A few other ingredients you may want to avoid in your sunscreen: avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These toxic endocrine disruptors also have a negative effect on your thyroid gland, normal metabolism, stress responses, reproductive systems, and hormones.

Mineral sunscreens, however, use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and the safety of these sunscreens has been well established.

The SPF or Sun Protection Factor was introduced in 1974 and is a measure of how well an agent blocks UVB rays (the kind that causes skin cancer). When not wearing sunscreen, your skin will naturally change color and incur a certain amount of damage in one hour. If you are wearing an SPF of 2 you will incur that same amount of damage in 2 hours that you would have incurred in one hour without any SPF. An SPF of 10 will get you 10 hours, SPF 30 will get you 30 hours, etc.

But, if you don't plan on spending more than 10 hours in the sun, you may not need the 30 hours of protection that an SPF 30 may offer. In fact, when is the last time you saw 30 hours of daylight?

Y L's s sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide based, formulated without toxins that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation that's great for all skin types, even sensitive skin. It's even water and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes.
So, what if you do spend a little too long in the sun?? Either of  the LavaDerm sprays are incredible. We used it on Delaney after she burned her thighs…we sprayed it on before she went to bed and were amazed at the difference in the morning!! 

We also love some good quality aloe vera juice and lavender and/or peppermint oil. We keep it right in the fridge after a burn and apply it whenever the pain returns. At first, we are applying it almost all the time…but after a bit, there is more time between applications and then, before we know it, the burn, pain and all, is gone. Not just for sunburns, either! This is our go to for any burn if we don't have a bottle of Mineral Essence in the fridge.

After a long, cold winter and the sometimes dreary penetrating cold of spring, we are all absolutely ready to get outside when the sun starts shining warm and bright, right?? But, sadly, what else wakes up at about the same time??  Yup – the bugs…the black flies, the mosquitoes, the ticks...

Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, the mosquito is the deadliest of all animals??
For centuries, scents of certain plants or smoke from fires have been used to naturally repel insects. Over the last 100 years or so, these were replaced with toxic chemicals. Are you surprised by that yet??
In the 1940’s, DDT was the first modern synthetic insecticide. There was a jingle to go along with it – DDT is good for me-e-e!!  Anything that has a jingle must be good for us, right? 😉

Then came DEET, other toxic chemicals and even chemical coated clothing.  We have talked many times about our skin being porous… DEET has been associated with seizures, numbness and behavioral changes, the potential to develop nasal cancers from inhalation, compromised immune systems, cardiovascular toxicity, respiratory distress, and severe allergic reactions. Children with DEET toxicity reported lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures, and convulsions, though the amount that led to this toxicity was unreported.

A 2005 study looked at 38 essential oils in regard to their potency in repelling mosquitos and found that citronella, clove, and patchouli were the most effective. The best protection in this study came from clove essential oil.
Citronella was tested against DEET in preventing mosquito bites. Both protected against the bites, but DEET worked longer than citronella, but, when vanillin (from vanilla extract) was added to the citronella, the complete mix was found to last at least 3 hours! Another study looked at the combination of lemongrass and citrus- like shrubs, tree oils and vanillin, and found this combination to be superior in complete protection time against mosquitoes compared to DEET.

Relief and skin support!

8 drops Lavender essential oil
8 drops Purification® essential oil
5 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca
Alternifolia) essential oil
Organic fractionated coconut oil or carrier oil of your choice

15 drops Lavender essential oil
15 drops Purification® essential oil
8 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca
Alternifolia) essential oil
Organic fractionated coconut oil or carrier oil of your choice

Drop essential oils into a 10ml roller bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with fractionated coconut oil.

If DIY's aren't your thing, YL has an incredible insect repellent with no DEET, or other harmful toxins, that repels mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, is appropriate for kiddos and if you have sensitive skin. We tried this out on a walk one day…Delaney and I put it on. Dana did not. Normally the bugs don’t bother him, so he wasn’t worried. It was pretty hysterical when just a little bit into our walk, he is swatting at the bugs that had congregated around him, while Delaney and I are walking along, bug free…he tried to out run them, he swatted at them with his hat, he spun around…nothing worked. That was proof enough for me! LOL We put ours in a roller bottle or a spray bottle for easiest application. It may seem pricey at first but one bottle has lasted our family for 3 years now!