Depending on where you're living, you may well be wondering if we are actually going to have a summer this year. Wherever you are, though, the chances are that the sun will suddenly appear and take you by surprise. And if you aren't prepared for it, your skin will suffer.
The skin is largely composed of water and has its own natural mechanisms to maintain correct hydration levels and protect against external elements.
The hydro-lipid layer – a protective film consisting of water and lipids (natural oils and fats) – slows the evaporation of moisture, protects from external aggressions and keeps the skin's pH within the correct limits, minimising the risk of infections.
The problem is, though, that it's very easy for skin moisture levels to drop. Climatic conditions – heat, dryness, pollution, air conditioning – and lifestyle and eating habits such as alcohol, tobacco and poor nutrition can all have detrimental effects on our skin's natural defences.
And in summer it's particularly important to take care of our skin, as sunshine, high temperatures and increased perspiration are all adding to the risks. Take note of these ten rules to keep your skin looking beautiful all summer long:
- Drink two to two and a half litres of fluid daily. Fluid loss increases with temperature, humidity and physical activity, and your fluid intake requirements increase correspondingly.
- Drink throughout the day, even if you aren't thirsty. If you feel thirsty, it's an indication that dehydration has already started.
- Keep a bottle of your favourite drink handy, to help remind you to drink.
- Water is not the only option: herbal teas, soft drinks, juices, milk etc. will all help maintain and replenish body fluid levels.
- Fruit and vegetables have a high water content so they also contribute to hydration.
- Avoid alcohol: its diuretic qualities cause dehydration.
- If you play sports, you should drink before, during and after activity, as a great deal of fluid is lost through sweat. Remember that sports drinks can help replenish minerals and glucose levels as well as lost fluids.
- Use moisturising creams on your skin to rehydrate from the outside, too.
- In summer, avoid exposure to the sun when it is at its highest – between 12 noon and 4 pm – as this is when it is most damaging to the skin.
- Always use sunscreen with UVA and UVB filters to prevent premature skin ageing and damage from solar radiation.