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As the weather heats up, dehydration can produce a visible impact on skin. First off, we need to drink more water, then we need to give our skin a bit of a hand from the outside too. Eat more foods with high water content; try summer favourites like cucumber, watermelon and other fruits. Include good fats in your diet - omega 3 in particular, which you can get from a supplement or by upping your intake of oily fish, and omega 6, found in nuts and seeds. When picking skincare, pro-vitamin B5, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and phytoestrogens help to soften and hydrate. Elbows, feet, hands and ankles often suffer the most with dry patches, so keep them healthy with a daily dose of moisturiser.
As hayfever sufferers will know, pollen can be a bit of a nightmare during the summer. Thankfully, there are things you can do to limit the impact pollen has on your comfort and your appearance. As soon as you come in from a day out, jump in the shower to help remove irritating pollen particles. Pollen often gets caught in our hair too, so washing your hair before bed may work better for you than waiting until the morning. Regularly washing your bed linen is also helpful in avoiding pollen build-up. Consider drying sheets inside or in the tumble-dryer rather than outside if pollen affects you really badly.
Contrary to popular belief, sweating isn't bad for the skin - at least not initially. By flushing out toxins, sweating helps to give you a short and long-term glow, but follow these steps to ensure you're getting the benefits. Before working up a sweat, start with a clean base by washing your face, or if that's not an option, use a vitamin-enriched face wipe so there are fewer impurities to clog your pores. When you've finished exercising, or you're home from a warm day, wash your face as soon as you can. The toxins in sweat sit on the skin and can reabsorb if you don't wash them off.
If you're worried all this washing is going to dry out your skin, ensure you're using a moisturising face wash and always follow with your moisturiser. Sweat is also best washed off your body as soon as possible. Using a pH-balanced body wash helps your skin maintain its natural balance and minimises the risk of irritation.
If the sun has got its hat on, it's best you do too. The sun can damage your hair just as much as it can damage your skin, even though you don't feel it. Strong UV rays have the same effect on your hair as bleach, breaking down the bonds which hold it together, damaging the hair's keratin and causing dryness, brittleness and breakage. Chlorine and salt water have similar effects, so either avoid getting your hair wet in these kinds of water or wash your hair immediately afterwards.
Even if you don't swim, it's important to use a gentle shampoo and conditioner in the summer, when we're washing our hair more often anyway. Look for products which contain ingredients to protect against environmental damage like pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin C. Watch how you dry and style your hair too. Always use a low heat setting and a comb rather than a brush to detangle hair while it's still wet.
Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.