While this summer will be different to any other, it is still important to take care of our skin when safely spending time outdoors. Summer in beautiful British Columbia is unlike anywhere else and means exposure to the outdoor elements including ultra violate (UV) rays and soaring temperatures. No matter what you get up to, it’s important to have a skin tool kit that includes essential items for protecting, maintaining, and repairing healthy looking and functioning skin.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and has many roles in the maintenance of our health. On a day to day basis our skin works as a barrier to protect against water loss, helps our immune system to protect against microbes, allergens, and toxins, regulates our temperature, promotes wound healing, and helps in the products of vitamins, such as Vitamin D.
Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids, and is a by-product synthesised from microorganisms such as micro-algae. Astaxanthin has unique properties that have great potential in skin health as it has powerful antioxidant activity. Its’ antioxidant properties directly and indirectly improve skin health by reducing stress at multiple points through the oxidative stress cascade. Astaxanthin has been shown to active the Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor pathway, otherwise referred to as the Nrf2 pathway. This pathway within the body acts like an antioxidant switch that affects all cells in the body including the skin. This switch positively influences skin health by improving skin barrier maintenance, repair, and rejuvenation functions. 4mg of Astaxanthin taken daily for at least 9 weeks can help protect against UV-induced skin deterioration and helps maintain healthy skin in healthy people.
Topical sunscreens also play an important role in protecting the skin against UV rays, which if over exposed to can damage the outer layers of skin accelerating the loss of elasticity causing wrinkles and dryness. UV rays can also increase the risk of certain types of skin cancers. There are two types of sunscreens, chemical barriers and physical barriers. Natural sunscreens offer a physical barrier with the use of active ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide that block UV rays without the use of harsh chemicals. In addition to wearing sunscreen, it is recommended to seek shade, avoid sun exposure around midday, and wear protective clothing if being exposed for an extended period of time, to protect the skin from damaging UV rays.
Sea Buckthorn Oil contains approximately 190 bioactive substances including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, all of which play a significant role in skin health. The linolic acid (LA) found in Sea Buckthorn oil helps to combat dry skin and protects against water loss, while eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduce inflammation induced by damaging UV rays. These fatty acids also help to reduce the effects of sunburn while accelerating the regeneration process. In addition to this sea buckthorn oil is a great antioxidant that helps to firm and tone the skin, stimulates wound healing, and helps the formation of new healthy skin, specially after being exposed to the sun. Applying Sea Buckthorn Seed oil to the face twice daily after cleansing and toning can help improve sun damaged skin.
Plant based repellents have been used for centuries as a way to protect the skin from bugs such as mosquitoes. Eucalyptus-Lemon, an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus lemon tree, is a powerful natural repellent. Outdoor sprays which contain eucalyptus lemon essential oil can provide natural and safe aromatic relief when spending time outdoors, and should be applied every few hours for best effectiveness.
Lesley O’Connor, BHSc is a certified senior herbalist at Finlandia’s own herbal dispensary. Lesley has a special interest in women’s health, especially postpartum care, and believes that all women should have access to emotional, physical and social support during the postnatal period.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Please seek medical advice and treatment in case of illness. If you are pregnant or suffer from any illness, please seek advice f your healthcare provider regarding safe exercise practices.