After a long winter like the one we just had, do you look at your skin and go, “Eww?”
Not only may it look white and pasty, but you may also have dry patches, calluses, dullness, and an overall lackluster appearance.
You look at those arm-baring tank tops and shorts and think, “I’ve got to do something!”
We’re here to help. Try these 10 tips to get your skin back into shape and ready to reveal this summer!
1. Dry Skin Brushing
You may already be exfoliating the skin on your face, but what about the rest of your body? Dead skin cells tend to accumulate there, too, particularly on elbows, knees ankles, heels, arms, and legs. That means that even if you’re stepping up the moisturizer, it may not help much, as it can’t sink into the skin with that old, crusty layer on top.
Dry brushing is a great way to slough off dead skin and encourage the younger cells to come forward. Brush prior to showering or bathing, so you can wash away the loosened dead skin cells afterward. Start with a soft, dry brush, and use circular motions from your toes up, and from the neck down, always moving the strokes toward the heart to encourage healthy circulation.
Apply only as much pressure as is comfortable. Your skin should turn slightly red, but not feel pain or irritation. Use a dry skin brush made for this purpose, like the one from Relaxus, Tampico and Dr. Berkowsky’s Vital Chi Quick-Start Brushing System.
2. Soak Your Skin in Oil
After you dry brush and bathe, it’s the perfect time to apply body oil. Soaking in oil is a great way to moisturize and plump skin, helping it to return to a more youthful look for summer. Try sweet almond oil with a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a nice scent.
Continue by regularly massaging body oils into your skin until it starts to glow.
3. Eat More Fruit & Fatty Acids
Fruit is naturally hydrating, and contains a lot of healthy antioxidants to help restore and repair damaged skin. If you haven’t already, start limiting sugar and artificial sugars, and choose more fruit-based desserts and snacks. Melons, kiwi, and apples are great options for summer skin prep.
Fatty acids also help naturally plump and moisturize your skin from the inside out. They’re powerful anti-inflammatories, and have a natural sun-protecting action. Add more cold-water fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, and sardines to your list, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as well. It boosts energy, health, and appearance, as well as hydration.
4. Banish Back Acne
Hard to wear those skin-baring tops if you’ve got pimples and red bumps on your back and shoulders, right?
There are medicated cleansers out there, but most contain harsh ingredients that can damage your skin and dry it out over time. Try instead some of these homemade solutions:
- Add 2-3 cups of sea salt or Epsom salt to your bath water and soak for 20 minutes or so. Apply a light oil moisturizer afterwards.
- Place about 3 tbsp of ground oatmeal into a sock or muslin cloth, place in the tub, and regularly squeeze over your back as you soak.
- Mix about 1 tsp cinnamon with 2 tbsp honey and ½ tsp fresh lemon juice. Apply the mask to the acne on your back and leave on for about 10-15 minutes, then rinse.
- Make your own toner. Place about 1 tbsp white willow bark in a pot, pour 5 tbsp boiling water over it, and steep for about 10-15 minutes. Strain the liquid, add about 3.5 tbsp witch hazel and 10 drops of tea tree or lavender oil. Apply the solution with a cotton ball or spritzer to the affected areas on your back a couple times a day.
5. Sun Prep Your Insides
Did you know that you can boost your skin’s resistance to harmful UV rays with your diet? Of course you’ll be using sunscreen (zinc oxide is best), but if you add some cooked tomatoes to your meals, you’ll help your skin protect itself even more. Cooked tomatoes have nutrients in them that act as natural sunscreens.
Other good options include orange and yellow fruits and veggies, like carrots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and sweet potatoes. And like we mentioned above, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish and flaxseed can also boost your skin’s resistance to sunburn.
6. Make Your Self-Tan Last
Using a self-tanning product is the best way to get some color on your skin without exposing it to harmful UV rays. I recommend shaving (or waxing/epilating) beforehand. If you wait until afterward you’ll pull some of the color away with the hair. Once you’ve finished, wait at least an hour before applying a tanning product.
It’s also best to exfoliate first, so that tanning product goes on newer skin cells. It tends to last longer that way. Try some dry brushing, or you can use one of my favorites, the Wildbath Cacao Exfoliating Shower Whip Wash & Scrub. It’s all natural, with coconut butter and essential oils that smell great.
Wait until your skin is dry, and then apply moisturizer to knees, elbows, ankles, heels, and any other trouble spots. Now you’re ready to apply your tanner. I have experimented quite a bit, and I’ve found two great options, both from Vita Liberata: the medium tanning mousse and the tan lotion in warm. I use a mitt with it to protect my hands, and apply the medium mousse for one night, then follow up with the warm lotion for two nights in a row. Use it sparingly around the areas you moisturized, so start in places like your thigh and your lower leg.
Finally, I apply our CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion every day after until I start the process again. Eureka! A tan that last 10 days or longer.
7. Resurrect Pretty Feet
What happened to the pretty feet you had last summer?
It’s time to bring your feet back to sandal-ready form. Try these tips:
- Exfoliate: Dry areas, calluses, and that rough heel skin has got to go. Always exfoliate when skin is wet-never when dry. Start with a foot soak a warm bath. (Adding Epsom salts creates better results.) Then massage your favorite foot scrub onto the calloused area or use a pumice stone to slough off dead skin. Repeat every other day until skin starts to soften up.
- Deeply moisturize: Apply a rich butter to dry, cracked heels several times a day. You need a thick, rich product to really do the trick. A couple to try: CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm, Organic Essence Whipped Foot Butter Peppermint, Head to Toe Organic Foot Cream, and Unabiologicals Fresh Foot Butter.
- Brighten nails: Whether you get a pedicure or go all natural, you can naturally brighten nails by rubbing a lemon wedge over them for a minute or so. Don’t forget to regularly push back cuticles.
- Try a foot mask: You put masks on your face to moisturize, why not your feet? Try this homemade recipe: 4 tablespoons of honey, 2 drops lemon juice, and ¼ cup sour cream. Spread paste on both feet and relax for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off.
How do you prepare your skin for summer fashions? Please share your tips with our readers.