Sunshine makes my skin hungry! While I enjoy using oils on my skin all year around, I find them particularly beneficial during the warmer months, when my skin just seems to drink them in. Oils excel as after sun care moisturisers. At this time of year my skin responds
particularly well to organic coconut oil – sunshine and coconut oil are a match made in skincare heaven. Some oils even have their own natural SPF*, although it’s not high enough to negate the need for suncream.
Here is our go-to list of summer skincare oils*
Raspberry oil is believed to offer some of the highest protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It isn’t possible to determine the exact level of sun protection of a plant oil, but raspberry oil is reputed to have an SPF of 20-50. That being said, there is no guarantee! I mainly like to use it in the summertime because it is brimming with goodness and offers a potent mix of skin-friendly vitamins and fatty acids. Raspberry oil is a lovely oil that will help to soothe, ease and protect distressed skin. Always choose cold pressed, unrefined raspberry oil for maximum nourishment.
Carrot oil is a superb after sun care oil. Rich in beta-carotenes, it is very beneficial for the skin, particularly if it’s feeling a little dry or dehydrated. We love using this one on sunkissed skin, it makes a very nourishing after-sun oil for thirsty skin.
After a day at the beach, it’s a good idea to use a nourishing body butter. If you’re looking for something intensive, Shea butter could be the answer – it is one of my personal summer essentials. It’s incredibly rich and my skin just soaks it up if it’s feeling parched after a day in the sun. Shea butter is also really effective at reducing redness and damage from sunburn – it’s quite effective at taking away inflammation. Just make sure you cool the area with aloe vera gel and take the heat out of your sunburn before applying an oil or moisturiser. Shea butter is packed with vitamins A, E and F, and contains cinammic acid, which offers slight protection against UV rays too.
Alternatively (if you prefer something less sticky) organic cocoa butter is a wonderful body moisturiser for skin exposed to the weather. If you spend lots of time outdoors, cocoa butter is an excellent choice. Solid at room temperature, melt a little of this butter to create an indulgent body oil. Apply after a shower to warm skin for luxurious moisturising! If you’ve no time for melting – try using a small chunk of cocoa butter as a massage bar, allowing it to warm and glide over the skin. This butter smells amazing too! We love it!
Wheatgerm is rich in vitamin E and reputed to have a naturally high SPF. We like to use it on our sun kissed skin as it’s highly nutritious and a great skin food. It works a treat on dry, mature skin.
If you’ve caught too much sun, try adding some healing lavender and chamomile essential oil to your body oil to reduce damage and speed up healing. Aloe vera gel and natural yoghurt will help to cool down sunburn. Organic rosewater is also fantastic for taking the heat out of the burn and reducing inflammation (we recommend using it before applying your shea butter).
Some food and drinks are also believed to help protect skin from the sun. Green tea, for one, contains antioxidants called EGCGs, which one study showed could help to prevent damage in human skin cells that were exposed to UV light. Citrus fruits are rich in limonene, which a University of Arizona study associated with a 34 percent reduction in the risk of skin cancer. Here in the UK, research has indicated that a diet rich in fish oils could help to protect people against sunburn and cancer. While a healthy diet can’t replace the need for sun protection, it may well give added protection, and provide lots of other skin benefits at the same time!
*Please note: Please do bear in mind that there is no guarantee that oils will provide you with an SPF, so you will still need to take extra precautions. We must stress that oils and natural ingredients do not come with a guaranteed SPF – but studies reveal that some oils do possess their own natural SPF. The guidelines have not been determined scientifically – one of the many reasons that an SPF can’t be granted to a natural ingredient of this nature. A guaranteed SPF is provided by ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. There are some good natural sun creams with a guaranteed SPF on the market, including those made by Badger Balm, Aubrey Organics and Lavera.
There are other things you can do to protect yourself from the rays, including covering up and seeking shade at the hottest times of the day. Do keep in mind that it is still possible to burn in the shade however, and that UV rays can penetrate through lighter clothing. I recommend staying safe in the sun! Use sun cream and enjoy oils for after sun care.
Have you tried using oils to help nourish your sunkissed skin? I’d love to hear how you got on. Please leave a comment below, or tweet me @Akamuti.