Summertime and the living is easy – unless you’re hair, skin, or nails, in which case the living can be pretty tough going. Sun, sea, and all-hours cocktails might sound like the ultimate good time, but the fun stops at your hair turning into a brittle nest of straw and your skin taking on the texture of the Sahara sands. But this is no reason to curb your enthusiasm for free and easy summertime living – by implementing a few simple damage control strategies, good times can still be had and won’t have to mean spending hours at the salon repairing the carnage or committing to a juice fast for the whole of February.
SUN AND SKIN: A BALANCING ACT
The sun, like red wine and chocolate, is one of those things in life that calls for a carefully measured dose. In the right amount it offers some essential health benefits like elevated vitamin D levels, stress reduction, and regulation of circadian rhythms, all of which have been shown to aid in cell repair and skin rejuvenation. But take it a little too far and those same mechanisms will turn on a dime, leaving the skin blotchy, dehydrated, and on a fast track to premature ageing. So start with the obvious: limit your time in the sun. There’s no universal standard for how much sun exposure is too much – those with darker skin tones tend to need slightly more to get the same benefits as fairer people who burn easily – but generally speaking 20 minutes of full body sun exposure a day is enough for gain without pain. If 20 minutes at the beach simply does not justify how long it took to find a parking spot, then investing in a high quality, non-toxic sunscreen will go a long way in mitigating some of the negative effects of sun exposure without piling on more. Look for a zinc oxide based formula and steer clear of brands containing known carcinogens like benzene or benzophenone.
KEEP IT SHINY
UV rays, especially combined with salt water, are famously harsh on hair. Too much sun exposure can break down the hair’s protective outer layer of lipids, making it more prone to breakage. Both salt and sun also have a drying effect, leaving your strands with that lovely straw-like texture nobody wants. The key here is locking in moisture and resisting the urge to add insult to injury with too much heat styling. Select a chemical-free at home treatment or leave-in conditioner and apply more regularly than you normally would – especially right before dips in the ocean, which will offer a layer of protection from the sun-salt double threat.
But the real trick to buffering damage to your outer layers over the summer months – whether it’s a little too much sun, tequila, or grandma’s Christmas pudding – is less about what goes on your body and more about what goes in it.
HYDRATE LIKE A PRO
Prioritising hydration may seem obvious (great – another blog post telling me to ‘drink water’!), but getting the right kind of water to exactly where it’s needed is a little more nuanced. Simply drinking plain water all day long is no guarantee that you’re properly hydrating – water needs to be accessible to every cell of the body and not just pass on through without so much as a hello. To ensure that your cells are properly absorbing the fluid you’re so diligently drinking, it should be both filtered and re-mineralised which mimics how water naturally occurs before industrial filtration strips it of the good stuff and adds the bad. This can be done via a specifically designed two-step filter or by adding a small amount of good quality, sugar-free electrolytes to your drink bottle. Failing this, adding a tiny dash of sea salt or a squeeze of lemon will do the trick.
NUTRIENTS: YOUR ULTIMATE DEFENSE
Once your cells are happy and high on a decent water supply, making sure you’re getting certain key nutrients is the crucial next step. Vitamin C, B-group vitamins, iron, selenium, zinc and cysteine hydrochloride have all been scientifically proven to promote cell repair and even prevent damage from happening in the first place. Fresh, whole, seasonal summer foods are the way to go here. Citrus fruits and leafy greens like lemons, oranges and bitter lettuces are high in vitamin C. Seafood, particularly shellfish like oysters, will deliver a powerful selenium-zinc combo, and high quality proteins like grass-fed meat, lentils and sunflower seeds offer a good amount of iron and anti-oxidant forming cysteine.
CALL FOR BACKUP
Depending on the level of excess you plan on indulging in over the festive season, diet alone may not provide all of the nutrients needed to counteract the onslaught. Sometimes the fun gets so extreme that you need to call the SWAT team to the party scene. This is where a high-potency, easily absorbed supplement comes in handy. Both Aéde Power Activist and Aéde Hair Activist contain bioavailable, active ingredients that are scientifically proven to target the internal mechanisms that compromise the quality of hair, skin, and nails. By working on balancing hormones, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy thyroid function, Aéde’s two core supplements offer that little bit of extra armour to combat all manner of sins – and let you get on with the important business of forgetting that you care at all.