Hot days, balmy nights, fireflies twinkling at dusk, and sticky sweet fruit juices running down our chins - what’s not to love about the summer season? Just ask your skin.
With all that sweat and sun, it’s important to take extra care to protect and nourish your skin. As the largest organ on our bodies, the skin absorbs all of the toxins floating in the air around us. The fact that we are bathed in heat and sweat means that our pores are even more open than usual, soaking up salts and toxic particles. Protecting the skin with sunscreen is just the first step to proper summer skincare, and we recommend eating the right fruits and veggies for your skin as an important next step.
In addition to containing fiber that is good for digestion, these five summery fruits contain some excellent compounds that when ingested, and in some cases used topically, can also help keep your body hydrated and your skin both healthy and clear.
A quintessential summer snack, watermelon is made up of 90% water, meaning that it is a great food for keeping the body and skin hydrated in the hot sun. Watermelon is also relatively high in choline, a compound that is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. These healthy aspects of watermelon mean that you should absolutely not feel bad about indulging in a plateful of this gorgeous summer fruit! Watermelon can also be mashed up and combined with lemon juice, yogurt, honey, or salt and sugar to create a mask that will help keep your face cool, hydrated, and free from redness.
Yes, cucumber is a fruit! We love cucumbers for their high water and fiber content, which are great for moving digestion along and keeping the body generally healthy. Cucumbers pack a lot of hydration, plus they contain high levels of ascorbic acid, a well-known anti-wrinkle agent that is used in a number of beauty products around the world. Whether you’re laying cucumber rounds over your eyes to reduce puffiness and under-eye bags or spritzing it on to cool and hydrate the skin, this green fruit is a must-have for your summer beauty arsenal.
One of the world’s most adored superfoods, blueberries pack a big antioxidant punch for such small fruits (in fact, blueberries and other purple berries have been found to be among the most antioxidant rich foods out there). Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which are caused by sun exposure, pollution, smoking, and naturally occurring reactions in our cells. Ingesting enough antioxidants to balance out those free radicals means that you’ll be giving your body the tools it needs to stave off autoimmune diseases, cancer, respiratory problems, and more. Antioxidants are also particularly good for the skin because they can prevent aging, calm inflammation, and promote the growth of collagen and healthy new cells.
There’s a reason that tomatoes are beloved in the Mediterranean, and it’s not just their incredible flavor! Tomatoes are known for their high levels of lycopene, a carotenoid which helps prevent damage from the sun’s UV rays from the inside out. It’s not sunblock in and of itself, but the lycopene in tomatoes (particularly when they’re cooked) can help your skin resist sunburn and repair itself afterwards when damage has already been done. This incredible compound also helps your body repair cells internally, meaning that tomatoes are good for preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and general inflammation. The lycopene in tomatoes can also be absorbed by the skin when applied topically, so a mask made from mashed up tomatoes (be sure to use the skins, too, as that’s where a lot of this powerful antioxidant resides) is a great idea for repairing sun damage or spots.
What would summer be without bright and zingy lemons? Often used to treat acne and reduce blemishes, lemons are effective when ingested or applied topically. Applying a swipe of lemon juice to a blackhead will help to cleanse and close up the pores due to the presence of vitamin c, or citric acid. Vitamin C is another antioxidant which fights free radicals, making it a great topical ingredient for reducing redness, wrinkles, and inflammation. It also helps to heal wounds by killing bacteria and promoting the production of healthy collagen cells in the skin. It's also packed with Vitamin C, which is depleted from our bodies through sun exposure, so it's extra important to ncorporate lemons or other sources of vitamin c into your diet in the summer.
*This post was written by Faye Lessler. Faye Lessler is a New York City based, California born advocate for sustainable living, a writer, consultant, and community organizer. Through her blog, Sustaining Life and as Events Coordinator for the Ethical Writers & Creatives, Faye documents her own journey towards sustainable living and encourages the eco-curious to follow in her footsteps. She has extensive experience working with small brands in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle space and has collaborated with sustainability leaders Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Klean Kanteen, Thinx, and Pratt Institute.