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GC: Tips from Woodhouse Day Spa for maintaining great skin care during the summer

By Lynda Torrey - Special to GC
April 3, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.

Lynda Torrey

Summertime, and the livin' is easy ... at least according to the song; however, it can be a challenge when it comes to healthy skin care and protection from the summer sun.

What is most important is finding that balance between being a sun-phobic individual and a sun worshiper.

As with anything else in life, there are positives and negatives, so first let's give the sun the positive attitude it is due.

Specifically, the rays or wavelengths from the sun are crucial to our existence. The short UVB wavelengths begin the process of a chemical and metabolic chain reaction, producing vitamin D, which promotes bone health because of conversion of calcium.

These wavelengths can also help reverse seasonal affective disorder, better known as SAD, a situation that is usually caused by lack of sunlight.

Here is the fun part: it is said in holistic therapies that it is important for whole health to be in the sunlight a full 15 minutes per day to make sure these processes happen.

The negative aspect of too much sun exposure is certainly skin cancer, the most common type of cancer.

The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Although melanoma is the least frequent of these, it is the most serious and frequently metastasizes to other organs and parts of the body.

Melanomas are known to present as brown to black lesions or moles that have changed in elevation, size, color or shape.

A change in an old mole, a new mole acquired during adulthood or ulceration, pain, itching or bleeding of any mole warrants a visit to your physician.

Skin cancer prevention tips:• Avoid the use of tobacco products. It is believed that tobacco use doubles your susceptibility to skin cancer.

• Beginning in the early years, reduce over-exposure to UV radiation.

• Avoid prolonged sun exposure during the day and especially between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Wear protective clothing when outdoors. There are a number of companies that now sell specific UVA/UVB protective clothing for outdoor enthusiasts.

Use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB radiation, reapplying every two hours and after swimming.

Just as we must water our lawns and crops, we must hydrate our skin and body. Hydration is another factor in maintaining healthy skin during the summer months.

Keeping the skin hydrated means more than simply drinking water or applying more moisturizer.

Healthy nutrition also plays an extremely important role in the process, as it is the mineral content in our foods that attract and hold healthy moisture in the body. Without these nutrients, we would be dehydrated, no matter how much water we consumed.

So, what is the most effective way to care for our skin during our summertime of vacation or staycation fun and frolic?

Preparation is essential. Be sure that you have the appropriate sun protective clothing and sunscreens, as well as choosing your time in the sun wisely.

Eat a healthy, whole foods diet. Most vegetables, meats, seeds/nuts and fruits are good mineral resources that create greater hydration in the skin and are abundant this time of year. Drink lots of water, too.

Last, but not least, maintain a home skin care program, along with professional treatments, to reduce damaging and aging effects on the skin.

Lynda Torrey is a licensed esthetician, massage therapist and massage therapy instructor. She is also a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine, with a diploma from The Open International University for Complementary Medicines, affiliated to the Faculty of Medical Studies, Medicina Alternativa Institute. Lynda is the director of research and development for The Woodhouse Spas Corp. with offices based in Victoria.

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