460

July has seen unprecedented heat waves and wild fires in the US and Canada while catastrophic floods hit Germany and Belgium in recent weeks. Late July also brought some very hot weather to the UK and early August is predicted to bringing more spells of strong heat. Although the sunshine is most welcome after our uninspiring spring and early summer weather, we only need to look at the extraordinary climatic conditions across the US West Coast to realize that extreme heat can also bring its own set of dangers.

During the summer months, our skin is exposed to the elements more than usual, particularly since we generally spend more time outdoors. And although it is good to feel the warmth of the sun on our skin, unless properly protected, the results of this exposure can cause lasting damage. Be sure to give your skin direct water-based hydration in addition to applying an SPF sunscreen and moisturizers. Traditional moisturizers help to keep moisture and natural oils locked within the skin, but it is important to also use water-based products, especially floral waters to give extra hydration to the skin in very hot weather. This is because when our skin is exposed to the sun or direct heat, drinking water cannot rehydrate our skin as effectively as by frequently spritzing it with an aqua-based spray.

In addition, make sure you stay hydrated by taking the following measures: it is important to always carry fresh water with you whenever you are out and about to avoid overheating - avoid using plastic bottled water; eat lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, as this also helps to keep our entire body hydrated; wear a wide brimmed hat when exposed to the sun and try to stay out of the direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day, especially when the heat wave is at its height ie between midday and 3pm.

In order to keep your skin hydrated, spritz your face and any other exposed areas of body frequently. My advice is to try out a number of different flowers - we supply twelve unique, hand-made floral waters at Aqua Oleum - then once you have discovered your preference, keep a bottle with you in your bag so it is always handy when you need it. Here are some of my favourites for hot weather: I can guarantee that applying an aromatic aqua-spray to the face and body in the heat feels SO refreshing!

Spearmint Water:This floral water contains menthol, found in all mint plants, which has a naturally cooling, deodorant effect on the skin. This makes it our number one travel companion, especially for tropical climates or hot weather trips closer to home.

Rose Water: Rosewater has a gentle soothing effect on the skin, helping to reduce any sorenessor after sun redness. Suitable for all skin types, it makes it an ideal ‘handbag’ companion to keep you composed during the summer.

Lavender Water: An all time favourite, our lavender aqua-mist It can be used to soothe sunburnt skin or any sensitivity due to its healing properties, making it an excellent travel companion.

Neroli Water: With a delightful fresh-green aroma, which is both refreshing and uplifting, this lovely flower water has a remarkable ability to reduce stress and calm anxiety whilst on the go.

Fragonia Water: Unique to Aqua Oleum, this lovely citrusy-scented flower water has a naturally healing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, valuable to combat heat rash or areas of sunburn.

Despite all our best efforts, sometimes there is no avoiding the fact that our skin can become sore or sensitive after a day in the sun. Aloe vera makes a fantastic base to make a soothing, after-sun lotion: here is a simple recipe to make at home which can be applied straight after exposure to the sun,especially to prevent any redness developing or to soothe any existing soreness.

After-Sun Recipe

• 50ml of 100% pure aloe vera gel

• 7 drops roman chamomile (Chamaemelumnobile) essential oil

• 13 drops lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia) essential oil

• 5 drops of fragonia (Agonis Fragrans) essential oil - optional.

• 50 / 60ml tinted empty glass jar

Directions

• Put the aloe vera gel into the empty jar.

• Add the drops of essential oils carefully one at a time.

• Stir the essential oils into the gel thoroughly with a glass rod.

• Label the jar with the contents and record the date.

NOTE: For further advice on Heat Protection, see my previous blogs: ‘Summer Sun: Myths & Facts’ & Tips on Summer Skin Care Using Essential Oils