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15 Health and Beauty Perks of Summer

These warm-weather ideas cost nothing and make you look and feel fantastic. It’s like you have a free spa pass fore the next couple of months—so use it!

Head out, get happy

The sun’s warmth truly is an instant pick-me-up: It makes your body release endorphins, says New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco. “It’s ok to take advantage of the great weatherjust slather your skin every two hours with broad-spectrum sunscreen that also contains antioxidants like vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, or green tea, which will keep your skin looking younger and glowier longer.” Not to mention provide extra protection against the UV rays that cause skin cancer.

Spending time somewhere lush and leafy can improve your skin.

Tree-filled areas have lower levels of air pollutants than treeless ones, so breathing delivers more oxygen to your tissues, giving your skin healthy-looking color. Your face also picks up less pore-clogging grime than it does in urban areas, and humidity keeps skin hydrated and temporarily plumps fine lines. Hanging outside can also lower your heart rate while lifting your mood and energy levels: A recent British study found that doing an activity in nature for only five minutes perked people up.

Use an air purifier-humidifier combo in your bedroom. When you can’t get to cleaner, greener pastures (or it’s just way too cold to go out in them), this is the next best thing. The purifier part keeps air circulating while removing dust and dirt, and it may even neutralize bacteria all of which can irritate skin. The humidifier part helps keep skin hydrated so it appears dewy and radiant.

Eat some dark chocolate. It causes your body to release serotonin, a ‘happy’ chemical similar to the endorphins you experience when you’re outdoors in the summer.

You know that swimming burns tons of calories and tones almost every muscle (hiya, Dara Torres), but it does a body even more good than that. “You basically becomes weightless in water, which decompresses your joints,” says Mike Siemens, clinical director of exercise physiology and director of aquatic therapy at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ. “Even just standing in water can relieve back and knee pain.” The ocean also has its beauty perks: “Salt water will soothe almost any skin redness or inflammation,” says Fusco. “It can even help to calm acne or shrink a big zit.” So go ahead and dunk in all the way! Beauty Hint: Another summery skin perfecter: self-tanner, which can mask cellulite and other flaws. An aesorol spray, such as L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Airbrush Self-Tanning Mis, makes it easy to reach every square inch.

 

Source: Redbook. August, 2011.

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