As a part of the series,  Love the Skin Your In, it’s important to highlight how to love and care for your body as we transition (in the colder climates) from a long winter to warm summer weather.
Before you begin, make sure you don’t do too much too soon to your skin in preparation for summer. Cleanse, hydrate and protect above all else. Over-layering with products could do as much damage as good, and breakouts may result.
Remember, glowing skin comes from eating raw fats, loads of raw vegetables, proper hydration, and sleep. What you put in your body is almost more important than what you put on your body!
As always, there are an arsenal of natural products at your disposal, from coconut oil to aloe vera. Be sure to check out  The Top Four Natural Foods to Love Your Skin, to learn the benefits of natural products such as lemon, coconut oil, aloe vera, and cucumber.

Here are 5 Ways to Prepare Your Skin for Summer:

1. Exfoliate and Cleanse to Create a Natural Glow

Cleansing routines are the secret to look refreshed and glowing in the summer months!
Start exfoliating only once or twice a week, as going from one extreme to the other can be difficult on your skin.  Make sure to concentrate on elbows, knees and feet as you switch to your lighter summer wardrobe.  Use scrubs that naturally dissolve and don’t irritate the skin as much as other exfoliants.
Cold showers during the summer can also keep the skin unoccluded, which will decrease acne breakouts.  It prevents oily buildup and pore blockage  – helpful to keep breakouts at bay!
Your body sheds skin cells every minute of the day.  Slough them away from your skin to prevent it from looking dull and dry.  Glowing skin comes from exfoliation, so find the right balance for your skin. At the end of each day, make sure to wash your face with a gentle soap, cream or oil (whatever best works with your skin type).
Never go to bed with makeup on your face – especially in the summer months!  Once a week, exfoliate your face gently.
Natural masks are another way of caring for your facial skin during the summer months. A Tomato and Honey Mask will help oily skin, remove tan and polish the surface of the skin to give a lovely glow. Take tomato pulp and add a drop of honey to the tomato pulp. Apply the mixture to your face for a few minutes.  Rinse with cold water.
A hydrating and soothing mask for the summer is a Cucumber Face Pack.  Take one cucumber and one table spoon of baking soda (cleans, exfoliates without abrasiveness and acts as an alkalizer); peel the cucumber and mash it up in a bowl.  Add the baking soda to the mashed cucumber, mix, and place in the refrigerator until it cools.  Apply it to your face for ten minutes, then use cold water to wash your face after. Cleansing and cooling!
2. Hydrate – but for Real this Time!

Water intake in the summer is so important because water regulates body temperature.  Water also carries nutrients and oxygen to cells by moving important stuff (enzymes, proteins, oxygen, antibodies) through the blood and lymphatic system.  It also makes nutrients more accessible to the body by helping to dissolve minerals and nutrients.
Increase your water intake; it’s easy to forget how much water you loose from sweat during the summer.   Remember to drink at least 80 oz. a day, but more if you’re exercising in the heat.
Drinking water not only reduces stress (which fights everything from weight gain to wrinkles), but also helps to burn fat.
If your face feels tight and dry despite the sweat, it means you’re not drinking enough.  Water keeps your facial skin youthful and keeps it from drying out, and plumps the skin.  Dry skin creates wrinkles more easily than well hydrated skin.
Remember, warm water opens pores and cold water closes them to create even skin tones and a beautiful facial glow.
3. Sunscreen as Insurance for the Future

The most important product for summer, although you should use a light sunscreen all year round on your face, neck and chest. The BEST sunscreen however, is a hat and long sleeves and pants. Protect your skin as insurance for your future – sun spots, dark spots and blotchiness of the skin lessen. Don’t protect it just to prevent burned skin – cover it to keep youthful skin as long as possible!
Use an SPF of at least 30 on your face all year long.  That being said, summer can be a time for lighter makeup; switch to a SPF tinted moisturizer all in one.  For days at the beach or hiking, always reapply and slather on with an SPF of 50. You’ll thank yourself in 10 years with less wrinkles from small sunburns over time! If you must get out in the sun, do so before 11 am or wait until after 3 pm, when the suns rays are the strongest and most harmful.

4. The Foods You Eat

Antioxidant-Rich food helps fight against the free radical damage of more sun exposure.  Leafy greens, citrus, and green tea are packed with the good stuff that prevents damage and elasticity of your skin. Vitamins A, C and E help as well, and can be found in each of the foods mentioned. If you want skin with a healthy glow, antioxidants are the way to go.
Cut down on sugar and grains.  They mess up healthy metabolism, interfere with homeostases, and even lower immunity.  Excess carbs often contribute to pimples as well.
As a natural tip, know that you can in a way ingest your sunscreen, through cooked tomatoes, its sauces, grapefruit and watermelon (think red). All contain lycopene, which helps protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays from added sun exposure. This is not in place of sunscreen, but rather helps build up protection for any missed spots.
Vitamin B complex as well as shizandra berry also boost your skin for a natural glow.  Find a food routine that you enjoy for your skin and stick with it!
5. Tone and Moisturize to Lock in Beauty

Using toner on the back, neck and chest is important during the summer months, as it can prevent those pesky summer breakouts.  Tea tree oil acts as a wonderful toner when slightly diluted.
Remember your heavy winter moisturizer will lead to oily skin and breakouts as the heat intensifies. Make sure to switch out your supply to a lighter summer fare, with even more sunscreen. Aloe is not just good for sunburns, but acts as a great moisturizer and skin rejuvenator as well.

Toning helps to refresh the skin and helps to add a finishing touch to the process of cleansing, as it removes all cream and greasy residue from the face.  Spray a rosewater mister on the face as a great way to hydrate oily skin lightly.
If needed, just dab at the dry spots and avoid slathering your whole face with a thick moisturizer. A natural, homemade moisturizer is made from extra-virgin coconut oil, a couple drops of essential oils of carrot seed and sweet orange.  It contains antioxidant and emollient, and while you sleep will restore moisture.

Try out these tips as you prepare for full fledged summer, or any time your skin needs a boost.  Let me know your favorite skin care tip or food!