This article appears in the summer issue of MyGreenPod.com Magazine, distributed with the Guardian on 14 July 2017. Click here to read the full digital issue online.
British summertime has as many highs and lows as a Wimbledon final, so enjoy it while you can! With a string of festivals ahead and an unbeatable coastline to explore, you won’t need to go far to make the most of the UK sunshine – and, if you enjoy it in moderation, it will do wonders for your skin.
‘Most of us are aware that we need the sun’s assistance to produce Vitamin D, which is fundamental for bone health’, says Evelyn Liddell, head of training at Weleda. ‘Five to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands and face, two or three times a week, is enough to enjoy its vitamin D-boosting benefits.’
Sunlight plays a role in the balance of our mood-enhancing hormones, which explains why seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is prevalent in winter, when the sun’s weaker and we’re more inclined to cover up or stay indoors. Sun exposure can also benefit those who suff er from psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne – but too much can take its toll. ‘Without a doubt, sunlight is hard on your skin’, Evelyn warns. ‘Together with the ageing process it can encourage the production of wrinkles and roughness.’
As temperatures rise, so should your intake of water and the depth of your moisturiser; it’s crucial to keep your skin hydrated from both the outside in and the inside out. ‘Keeping your skin hydrated and nourished with plant oils supports its regeneration process’, Evelyn tells us. ‘Choosing products that cool and off er hydration at a deeper level will help to bring balance back to sun-drenched skin.’
In Ayurvedic medicine, apples, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates and strawberries are just some of the foods believed to have a cooling effect on the body. Weleda Pomegranate Firming Face Serum (£35.95, 30ml), which contains aloe and pomegranate juice, is rich in antioxidants and has a cooling, firming and moisture-replenishing effect.
But if you had to choose just one product to get you through the summer months, it would have to be the superhero Weleda Skin Food (£7.50, 30ml). This oil-rich multitasking balm for dry and rough skin not only smells divine but provides intense moisturisation on the first application. ‘Skin Food is bursting with a bouquet of nourishing herbs’, Evelyn says. ’It’s a fi rm favourite because it works, and it works well.’
Praised by professional makeup artists and celebrities ranging from Adele to Julia Roberts and Victoria Beckham, Skin Food has been working its magic since 1926. It’s one of the beauty industry’s best-kept secrets, bringing the glow back to skin that’s been ravaged by gruelling schedules and jetset lifestyles.
The surfing community has also embraced the all-natural balm; The Wave recently recommended Skin Food to 31.4k members of the surfing community on Instagram, calling it ‘the best cream for after surfing to stop skin drying and after sun exposure.’The iconic little green tube is crammed with extracts of wild pansy, calendula and chamomile, all delivered in a rich, thick base of oils and beeswax. It’s a summer saviour, helping to rehydrate skin that’s been dried out by air conditioning, sun exposure, salty breezes and swimming pools.
Click here to find out why Weleda Skin Food is a MyGreenPod.com Hero.
Skin Food’s huge success and popularity across the generations is testament to the incredible power of plants. The efficacy of Weleda’s products – both medicines and cosmetics – is down to the extremely high quality of the fresh extracts that go into them. ‘This is the reason why at Weleda we prefer to grow our own plant ingredients, or have long-term partnerships with growers we get to know and trust’, explains Claire Hattersley, Weleda’s head gardener.
Weleda chooses to grow its crops biodynamically, a style of growing that’s similar to organic in that no artificial fertilisers, chemical pesticides or fungicides are used. In addition to these organic principles, the biodynamic approach stresses the importance of growing crops in harmony with Nature’s rhythms and cycles. ‘By sowing our seeds the week before the full moon we guarantee good germination and strong early growth’, Claire tells us. ‘We use daily and planetary rhythms to plant, hoe and harvest, all of which helps the plant to grow healthily.’
The potency of the end product is a source of immense pride for everyone at Weleda, and can be put down to the care and respect with which the plants are handled by Weleda’s expert gardeners. Each crop is harvested first thing in the morning to ensure optimum quality, then taken straight to Weleda’s manufacturing unit a mile down the road. ‘We chop it up, add organic ethanol and purified water then leave it to steep for 14 days’, Claire tells us. After pressing and filtering, the resulting liquid is the ‘Mother Tincture’ that’s used in Weleda’s natural, organic cosmetics and medicinal products.’
It’s a bit like gardening in a Nature reserve’, Claire says. ‘Biodiversity is key to having a healthy piece of land, so we have lots of different habitats in our 13-acre garden – from meadows, ponds, fields and woodland edges to beehives, insect hotels and bird boxes. This environmental diversity ensures that our crops grow within a harmonious and balanced piece of land where Nature is encouraged to thrive. Coupled with our biodynamic approach, we can be sure that our crops become the most vibrant and life-filled ingredients for our products.’
These carefully and respectfully grown ingredients are so potent and effective that they’re also used to make medicines, providing a natural alternative to synthesised chemicals. ‘Natural remedies can be effective and many people chose to treat minor self-limiting health conditions with them’, says Zoe Smith, health and wellbeing expert at Weleda.
Plants contain all sorts of naturally occurring chemicals that can be used to beat pain and relieve some of the less welcome side-effects of spending time outside over the summer months. ‘Arnica has anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce swelling and inflammation, and analgesic activity that provides pain relief’, Zoe tells us. ‘Urtica (nettle) also has anti-inflammatory action; homeopathically, urtica is also used for burning, itchy skin conditions in line with the homeopathic principle of like treating like.’
Arnica and urtica are combined in Weleda Insect Bite Spray (£6.25, 20ml) to help relieve the symptoms of insect bites; as with any other medicine you must always read the label. ‘Strong perfumes can attract insects so they’re best avoided’, Zoe says. ‘Covering up arms and legs after dusk is advisable, and burning citronella candles outside can help.’
For sunburn it’s a question of degree; for mild sun-kissed skin Weleda Citrus Hydrating Body Lotion (£14.95, 200ml) cools and soothes, especially if kept in the fridge. ‘Sunburn is basically the skin sending out a distress signal’, Zoe explains. ‘This is only the part we can see, and damage often goes deeper.’ A three-pronged approach of seeking shade at peak times of the day, covering up (including hat and sunglasses) and using sunscreen all help to protect you – and will help you squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of summer.
Click here to find out more about Weleda and its history as a pioneer of natural wellbeing.
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