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How air conditioning is actually aging you

Jane Wilkens Michael is the host of the The Jane Wilkens Michael Show: Better Than Before, a weekly beauty, health and fitness talk show on CBS Radio. Her features have appeared in Town & Country, the New York Times, AARP The Magazine, t...

Why you should turn the AC down

This time of year, I'm often asked for suggestions about how to fix sun-and-surf beauty issues. They run the gamut from hair turning green, natural ways to treat sunburned skin, and cellulite. These are all common issues, but did you also know that your a/c unit is secretly aging you?
Summer beauty conundrums
Woman with air conditioner remote

The secret evils of your a/c unit

What most women don't realize is that a room can be as dry and arid as the Gobi Desert when an air conditioner is constantly blasting. "The ideal humidity comfort level for humans can be anywhere from 40 to 60 percent," says Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., of the University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance. "And A/C's are not particularly selective about the moisture they pull in. So we are constantly sucking vital nutrients out of the skin, which can lead to a plethora of undesirable conditions."

If that wasn't bad enough, once we step into the blazing sun after cooling down, the abrupt change in temperature is very stressful for the skin. "Our faces and bodies can take a beating that can therefore result in everything from premature wrinkles, acne breakouts and rough, tight, itchy, flaky or stretched skin to dermatitis, a worsening of psoriasis and eczema, even a loss of elasticity — not to mention your body running a quart low all the time," Heather says.

What to do? Heather recommends an "inside-out" approach that incorporates the following tips.

How to combat signs of aging during the summer

1

Stay hydrated

Drink at least half your body's weight in ounces of water or low-sugar juices every day.

2

Go heavy on antioxidants

Opt for supplements such as high-potency organic Resveratrol to counter damage caused by free radicals.

3

Add cocoa to your diet

Research has shown that cocoa protects the skin from wrinkles and collagen damage caused by sun exposure. (Yes, that includes chocolate!)

4

Seek immunity

A supplement with monolauric acid and vitamin D3 gives your immune system a healthy leg up at all times.

5

Boost your cellular service

Take skin, hair and nail protective collagen booster and keratin booster supplements to restore good cellular health to the outermost tissues that maintain the integrity of everything inside.

Above all, remember that even a good diet and great genes need help from copious sunscreen and a big, floppy hat!

Other summer beauty solutions

Do-it-yourself treatment for green hair

Here's my favorite DIY recipe for those affected by chlorine turning hair green. Mix together two eggs, the juice of one lemon, three half eggshells of witch hazel and one half eggshell of safflower oil. Use a large cotton ball to apply the mixture to the whole length of your hair, especially the ends. After a half hour, gently massage your scalp with your fingers. Rinse with plenty of warm water, and then follow with your normal shampoo and conditioner.

Do-it-yourself treatment for sunburn

For easy sunburn relief, put a few ice cubes in a cup of chamomile tea, then dip in cotton balls and use as a compress for 15 to 20 minutes.

A natural cure for cellulite

Though there is no do-it-yourself recipe for cellulite, if you happen to be near clean, fresh salt water, think of it as a natural cure. First take a stiff brush and dry-brush your legs. Then soak in the surf for 20 minutes. Your body will absorb the minerals of the ocean, which will help decrease water retention and, yes, cellulite. Also know that most fruit is a natural diuretic. So eat lots of your local offerings such as papayas, guavas, blackcurrants, strawberries and pineapple.

Bonus

Fruit pulp makes a terrific natural cleanser. Work it over the face and then rinse with cool water.

More skin care advice

The ultimate summer beauty guide
DIY pore strips
How beauty products are made

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