Even though it’s not officially summer yet, summer weather is truly here for many people throughout the U.S.
As someone who has lived in the South my entire life, I have experienced many steaming hot summers with high humidity. Despite this, I am still not used to it.
To be blunt: I hate the dog days of summer.
Not only does summer mean endless bad hair days, but it also means that constant, oppressive heat can make me feel like I am in hell.
And while there is no way to defeat those sweltering summer days, there is a way to make even the hottest days somewhat more bearable.
5 easy tips to help get us through the summer:
1. Skip the heavy lotions and sunscreens.
My skin can become painfully dry in the winter months but as soon as the thermometer hits 80°F or above, my skin becomes greasy enough to fry an egg. Most of the time, I skip body lotions and moisturizers entirely and reach for the non-oily sunscreens and body powders.
For those who still suffer from dry skin, consider switching to a lighter-weight moisturizes and lotions. (A recent trip to the drugstore introduced me to a new product line from Burt’s Bees which features spray on body lotions.)
Another tip I like is to put toners and facial waters in the fridge. The cool sensation is nice on a hot day and even though the feeling is temporary, I will nonetheless take what I can get.
2. Natural is better when it comes to clothing.
Cotton, linen, silk and hemp “breathe” better than synthetics. Even with advances in synthetic fabrics, that can wick away moisture from the skin, they can still trap the heat in and can feel sweltering.
And while we’re on the subject of clothing, sun hats are great for protecting us from the sun and are especially good for bald heads, but they can make those of us with hair feel even warmer. Visors can be a great alternative because they provide sun protect but do not cover the head. Just be sure to protect exposed ears with sunscreen, though.
3. Rethink the wet-heat option if the humidity is high.
Having a good hair day in the summer is virtually impossible, given the humidity where I live. My fine, straight hair frizzes and goes limp almost as soon as I walk out the door. While I’ve been tempted to simply pull my wet hair back into a ponytail and go, this tends to be a bad idea. First, it can take hours for my hair to dry, and the wet hair combined with the heat makes me feel like my head is stuck in a sauna.
Therefore, it’s better to dry my hair either naturally or with a hair dryer before going outside.
However, for those who live in a dry climate like the Arizona desert, the wet heat option may work as well as save valuable grooming time in the morning.
4. Keep hydrated but don’t overdue it.
Sweating may not be popular, but it’s the body’s way of staying cool. In order to sweat, we need to be hydrated.
Despite popular myth, it is possible to ingest too much water. Water intoxication, while rare, can cause a dangerous drop in sodium levels which in severe cases can lead to death.
Often times, the problem results when people ingest a lot of water too quickly.
Therefore, listen to your body instead of thinking you “must” drink a lot of water after exercising or heavy sweating. This is one case where more isn’t necessarily better.
5. Keep ice packs handy.
I worked a school that had ice packs in assorted sizes for various bumps and bruises. I discovered they are perfect for an immediate cool down on a hot day. They are especially effective when placed on the back of the neck or forehead. If I know I am going to be outdoors for a long period of time, I will throw a few in an insulted bag or ice chest.
Beating the heat may be tough to do but it’s not impossible.
While many of us live in areas where air conditioning is a must in the summer and we can’t escape the summer heat no matter how hard we try, there are ways to make the dog days of summer a little more bearable.
If all else fails, just remember that these days will pass, too. Before most of us realize, summer will be over and the cool, cold evenings of fall will make many of us nostalgic for those hot summer days.
Author: Kimberly Lo