Even Jane Austen, that most genteel of English ladies, complained that the hot weather kept her “in a continual state of inelegance.” It's certainly true that when temperatures rise, tempers fray, and it's hard to feel your best. So we've compiled a list of refreshing advice to help you cope with the summer heat.
Our system needs water all the year round, but in summer we lose more moisture than usual as we sweat more; this means our bodies' needs increase and we need to drink more. Adult women are recommended to drink around two litres of water a day. Of course other drinks help with hydration, but we tend to cut down on hot drinks like tea and coffee when the weather is hot, so it's particularly important to make sure we're having plenty of juices and cold drinks. You need to keep your body's liquid levels topped up so it can function properly and keeping hydrated will help keep your skin healthy, too.
Legs and feet
Two places we feel the heat most are our legs and our feet. When the temperatures rise, anyone with a tendency to swollen ankles and tired legs will tell you that they suffer more than ever. Quick relief can be found by the traditional solution of putting your feet up at the end of the day. Massage is also a good way to deal with the problem, and when you're on holiday, or if you're lucky enough to live on the coast, walking barefoot on the sand or wading in the shallows is really good for circulation. There are also gels and creams available for tired legs that will help you feel better immediately.
Our feet suffer, too, in summer, with a tendency to chafing and overheating. Take care when you choose your summer foot wear, and keep some sticking plaster handy. Sandals will be cooler, of course, but leave your feet more exposed, so take a look at some of the products for sandals, including liners and gel cushions that will help lighten the load on your feet.
The last thing you want in the hot weather is thick moisturising creams. That's not to say you shouldn't moisturise – we've already pointed out that the body loses more moisture than usual in summer – but you need to take into account the weather and other conditions. If you're used to using heavy creams during the rest of the year, you may want to choose a lighter product that will be absorbed more quickly. The same is true of cleansing creams: cleansing is just as important, if not more so, when it's hot, but a lighter gel or water-based product may be better.
A vaporiser may be your best buddy when the mercury's on the up, combining spa water benefits with a pleasant refreshing effect on the skin. Some of the best known are Guerlain, Uriage, Vichy and the classic Eau Thermale by Avene , while other brands such as Mario Badescu include herbal extracts to add to the relief.