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Everything You Need To Get Your Skin Summertime Ready

You've already got stuff in your house that will get your skin ready for the summer sun.

Beauty & Fashion

You know it and I know it. Whether it's those cute lil' shorts that we bought on sale last fall, the swimsuit that we copped while on vacation, or the sexy strappy dress that hugs our curves in all of the right places, if there's any time of the year when we're out here showin' off the gorgeous melanin that God blessed us with the most, it's during the summer season. This means, if there's a time of year when we're also focused on making sure that our skin is as flawless as possible, it would be Memorial Day weekend (even though, this year, summer officially begins on June 20) through Labor Day weekend (even though, this year, summer official ends on September 22).

There are a ton of products on the market that claim to give you the glow that you're looking for, but if you'd prefer to take a more holistic approach, these 10 tips will have your skin looking just the way you want it to—all summer long (and beyond).

1. Eat Foods That Will Protect Your Skin from the Sun

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Just like there are foods that can protect our natural-born melanin (what? You didn't know? Check out a list of those here), there are others that can actually protect our skin from the sun's damaging UV rays. Some of those include blueberries (the antioxidants fight off the sun's free radicals); tomatoes (they contain lycopene which absorbs both UVA and UVB radiation); cauliflower (it has the alpha-amino acid histidine in it which absorbs UV radiation); green tea (it contains catechins which fight sunburn inflammation); red grapes (they've got phytonutrients that help to prevent sun damage that can ultimately leads to skin cancer); dark leafy greens (they contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that halt the cell growth that's related to UV damage), and watermelon (which has 40 percent more lycopene than tomatoes do!). All of these are good for you on a myriad of levels, so eat up as much as possible in the weeks to come.

2. Switch Your Soap Up

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Hopefully, you're not someone who uses deodorant soap a lot (because it tends to be very drying). But just in case you are, make sure that you switch over to a more "fatty (acid) soap" (Dove is a good example) during the summer months. Not only will it help to moisturize your skin, but it will create a thin protective "film" that can keep your pores from scorching in the summer sun.

If you're into making your own soap, try and add some palm kernel oil to your recipes; it has lauric acid, myristic acid and oleic acids in it that can also protect your skin during this particular time of the year.

3. Get Dead Skin Cells Off of Your Body

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If you want less acne, dull-looking skin, big pores or skin drama all the way around, exfoliating the 40,000-per-minute dead skin cells that you shed is an absolute must. While there are exfoliants that you can buy, you can also keep some coins in your pocket by making some from the comfort and convenience of your home as well. Combining some brown sugar and olive oil will certainly do the trick (feel free to watch Ebony Christina's DIY video on how to make it here). Or, if you want to try a recipe that helps to get rid of razor bumps while clearing up any skin discoloration you might have, Kaice Alea's YouTube channel has your back. You can check her recipe out here.

Boost Up Your Collagen

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There's nothing sexier than creating that glistening summer glow. On the outside, bronzer can make that happen. On the inside, getting more collagen into your system is a surefire way to have your skin looking beautifully youthful. While there are collagen supplements that you can take, there are also foods that have lots of collagen already in them. Some of those include berries, garlic, bone broth, fish, chicken, carrots, bell peppers and pumpkin seeds.

5. DIY a Grapeseed Oil Toner

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Skin toners are dope because they help to balance your skin's pH balance, deep clean your pores, make your pores appear smaller, hydrate your skin and they can even assist with preventing ingrown hairs. If you add a little grapeseed oil to your toner during the summer season, the oil will offer your skin cells the support that they need to repair and rejuvenate themselves, so that your skin has less fine lines or wrinkles and more of a radiant appearance.

6. Spot-Treat Pimples

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I don't know about y'all but something that gets on my very last nerve during the summertime is body acne. Actually, I don't really get breakouts so much as a few pimples here or there. Still, they show up at the most inconvenient times and sometimes leave a mark that takes several weeks to go away. I'll tell you what, though, something that nips them suckers right in the bud is tea tree oil. All you've got to do is put a little of it, right on the pimples themselves, and thanks to the oil's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, you should see a noticeable difference in how inflamed the pimple is within 12-24 hours and a much smaller zit in 48. Another thing that I like about this oil is it reduces the appearance of scarring too.

Just a heads up, if you've got sensitive skin, you might want to mix the oil with a carrier one like jojoba or sweet almond oil. Tea tree oil is super potent and if your skin is sensitive (or you've already popped the pimple), it could cause a bit of a burning effect. You want to avoid that if you can.

7. Put a Scrambled Egg on Your Face (No Joke)

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If you've read the health and wellness pieces that I do often enough, you know that I try and find items that make you be like "huh?" Well, today's offering are scrambled eggs. Word on the street is if you put a scrambled egg on your face, the warmth of the egg will not only be soothing on your skin, but it will cause the protein from the egg to penetrate into your pores faster and result in smoother skin and less wrinkles. While I know it might sound crazy, when you think about the fact that egg masks exist…it's probably not as wild as you might initially think…huh? (Make sure you scramble the egg only to get the best results.)

8. Apply a Little Papaya

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If you're a fan of papaya, this is the perfect time of year to cop some; that's because it's in season from early summer through the fall. On the health tip, papaya is good for you because it contains a ton of Vitamin C, along with a good amount of Vitamin A, fiber, protein, folate and potassium to help keep your heart strong, fight inflammation and yes, even protect your skin from sun damage.

But the specific reason why I chose to feature it in this article is because, if you want to have less body hair this summer, papaya is an awesome natural hair remover too. All you need to do is mix a half-teaspoon of mashed papaya with half-teaspoon of turmeric powder, rub it onto the areas of your body where you want to see less hair growth (over time) for 15 minutes before rinsing off. If you do this 2-3 times a week, the enzyme papain (that's in papaya) will start to weaken your hair follicles and hinder regrowth. How cool is that?

9. Soften Your Cracked Heels

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As far as summer beauty goes, I'm not sure if there's ANYTHING worse than seeing someone with some killer sandals on while their heels looking like they've been in a fight with a flour bag for two days. One way to prevent yourself from being this kind of statistic is to take extra care of your heels. A pumice stone (to exfoliate). Some (DIY) heel balm. Honey (if you apply it to already cracked heels, it will help to heal them). Coconut oil (to fight off skin infections). Shea butter (to deep moisturize). If you've got these five things in your skincare arsenal, your heels will look just as fly as those shoes you've been waiting to rock!

10. Make Your Own “Soda”

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One more. Since one of the best keys to fresh, healthy and glowing skin is water, and also since we typically lose more fluids during the summer season, of course, taking in more water is paramount. While it's recommended to drink 64 ounces (roughly eight glasses) of water everyday during most of the year, from June through September, bump that up to 100 ounces (around 12 glasses), if you can.

If you're like me and water isn't exactly your favorite thing on the planet, try making your own soda to make consuming it easier to do. I personally just get some sparkling (or even mineral) water and add either some fresh fruit or juice to it. It's refreshing, it tastes great, and I'm still able to keep me and my skin well-hydrated in the process. Here's to the best summer skin of your entire life, y'all!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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