Summer Skin Care: The Complete Guide According To Top Dermatologists
Since the warmer temps have officially arrived, it’s time to start getting serious about your skin care routine for summer. To give you a helping hand, we tapped into three of our consulting dermatologists: Dr. Corey L. Hartman, Dr. Dendy Engelman, and Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand (@houshmandmd), who are sharing a list of their top summer skin care tips to follow below!
TIP #1: SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
While winter weather is notoriously dry—causing us to focus on restoring hydration with heavy moisturizers—the summer temps tend to have higher levels of humidity. “Changing seasons bring different weather conditions which have an impact on your skin,” Dr. Corey Hartman explains. “Once the colder temperatures give way to warmer air, more intense sun, and higher humidity, it’s important to consider how these changes interact with your skin care routine The focus should be less on hydration and more on sun protection and oil control.”
TIP #2: SWITCH TO A LIGHTWEIGHT MOISTURIZER
During the winter—and even the spring—we often incorporate heavier moisturizers into our routines in an effort to keep our skin hydrated despite the dry air inside, and out. Dr. Hartman tells us that you can leave these heavier products behind as the weather warms. “Warmer temperatures cause our skin to produce more oil and more sweat,” he says. “The increase in humidity brings about more retention of oil and the possibility for increased clogged pores which can lead to acne breakouts.”
When it comes to hydration, don’t think you can just skip out! No matter what your skin type, you’ll still want to reach for moisturizer after you cleanse, but the type of moisturize will change. “Oil-free or serum-based moisturizers can be more beneficial during the heat of the summer,” Dr. Hartman says. “Moisturizers should be light, non-comedogenic, and contain a higher concentration of water.”
Moisturizers should be light, non-comedogenic, and contain a higher concentration of water.
TIP #3: DON’T SKIP OUT ON TONER
In addition to a switching to a lighter moisturizer, Dr. Hartman suggests including a toner into your routine, especially if you get oily during the warmer months. “Gone are the old-school witch hazel or alcohol-based astringents, but toners formulated with hydroxy-acids such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid can keep oil production to a minimum and help keep blemishes and blackheads at bay.”
Don’t get oily in the summer? Dr. Hartman says that your routine should be based on your skin type and your specific needs. “Each person should evaluate their skin type to determine what changes are key for them,” he explains. “For example, while some skin will significantly ramp up oil production as the weather turns warm, this is not universal. Some people have dry skin year-round and therefore will adjust their product regimen less drastically.”
TIP #4: NEVER (EVER!) FORGET SUNSCREEN
“One thing is for certain, however, everyone should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30-50 every day of the year, but especially in the spring and summer,” Dr. Hartman says. He also suggests a double-duty product like a moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum SPF.
“The benefits are numerous,” Dr. Hartman explains. “Prevention of skin cancer and pre-cancers, protecting against the production of free radicals caused by the sun that contribute to wrinkles and premature aging, and controlling melasma and the development of sun spots and other pigment problems to name just a few.”
Be diligent with your applications, and don’t forget your hands. “The thin skin on your hands wrinkles and pigments easily,” says Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand. “So be sure to use sunblock daily and consider gloves while driving.”
One thing is for certain, however, everyone should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30-50 every day of the year, but especially in the spring and summer
TIP #5: AVOID DEEP CHEMICAL PEELS
While you’ll definitely want to get serious about SPF during the summer months, Dr. Hartman advises caution when considering other skin care products as your time outdoors increases. “While there are many different chemical peel options that consist of many different active ingredients, one should take caution with deeper chemical peels,” he says. “While more superficial peels are fine to be used during the summer, it is advised that deeper peels be avoided during periods of intense sun exposure because they can make a person more vulnerable to the effects of the sun during the peeling period. Skin is more susceptible to hyperpigmentation, irritation and photosensitivity while peeling.” Bottom line—always reach for your broad-spectrum SPF and reapply at least every two hours while also taking other sun protection measures if you are headed outdoors.
TIP #6: SWAP IN A LIGHTWEIGHT FOUNDATION
The last thing you want on a humid summer day is to feel like your skin is suffocating under a heavy foundation. Not only that, Dr. Dendy Engelman warns that wearing heavy cosmetics could cause unwanted side effects. “Too much product can cause buildup on the face and potentially lead to breakouts,” she says. “Switching to lighter products will balance out the extra oil production in warmer months and leave your skin looking healthier.”
Hear that? Oil-free foundations, and lightweight tinted moisturizers and sunscreens are the way to go. They can help control the oil production of your skin while still giving you a glowing, flawless-looking complexion. If you need a rec, check out our roundup of the best long-lasting foundations for the summer here!
TIP #7: SOOTHE YOUR SUNBURN
While you should try to avoid sun damage at all costs, we understand that sunburns can still happen. If you find yourself dealing with a painful sunburn, soothe your skin with chilled skin care products (throw your favorite lotions or creams in the fridge!) or aloe vera. Dr. Engelman also recommends applying antioxidants in order to heal the damaged skin cells. Once your sunburn is no longer painful to the touch, reach for a vitamin C serum. “An antioxidant helps protect skin against free radical assaults by neutralizing oxidative stress that can cause cell damage,” Dr. Engelman explains. “A vitamin C serum will be most effective in delivering to the cellular level.” Try Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum. You should also apply moisturizer liberally to protect sun-damaged skin from additional dryness, and avoid re-exposure by seeking shade, staying indoors, and being incredibly diligent with your sunscreen applications.
TIP #8: EXFOLIATE IN MODERATION
Exfoliating can remove pore-clogging dead skin cells and leave your face feeling smooth and looking more radiant. However, Dr. Houshmand warns against going overboard with exfoliation. “I have many patients that take this too far and end up stripping their skin of essential oils,” she reveals. “It’s best to exfoliate in the mornings before moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup application.”
Don’t know all the ins and outs of exfoliation? We break down everything you need to know about exfoliating, here!
TIP #9: KEEP BREAKOUTS AT BAY
As mentioned, the summer heat can cause breakouts to appear, especially if you sweat profusely and end up clogging your pores. To help reduce the risk of breakouts, Dr. Houshmand recommends cleansing your skin and removing dead cells before they have a chance to build up. “Reduce bumps caused by summer heat and humidity with an at-home glycolic mask once a week,” Dr. Houshmand suggests. “These masks can also soothe skin that's irritated by the sun, saltwater, or chlorine from the pool.”
TIP #10: DRINK WATER
While you’re enjoying the great outdoors, don’t forget to stay hydrated. “Drinking enough water every day helps maintain moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification,” Dr. Houshmand says. “If you like your caffeine like me and can’t start the day without coffee or tea, triple the amount of water you drink to avoid dehydration.”