Treating your summer skin care routine the same as every other time of the year is the same as using your shampoo to wash your face… just because it’s the easiest option doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.
The sun will dry and sensitize your skin leading to burns and sun damage, and the heat will make you more prone to sweating and oil production leading to breakouts and blemishes. Summer is also everyone’s favorite time for exercise and outdoor activities, so it’s important to practice good skin care habits even when you’re on the go. Fortunately this is all as easy as five quick summer skin care tips that you might not have thought about as you transition into the sunny time of the year.
Keep reading for the five key changes to make to your summer skin care program today…
Five key changes for summer skin:
- Use Sunscreen, Every Day. A perfect golden tan can make you look a few years younger, but the sun damage that accumulates over the years will age your skin more than almost anything else. If you want to keep your skin bright and glowing in a more permanent way, be sure to wear a top-quality clinical sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays (most over-the-counter product don’t) like Dermaquest ZinClear Zinc Oxide sunscreen ($50, MASNewYork.com Online Store), and switch to a self-tanning product like Xen Tan ($24, xen-tan.com. ZinClear from Dermaquest is the only product that contains clear-drying zinc oxide and is also light enough to wear under makeup. It’s fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, and it provides excellent protection with a very small amount of product. Using a sunscreen every single day, even when the clouds are out instead of the sun, is the best way to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to keeping your golden glow without aging your skin.
- Switch to Preventing Instead of Treating. Summer is not the time to purchase a series of IPL or lasers for acne scarring. Laser treatments that are strong enough to produce results will also make your skin extra sensitive to the sun and increase your chances of burning. Sunburns after laser treatments can occur even if your skin appears to be completely healed after the treatment, and can be significantly more severe than normal sunburns. Save the lasers for the fall and winter when the sun is less intense, and switch over to a routine that prevents summer sun damage in the first place.
- Focus on Exfoliation. Since the summer isn’t the best time for advanced clinical treatments, focus on high-quality exfoliation at home. Summer sun exposure will dry the surface of the skin and lead to a thick layer of dead skin cells that will noticeably dull your skin. It’s especially important in the summer to constantly exfoliate this layer, especially because the summer heat will also lead to increased oil and sweat production that will only make this layer of dead skin thicker and make you more prone to breakouts. The best product on the market for exfoliation at home is the Clarisonic brush, hands down. The professional model is available here:Clarisonic Pro Cleansing System from MASNewYork.com
- Switch to a Gentle Cleanser That Won’t Dry Your Skin. Harsh cleansers and other products like Retin-A are not a good idea in the summertime because they will make you more sun-sensitive, more prone to burning, and more likely to accumulate sun spots and other types of sun damage. Ditch the alpha-hydroxy’s and retinols for a gentle. skin-calming cleanser like Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser ($6.99, Duane Reade). It’s extremely gentle, even for sunburned skin, and it won’t contribute to the drying effect of the summer sun. It’s also light and fragrance-free, and the handy pump action nozzle can be easily locked with a quick half turn so you can throw it in your gym or beach bag when you’re on the go.
- Control Sweat and Oil. This is one of the key summer switches that most men and women forget. You have to be diligent about controlling oil and sweat production in the summertime if you want to keep your bright and breakout free. Simply wiping your forehead with your hand or a regular cloth will create blemishes and hyper pigmented spots all summer long.
For the oil, switch to a pro-quality blotting paper (these are for men too!) and carry them with you wherever you go. My favorite blotters are Clean & Clear ($4.99, drugstore.com) and Shisheido ($18.50, sephora.com). The Shisheido blotters are larger and absorb more oil per sheet, but they are three times the price of the Clean & Clear which also do an excellent job. If you want even more information about blotting papers, Sally Holmes wrote an excellent review article for NYMag.
For the sweat… don’t forget… never, ever wipe your face with your gym towel during a workout. Blot your skin just like you do after showering. Wiping your face with your towel will only grind every dirt and oil particle into your pores and increase your risk of breakouts and blemishes.
Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon New York