Things heat up, ocean waves mellow out, and faces take on a dewy glow. Everything changes during summer—and your skin care should, too.
After a winter’s worth of dry air, wind, and cold, and the intensive treatments that often go along with that, now’s the time to lighten up and give your complexion a chance to breathe. Here are four simple switches to make sure your summer skin is as gorgeous as those halcyon beach days ahead.
Revamp your cleansing regimen
Although it might seem a little high-maintenance, a two-step cleansing process might be the secret to glowing summer skin. First, take a cue from Korean beauty experts and pre-wash with oil. Proponents believe that oil cleansing, followed by a mild foam wash, is the ideal one-two punch during warmer months.
“Use cleansers that really clean the skin of makeup, sweat, and debris without stripping it,” suggests naturopathic physician Dr. Trevor Cates. A product that’s too harsh can cause pH and oil imbalances. Instead, opt for a gentle foaming cleanser like Burt's Bees Gentle Foaming Cleanser, which is enriched with aloe vera, cucumber, sea kelp, birch bark, and lavender to cool and refresh.
Exfoliate less often
Exfoliating is always a must—even in summer, since the combo of dead skin, sweat, and sebum may lead to clogged pores and acne. But overdoing it can make the freshly exposed layer of skin even more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. “Most people do well with a natural light exfoliation once per week to help remove dead skin and improve the ability of products to absorb,” says Dr. Cates. Try Desert Essence Gentle Face Scrub, which uses jojoba oil and natural exfoliators like almond meal, oats, and walnut shells, plus soothing aloe vera and cucumber.
Pair a light moisturizer with SPF
Come summer, extra sun protection is in order. “While some sun is good for our skin, [since] it increases vitamin D, we know it causes oxidative damage that speeds aging,” Dr. Cates says. Too much can bring on wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin, and of course make you more susceptible to skin cancer. To protect yourself, Dr. Cates recommends using natural, zinc oxide–based sunblocks over chemical sunscreens, which may contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone.
Along with SPF, you’ll need the right moisturizer. “[When] it’s hotter and, in some locations, more humid, we often need a lighter moisturizer because our skin is already amping up oil production,” explains Dr. Cates. During summer, we’re big fans of lightweight, fast-absorbing oils like marula or rosehip seed oil instead of more emollient ones like coconut (which, according to Dr. Cates, can bring on breakouts for those with acne-prone skin.)
To streamline your routine, put the two together: Mix a couple of drops of your oil of choice into a dollop of an SPF 30 sunscreen like Badger Organic’s and gently massage into skin. Reapply every few hours, especially if you’re spending the day outside.
Ditch the night cream
Heavy creams may not be necessary on humid summer nights—they might even end up clogging pores. For just enough hydration, Dr. Cates suggests blending a little oil into a lighter moisturizer like Acure Organics Radical Resurfacing Treatment, which brightens and evens out skin overnight with a blend of lemon probiotic and chlorella growth factor. Add a couple drops of apricot oil, one of Dr. Cates’ favorites, and you’re good to go.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho