Sure, summer is the season to kick back, relax, and just enjoy being outside and not freezing, but it’s not time to slack on your skincare routine. UVA/UVB rays are harmful all year long, but are especially damaging during the summer month when our exposure levels are higher thanks to spending free days at the beach or in the park.
That’s why it’s important to focus on sun and heat protection, in addition to maintaining your regular skincare routine. It can be tough to know where to start when switching over your products for a new season, so we turned to a handful of top dermatologists to find out their tips for keeping skin healthy during the summer.
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Keep scrolling for 25 skincare tips that will get you through the summer, no matter your skin type.
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Don’t Forget Your Lips
Yes, your lips need sunscreen, too. Since the sun can be extremely drying, keep them soft and smooth by using a rich lip balm with SPF 15 or higher like Coola’s Liplux SPF 30. Don’t forget to reapply it when you’re outside.
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Cool Off With A Mist
Stash a bottle of face mist in your cooler so you can mist your face and body when you’re at the beach. OLEHENRIKSEN’s Pure Nurture Facial Water is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that will soothe and hydrate skin on top of cooling you down.
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Protect Your Scalp
Long hair does offer some shade from the sun, but the sensitive skin along your hairline can still get burned. “Use a sunscreen spray along your part. It’s harder for creams to be absorbed there, and you can still burn,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Neil Sadick. Try Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30, a zinc-based sunscreen that dries clear on all skin tones.
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Take a Cool Shower
Hot showers after sun exposure further dry skin. Turn down the temperature and you’ll pick up a few added benefits. “A cool shower after excess sweating helps to keep skin clear, decreasing acne breakouts,” Dr. Sadick says.
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Wear a Wide-Brim Hat
A baseball cap won’t protect your face from sun coming at an angle. “Opt for a hat with a brim for full protection,” says Wexler.
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Slough Away Dry Skin
“One of the most effective ways to exfoliate during the summer is to use a scrub on dry skin before you shower,” says dermatologist Jeannette Graf. “Pay special attention to knees and elbows. Finish with a rich body cream or oil within three minutes of toweling off.” Try Susanne Kaufmann’s Body Scrub ($76; nordstrom.com) and Honest Company Organic Body Oil ($10; target.com).
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Load Up On Melon
Cantaloupe is the melon of choice for beautiful summer skin, according to New York-based dermatologist Nicholas Perricone. “The sweet fruit is rich in antioxidants and delivers a unique hydration to the skin, resulting in a radiant complexion.” Facialist Kate Somerville likes watermelon in the summer months. “It can actually boost your SPF by several factors,” she says.
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Treat Your Legs
“The trick to great summer legs is to alter the way light reflects off the skin’s surface,” dermatologist Hilary Reich explains. Start by exfoliating with Ahava DeadSea Skin Softening Butter Salt Scrub ($26; nordstrom.com). Then apply Caudalie Vine Butter ($34; nordstrom.com). For a final touch, rub on Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body Slimmer Shimmer, Shape, Hydrate & Glow ($65; nordstrom.com).
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Treat Sun Spots
Melasma—a common skin discoloration consisting of dark spots, which can develop on the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip—is a summertime skin risk. “Apply a fade cream nightly like Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector or ask your dermatologist for a prescription-strength version,” Dr. Reich suggests.
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Fight Acne All Over
Body acne can happen any time of the year, but it’s more common during sweatier months. Dr. Reich recommends washing in the morning with an acne-fighting body wash like Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash ($6; target.com) and wiping skin with Noxzema Ultimate Clear Anti-Blemish Pads ($4; target.com) at night.
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Don’t Itch Bug Bites
Bug bites can itch and linger for weeks after they become inflamed. If you happen to get stuck with a sting, Dr. Reich suggests using Aveeno Hydrocortisone 1% Anti-Itch Cream ($4; target.com) twice daily until itching resolves. To fade any residual marks, try Avene Ciclafate Restorative Cream ($28; dermstore.com) twice a day and concealer as needed.
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Go Easy On The Eyes
The summer weather can be especially harsh on the fragile skin around the eyes. Nashville, TN-based dermatologist Michael Gold recommends using Neocutis Lumiere eye cream from June through August. It contains a patented PSP complex of human growth factors and antioxidants to “help prevent and even reverse wrinkles,” he says. “Plus, the texture is light, and it’s very fast absorbing, which is important during the hot and humid days of summer.”
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Amp Up Your Antioxidants
Antioxidants are key in the summer, and there are tons of ways to work them into your routine. Layer on a serum like SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel ($166; dermstore.com) to boost the potency of your coverage. If you do get a burn, iS Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus ($148; dermstore.com) helps reduce the appearance of sun spots. “It’s not ideal, but it will still help minimize the effects,” says Dr. Rebecca Giles
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Don’t Forget Your Hands
“The thin skin on your hands wrinkles and pigments easily, so be sure to use sunblock daily,” Dr. Giles says. Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Hand Creme shields hands from UVA/UVB rays while fully absorbing into skin for a non-greasy finish.
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Feed Your Face
According to Kate Somerville, the best tool for an even summer skin tone is probably already in your fridge. “Cut a large strawberry in half, take a fork and poke at the flesh to awaken the juices, then swipe it across your face in small circles,” she says. “Leave it on for about two minutes, then rinse off. This will brighten sun and age spots over time.”
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Repurpose Your Facial Scrubber
“I am a big fan of the Clarisonic Brush body attachment (Clarisonic Mia $129; sephora.com) to get rid of flaky skin,” Dr. Giles says. “It’s helpful to use a hydroxy acid lotion like AmLactin ($13; target.com) over rough areas, too.”
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Powder Your Nose
Who wants to go through the hassle of washing your face and redoing your makeup each time you need to reapply sunscreen? To streamline the process, New York-based dermatologist Pat Wexler suggests touching up with mineral makeup that contains SPF 50, like the Avene High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 ($36; walgreens.com). Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30 ($65; dermstore.com) also provides sheer coverage and protection in a convenient, dust-on wand.
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Make Your Own Body Scrub
This DIY recipe makes use of firming caffeine, nourishing sesame oil, and purifying eucalyptus.
Beach Body Scrub
Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for three treatments
• 1/2 cup fine-grain sea salt
• 1/2 cup finely ground coffee beans
• 1/4 cup sesame oil
• 1/2 teaspoon (about 20 drops) eucalyptus essential oil
In a small bowl, mix the salt, coffee, and sesame and eucalyptus oils. Use the scrub in the shower, massaging it into damp skin with long, firm, semicircular movements. Take your time in order to activate the ingredients. Rinse well.
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Try Tinted Lotion
According to Dr. Giles, a bit of sheen in your body lotion can make bare skin look even smoother. She likes Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion because, “its formulations are based on skin color, and the shimmer is subtle.”
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Bounce Back from a Sunburn
The lactic acid found in plain yogurt has soothing and calming benefits. Use Korres After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel for Face and Body as a mask by leaving it on for 30 minutes before taking a cool shower and patting skin dry. In addition to this treatment, slather skin with aloe vera gel three to four times a day to help burns heal more quickly.
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Eat Your SPF (Really!)
“There’s some evidence that oral intake of vitamins C and E together can limit potential for sunburn,” Dr. Giles notes. A salad with vitamin C-rich citrus, berries, tomato, and vitamin E-rich nuts is an ideal SPF meal.
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Use A Lightweight Sunscreen
A lot of sunscreens can be heavy and oily, which can contribute to breakouts and shine. Swap your current SPF for a lightweight serum that will soak into skin without leaving a white cast. Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield shields skin from UVA/UVB damage while protecting it from the effects of pollution.
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“Reduce bumps caused by summer heat and humidity with an at-home glycolic mask once a week,” suggests dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi. “These masks can also soothe skin that’s irritated by sun and saltwater or chlorine from the pool.” Ren Clean Skincare’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask gently exfoliates while nourishing and repairing skin.
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Fake A Sun-Kissed Glow
By now you have to know how bad sitting out in the sun is for your skin, so fake a glow with a self tanner. This St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse is a rinse-free, clear formula that’s made from natural and vegan-friendly tanning agents.
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Soothe Razor Bumps
Whether or not you choose to groom your body hair is entirely up to you, but if you do decide to wax or shave your bikini line this summer, beware of razor bumps and ingrown hair. Along with gently exfoliating the area regularly to keep it smooth, treat any red bumps with an ingrown hair cream like this one from Malin+Goetz. It’s packed chamomile to calm irritation along with glycolic and salicylic acid to exfoliate.
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