August 3, 2021

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The Dermatologist-Approved Guide to Summer Skin Care

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Dermatologists spend summers underneath the same sun as the rest of us, but somehow their skin manages to stay clear and glowing all season long. Sure, it’s part of the job description, but even the professionals have to work a bit harder to prevent breakouts and minimize sun damage during the summer months. Warm weather brings a whole slew of skin-care challenges and questions like, “Do I really have to moisturize even if it’s 100 degrees out and my face feels oily?” (Spoiler alert: Yes.) Luckily, the experts know exactly how to face summer — pun intended — head on.

“A solid routine should be applicable to all seasons and all climates,” says Omer Ibrahim, a board-certified dermatologist and co-director of clinical research at Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. “With that said, there are a couple of changes one might consider when transitioning from winter to summer.” 

Ahead, we asked three dermatologists for their best summer skin-care advice. Consider this your definitive road map to healthy-looking skin all season long and, yes, another reminder to wear broad-spectrum SPF. In fact, let’s start with that.

1. SPF, SPF, SPF.

It’s the most important, fundamental, don’t-leave-home-without-it tip: Wear sunscreen. Each of our experts recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin. Don’t forget about hands, feet, ears, and lips. Allure Readers’ Choice Award winner Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55 is a great choice for all of the above.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55

Even though it’s our first tip on this list, make sure sunscreen the last step in your skin-care routine. “It is also important to note that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours, so make sure to pack extra sunscreen for longer summer days outdoors,” says Ibrahim. That means half a teaspoon for your face and neck and a full teaspoon per limb at first and again when reapplying. Pro tip: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to reapply.

2. Lighten up your skin-care routine.

If you’re not wearing a winter coat, why should your skin? “In the summer, I generally remind patients that, just like their wardrobe, their skin-care routine may need to be a little more lightweight,” says Ibrahim. The heat and humidity of summer means you can swap out a heavier cleanser (think cream or oil cleanser) in favor of a gentle, foaming option. We love the Best of Beauty Award-winning AHC Aqualuronic Cleanser for being so airy yet so hydrating.

AHC Aqualuronic Cleanser

3. Adopt a dual-purpose moisturizer.

To help lighten things up, Ibrahim says you could consider switching to a combination moisturizer and sunscreen during the summer. “A lightweight moisturizer with SPF of 30 or higher may be plenty for most people,” he says, as long as you’re applying a generous amount and reapplying every couple of hours, as with a regular sunscreen. Ibrahim notes that thicker moisturizers can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, and acne; especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin, losing one skin-care step with a combination moisturizer/SPF can help keep skin clear.

For a lightweight two-in-one, try the Best of Beauty-winning Olay Regenerist Whip Active Moisturizer With Sunscreen, which offers smoothing hydration and SPF 40 protection without smothering your skin. 

Olay Regenerist Whip Active Moisturizer With Sunscreen SPF 40

4. But don’t stop moisturizing completely.

That extra layer of sweat on your face does not count as a moisturizer. “Despite the weather being hot and humid, you still need to moisturize,” says Nava Greenfield, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, New York. Even if your skin already feels oily, you should always follow cleansing with a moisturizer.

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