Just as you’ve probably started moving your summer clothes to the front of the drawer and a more central position in the closet, it’s also time to change your skincare routine. I’m not talking about a total overhaul. More like a few strategic tweaks. Here’s a quick guide for how to go about it.
Add an antioxidant serum
There’s value in using a quality antioxidant serum year-round, but come the summer, when we’re spending more time outside, it’s hard to find a reason not to use one. Antioxidants play a critical role in neutralizing the damaging (and aging) free radicals caused by a number of environmental factors, including, most notably, UV rays and pollution.
If you aren’t already using one – and even if you are – seek one out that contains vitamin C. It’s a potent antioxidant, and it has the added benefit of helping to combat hyperpigmentation, which is more prevalent in the summertime.
You can apply your serum at night, though it’ll be most effective if you put it on in the morning, underneath sunscreen. That way it can act as an extra layer of defense.
Replace your moisturizer
The prospect of slathering on a thick, oil-based moisturizer when it’s muggy can be as enticing as tossing on cable-knit sweater in the same conditions. Rather than ditch your moisturizer altogether, because, yes, you should be moisturizing year-round, just replace it with a lightweight water-based gel or lotion.
More specifically, look for one with glycerin and hyaluronic acid. They’ll attract water and hold it in the skin.
Be extra diligent with sunscreen
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Don’t skimp on the sunscreen.
You need to apply an SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen 365 days a year, but it’s critical that you be extra diligent in the summer. That also includes reapplying every two hours when you’re outside.
But I know enough not to spend long stretches in the sun, you say. That’s a good practice, but sun damage is cumulative. Even if you’re only spending short amounts of time under the sun unprotected, it adds up.
Reach for a stronger cleanser
Try as you might to avoid it, sweating in the summer is inevitable. And when there’s more sweat on our skin, there’s also usually more oil, which equals a greater risk of clogged pores and breakouts. To counter that cascade, start using a slightly more powerful cleanser at night. It’ll do a more thorough job of removing makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil.
Think about experimenting
Our skin is generally more compromised in the winter, which can increase the potential for irritation with more powerful skincare ingredients. The flip side is that your skin may be able to better tolerate the likes of retinoids and glycolic acid in the summer.
Keep in mind, most of these ingredients also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which makes wearing sunscreen nonnegotiable (not that it ever wasn’t). Also, if you’ve never used a retinoid before, try to start now, before the sun becomes even more intense. Your skin’s going to be the most sensitive to the sun during retinization, which is the period when your skin is acclimating to the ingredient, generally the first few weeks of use.