As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine. The summer months bring unique challenges, such as increased sun exposure, higher temperatures, and higher humidity levels, all of which can impact our skin. In this article, we will explore the essential changes you should consider making to your skincare routine to keep your skin healthy and protected during the summer season. From sun protection to lightweight hydration, let’s discover the key steps and products that will help you maintain a radiant complexion all summer long.
Understanding Your Skin’s Needs in the Summer
Summer brings about specific changes in the environment that can impact our skin. Understanding your skin’s needs during this season helps you maintain a healthy complexion.
Here are some key changes to consider during the summer:
- Acne breakouts: Sweating, increased oil production, and pore-clogging can contribute to acne breakouts during summer. Use gentle, oil-free cleansers and non-comedogenic products to prevent acne formation.
- Hyperpigmentation: Sun exposure can exacerbate hyperpigmentation, causing dark spots to become more pronounced. Protect your skin with sunscreen and consider incorporating brightening agents like vitamin C into your skincare routine.
- Sunburn and sun damage: Unprotected exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn and long-term damage. Apply sunscreen generously, seek shade during peak hours, and wear protective clothing to minimize the risk of sunburn and sun damage.
- Environmental irritants: We spend more time outside during the summer, which means we’re more likely to encounter environmental pollutants and other irritants that can damage our skin. Look for peptide and probiotic serums that help strengthen the skin barrier.
When you understand your skin’s needs in the summer, you can tailor your skincare routine to address these specific challenges. Below, we cover essential morning and evening summer skincare routines, to help you address these concerns and keep your skin hydrated, protected, and nourished all day and night.
Morning Summer Skincare Routine
As the sun shines brighter and the temperatures rise, it’s important to adapt your skincare regimen to keep your skin healthy and protected. Your summer morning skincare routine should focus on washing away overnight impurities, hydrating your skin, and providing essential protection from the sun’s harmful rays. With the right products and steps tailored for the season, you can start your day with a refreshed complexion that lasts all summer long.
Step one to your summer morning skincare routine should always be cleansing. Not only does cleansing your skin remove any overnight impurities, allergens, dust, and sweat, but it preps your skin to better absorb the rest of your morning skincare. Choose a gentle, pH-neutral cleanser that won’t strip your skin, and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
Top Morning Cleanser Picks:
- Dry Skin: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
- Oily Skin: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
- Balanced Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
2) Hydrating Toner
Summer is the time to switch from heavier creams and emollient lotions, to layering multiple light products for a more refreshing hydration. Look for hydrating toners rich in hyaluronic acid, glycerin, green tea, or aloe vera.
After cleansing, apply your hydrating toner to damp skin and apply three or more layers in 30-second intervals. This Korean skincare technique ensures that the hyaluronic acid penetrates deeply into your skin, giving it a plump appearance and providing all-day hydration.
Top Hydrating Toners:
- Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Toner
- Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
- Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Toner with Green Tea Seed
3) Vitamin C Serum
There is no better time to use a vitamin C serum than during the summer, particularly in your morning routine. It offers several benefits during this season by protecting against sun damage and pollutants. Vitamin C helps repair UV-induced damage through collagen synthesis, improves skin texture, and reduces discoloration by inhibiting excess melanin production. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, minimizing oxidative damage, and potentially enhancing the effectiveness of sunscreen for increased UV protection.
Top Vitamin C Picks:
- SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
- La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Face Serum
During the summer months lightweight, water-based, moisturizers provide all-day hydration without feeling heavy on the skin. Look for gel-creams or water creams that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, green tea extract, and rose water. These ingredients provide soothing properties and help maintain hydration throughout the day.
Top Lightweight Daily Moisturizer Picks:
- Tatcha The Water Cream
- Peach & Lily Glass Skin Water-Gel Moisturizer
- Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
Regardless of the season, sunscreen should always be a part of your skincare routine. However, it becomes even more crucial during the summer months when the sun’s UV rays are stronger. Sunscreen protects your skin from UV damage, premature aging, and painful sunburn. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher as the final step in your skincare routine, 15 minutes after applying your moisturizer. This allows the sunscreen to form a protective barrier on your skin.
If you’re planning to apply makeup, wait an additional 15 minutes after applying sunscreen to ensure it has dried and formed a complete barrier.
Top Summer Sunscreen Picks:
- Dry Skin: Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
- Oily Skin: Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46
- Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant Umbra Daily Defense SPF 30
Evening Summer Skincare Routine
During the summer, our skin requires special care to mitigate the effects of sun exposure, increased humidity, and environmental pollutants. A summer nighttime skincare routine aims to restore balance, provide nourishment, and enhance the skin’s natural renewal process while we sleep through the use of gentle, lightweight products that have you waking up feeling refreshed.
1) Oil Cleanser
Summer is the perfect time to incorporate double cleansing into your nightly skincare routine. Oil cleansers attract oil-based impurities in the skin (oil attracts oil, and repels water) such as sunscreen, makeup, sebum, and environmental pollution which you’re more likely to be exposed to as you spend more time outside in the sun.
Oil cleansers typically come in either an oil-to-milk, balm, or micellar water texture.Apply your oil cleanser to dry skin, and gently massage for a minute to lift and dissolve any oil-based impurities from your face, before rinsing away with lukewarm water.
Top Oil-based Cleanser Picks:
- Oil Cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
- Cleansing Balm: JUNO & Co. Clean 10 Cleansing Balm
- Micellar Water: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
2) Gentle Cleanser
A water-based gel, foam, or cream cleanser should follow up your oil cleanser, to rinse away any remaining sweat, dirt, or other water-based impurities. Choose a gentle facial cleanser according to your skin type, and lather it in your hands before applying it to your damp face.
Top Water-based Cleanser Picks:
- Foaming Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Deep Cleanser
- Gel Cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- Cream Cleanser: CeraVe Hydrating Cream Cleanser
Exfoliation is a crucial step in summer skincare as it helps combat oily, greasy, and congested skin. Exfoliate at night to minimize sensitivity to the sun and pay attention to your skin’s needs to prevent over-exfoliation, which can compromise the skin barrier and cause irritation.
Exfoliants come in two types: physical exfoliants (scrubs) and chemical exfoliants such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and/or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Choose the type that suits your skin type, sensitivity, and concerns.
Find out more in our Guide to Exfoliation.
Top Exfoliation Picks:
- Exfoliating Wash: CeraVe SA Cleanser
- Exfoliating Toner: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
- Exfoliating Scrub: TATCHA The Rice Polish
4) Nourishing Serum
As your skin undergoes its overnight renewal process while you sleep, it can be beneficial to incorporate a nourishing serum with ingredients like peptides, antioxidants, or probiotics. These ingredients help protect your skin from environmental pollutants, repair the skin barrier, and maintain hydration.
Top Nighttime Serum Picks:
- Peptide Serum: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum
- Probiotic Serum: Probulin Probiotic Facial Serum
- Overall Serum: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
5) Overnight Moisturizer
An overnight moisturizer is crucial for maintaining healthy skin during the summer, regardless of your skin type. Choose a lightweight and non-greasy formula to avoid heaviness while you sleep. An effective overnight moisturizer repairs and rejuvenates your skin, addressing damage from sun exposure and environmental stressors while replenishing essential nutrients. It can also help regulate sebum production and reduce oiliness throughout the day. When selecting an overnight moisturizer, opt for a lightweight cream that is suitable for your specific skin type.
Top Night Cream Picks:
- Oily Skin: TULA Skincare 24-7 Hydrating Day & Night Cream
- Mature Skin: EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
- Dry Skin: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
Summer Skincare Tips
Sunscreen protection: Forgetting sunscreen is one of the most damaging things you can do long-term to your skin. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours, especially if you’re spending time outdoors or participating in water activities.
Internal health: Stay hydrated from the inside out by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and incorporate foods into your diet that are high in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits. These foods can help combat free radicals and promote overall skin health.
Eyes & lips: Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to safeguard your eyes and use an eye cream with SPF to protect the sensitive skin around them from sun damage. Similarly, apply a moisturizing lip balm with SPF regularly to shield your lips, preventing dryness and chapping.
Cooling facial mists: Keep a facial mist in your bag for a refreshing spritz throughout the day. Look for mists that contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera or or thermal waters to provide instant hydration and a cooling sensation. They can help revive tired skin and provide a quick pick-me-up during hot summer days.
Cleanse after outdoor activities: If you’ve been sweating or exposed to pool water, ocean salt, or other outdoor elements, make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly afterward. This helps remove any residue or impurities that can clog pores or cause irritation.
Take care of your hair and scalp: Shield your scalp from the sun by wearing hats or scarves and apply sunscreen to exposed areas, such as the part in your hair. Keep your hair clean and free from excess sweat, oils, and product buildup by using clarifying shampoos. To replenish moisture and nourish your hair, make sure to deep condition regularly, especially after swimming in the pool or ocean.