Everyone loves the summer sun, but the truth of the matter is that the love may not be reciprocal. The sun can actually be your skin’s worst enemy, and the hot weather can wreak havoc on your skin if you’re not careful. Here are a few quick tips to help keep your skin looking great.
Be Sun Savvy
Don’t rely on your sunscreen-infused foundation or bronzer alone to protect your face. It’s nice to have the bonus protection from your makeup, but the amount of sunscreen your skin actually needs is more than a little dab. Dermatologists recommend about 1 teaspoon of minimum SPF 30 sunscreen to cover your face and neck (and don’t forget your lips—they need sunscreen protection too). Sunscreens degrade faster in hot temperatures, losing their efficacy well before the expiration date. What’s even worse is that expired formulas can harbor bacteria, so it’s best to toss your sun-protection lotion after a year.
Don’t just use a sunscreen—also make sure to protect skin with an antioxicant-packed serum. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, green tea, and coenzyme Q10 protect your skin from damaging (a.k.a. wrinkle-causing) free radicals that are produced when skin is exposed to smoke, pollution, sunlight, or the air we breathe. When paired with a broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning, antioxidants also boost the skin’s ability to fight sun damage and help reduce collagen breakdown whenever your skin sees daylight
Summer skin means oily skin for many of us, which can lead to clogged pores and extra shine. While you may be tempted to go for another cleansing, resist the urge to over-wash and strip the skin, which can cause your face to produce even more oil. Continue to use a light moisturizer even if your skin is on the shiny side, and use blotting papers as needed to remove excess oils from skin. If your skin is very oily, use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid to help minimize excess oil production.
Avoid Summer Breakouts
Typically when we think of acne, it is our natural instinct to think about products like drying toners (usually alcohol-laden) or astringents, but sometimes these products can leave skin dry, red, or irritated. It is also best to avoid sulfur-based acne treatments because even though it is an antibacterial agent, sulfur can also be a potent skin irritant. Combat zits caused by sweat and overproduction of oil with an effective yet nonirritating formula like Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment.
Don’t Exfoliate Prior to Vacation
Since your skin is more at risk for sunburns and sun damage at the shore, discontinue use of exfoliants such as glycolic acid (AHA) at least a week before going to the beach. Using exfoliants regularly increases sun sensitivity by about 50 percent, so it’s best to play it safe and stop using scrubs or peels a few days prior to the beach.
You spent a little too much time in the sun, so now what? The best thing to do is to use cold aloe vera gel or cold plain yogurt, which works as an anti-inflammatory and heat remover. Apply, let dry for 15 minutes, and then rinse. Repeat every hour if needed. Avoid using too much lotion (even if it’s aloe-based) to soothe a sunburn. Layering lotion on sunburned skin traps heat, keeping skin red longer. Be sure to wear loose-fitting cotton clothes, because synthetic fabrics can irritate your burn.
Amarte Ultra Veil Sunscreen Broad Spectrum, SPF 50+, $45 »
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum, $62 »
Burt’s Bees Aloe and Linden Flower After-Sun Soother, $10 »
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser, $7.49 »
Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday, SPF 44, $39 »
Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster, $45 »
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, $23 »
Elemental Herbs All Good Lips Active Beauty Tints, SPF 18, $4.99 »