What’s not to love about summertime – sunshine, warmth, swimming, traveling, outdoor activities – the list could go on. But along with summer comes a slew of skin issues. From sweating to sunburns, summer months require extra attention be paid to our skin.
To maintain healthy, youthful skin—particularly during the late summer months—it’s important to take preventative measures. Warren B. Seiler III, M.D., a board certified cosmetic laser surgeon, the executive director at the American Board of Laser Surgery and medical director at Seiler Skin Cosmetic Laser & Aesthetics Center shares five common mistakes that people tend to make with their skin during the hottest part of the year.
1. Believing “tan-screen” is actually safe: Many start the summer with the best intentions and apply sunscreen liberally before heading outside, only to fall victim to complacency once they begin to see some color. While you may not visibly burn, remember: there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Without sunscreen, even perfectly tanned skin will readily absorb the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, which cause deadly skin cancers and premature aging. Fully embracing the sunscreen lifestyle will be the most important decision you’ll ever make for the health and look of your skin.
Pro-tip: Many over-the-counter sunscreens are thick & greasy, and are uncomfortable to wear on exposed areas—let alone on the entire body. A high quality, medical-grade sunscreen, like EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is easy to apply, goes on smoothly and provides the best all-around protection.
2. Failing to hydrate your skin properly: It’s easy to assume your skin is well-hydrated during the summer months, as it is more prone to greasiness. But greasiness does NOT equate to a healthy, intact moisture barrier. Excess oil can result in clogged pores and acne, and a lack of moisture can cause skin to crack or become scaly over time. It’s critical to maintain a proper balance of both water and oil, especially during the hottest part of the summer when your skin may play tricks on you.
Pro-tip: Keep your skin hydrated with an ultralight, oil-balancing gel moisturizer like this one that’s perfect even for oily and acne-prone skin…it also inhibits excess sebum while tightening pores!
3. Neglecting regular exfoliation: It’s true: over-exfoliating skin during the summer months can increase sun sensitivity, and even leave your skin feeling irritable and dry. However, it’s an important part of achieving and maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Try to exfoliate at least once a week to remove dead skin cells and avoid clogged pores (remember: summertime = greasy skin). If done properly and regularly, exfoliation should leave skin looking fresh and bright – the perfect look for summer!
Pro-tip: The best time to exfoliate is in the evening before bed, as the skin repairs itself during the night while you sleep!
4. Misusing makeup: Whether you’re headed to the beach or out running a few errands, no one will blame you for wanting to look your best. However, heavily applying powder and foundation can wreak havoc on your skin, as pores tend to open up while sweating. What works well for you in the winter may be a recipe for disaster during the summer, so rethink your makeup routine if you start experiencing issues with blackheads or breakouts.
Pro-tip: If you’re headed out into the sun, skip the over-the-counter makeup and try Sunforgettable by Colorescience, a mineral makeup brush with broad spectrum SPF 50 for added sun protection!
5. Not getting enough liquids: Aside from obvious health issues related to dehydration during the summer, your skin will also pay the price if you fail to get enough liquids. Simply put, water helps your body function better, which, in theory, helps your skin function better. Staying hydrated will help the skin respond better to topically applied moisturizing products, which are important to maintain the health of the skin.
Pro-tip: Water is certainly good for the skin, but adding fish oil or flax seed to your diet will do wonders for it!
6. Not following a proper cleansing regimen: During the hot summer days, sweat, dirt, makeup and oils can quickly build up, and you must use a quality cleanser to break them down. A proper summer skin cleansing regimen usually consists of a morning, midday and nightly routine. In the morning (or when your skin has not been exposed to a high number of environmental factors) a gentle cleanser works best.
During the day—especially after physical activity—use a soothing toner to reduce bacterial activity and remove excess oils and dead skin cells that have begun to accumulate. At night, you should use a gentle or stronger cleanser (depending on your activity level and skin type) to remove the accumulation of dirt and grime, ensuring your pores are clean and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Pro-tip: It’s easy to skip on your routine if you’re tired and ready for sleep, so go ahead and use your cleanser as soon as you get home from work. Not only will you feel refreshed and clean, but it will be easier to integrate into your daily regimen.