Skin Care For Warmer Weather
Simple steps to take for healthy skin in spring and summer
Pay attention to pollen
Temperature isn’t the only thing that rises in spring and summer. Pollen counts go up too, and allergies maybe exacerbated. “Allergies to pollen or any other environmental allergen can create redness and inflammation underneath the eyes,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City. “When that happens, it makes under-eye bags larger and wrinkles around the eyes more pronounced.” Talk to a dermatologist about prescription ingredients that can heal the skin and calm the inflammation. If you’re prone to allergies, your doctor may recommend taking an over-the-counter non-sedating antihistamine each morning, for example, to help avoid flare-ups.
Everyone should wear sunscreen year-round, but dermatologists agree that it’s even more important during the warmer months. “Not only are you spending more time outside, but also the UVA/UVB rays can be more intense, and the damage accumulates over your lifetime,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. “Incidental sun exposure, even for only 10 to 15 minutes a day, adds up over time and can cause significant sun damage and accelerated photoageing, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Using a high-SPF sunscreen—30 SPF at minimum,and 50 SPF ideally—can reduce the accumulation of chronic UV damage that’s linked to non-melanoma skin cancer and ageing.”
Spring-clean your skin products
There are no US FDA regulations for skin-care product expiration dates,though some products do show a suggested expiration date. But over time,products may discolour, smell funny or become contaminated with bacteria.“Go through your skin-care products and sunscreens, and toss the things that have been around a little too long,”says Bowe. That includes cosmetics,shaving creams, and beard oil.Anything you apply near your lips or eyes should be tossed after a year. And don't forget to clean your brushes,combs, sponges and razors.
Consider your cleanser
Mild soap is useful in cold, dry weather,but a slightly more acidic cleanser will help to control shine and sweat more efficiently, especially for people whose skin is oily to start with. “This is particularly true as spring days become much warmer in the afternoon than the morning,” says dermatologistS. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, CEO and founder of Miami Skin Institute. “Your cleanser should keep your skin clean and sweat-free throughout the day,which a more acidic cleanser is likely to do.” Look for ingredients such as alcohol, salicylic acid and glycolic acid.
“Mild exfoliation, twice a week at most, will remove dull dead skin cells from the skin surface,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, California.“When dead skin cells are combined with sweat, grease and skincare products, they can clog pores and lead to acne.” Avoid cleansers that exfoliate with rough pieces such as shells, nuts and microbeads. Look for gentler products that contain salts and sugars, or enzymatic scrubs with fruit acids.
Lighten up the lotion
In the winter, heavier face and body moisturizers help combat the cold and dry air, but when temperatures rise, so does humidity. “During the warmer seasons, lighter lotions will likely provide enough moisture for the skin,while heavier formulations may lead to clogged pores and breakouts,” says Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Look for products that contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which are both hydrating agents.
Go easy on makeup
Heavy foundations and concealers can cause buildup and lead to breakouts. This is even more likely during the spring and summer, when heat and humidity can lead to sweat and clogged skin, says Dr. Engelman.“Switching to lighter products, such as a CC cream or mineral powder foundation, will balance out the extra oil production and leave your skin looking healthier,” she says.
Add an antioxidant
Antioxidants are particularly important during the summer, when stronger UV rays can damage unprotected skin. “Not only can too much sun lead to direct DNA damage, but it can also break down collagen and elastin, due to UV-induced free radicals,” explains Shainhouse. Apply an antioxidant serum, such as vitamin C, in the morning after cleansing your face and before applying sunscreen to help strengthen the skin barrier.
Many products marketed to both men and women contain the vitamin-A derivative retinol, a milder over-the-counter version of Retin-A,which is available by prescription only. The fountain-of-youth potion that promises to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, strengthen skin and even out skin tone can make your skin more sensitive to sun. “Retinol boosts cell turnover, which means it eliminates dead skin cells and replaces them with new ones—and these healthy new cells are more sensitive and prone to burning from the sun’s rays,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, a dermatologist in Omaha, Nebraska. You can still use retinol during the spring and summer months, but apply it at bedtime instead of in the morning, and use a strong sunscreen. “If your skin gets irritated by retinol use, reduce the frequency to only one or two times a week,” Shainhouse suggests.