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Dermatologists Reveal How to Maintain Glowing Skin All Summer Long

Dermatologists Reveal How to Maintain Glowing Skin All Summer Long

Dermatologists Reveal How to Maintain Glowing Skin All Summer Long

Preparing the skin for summer is essential to maintain its health and appearance amid the season’s challenges, such as increased UV exposure, humidity, and heat. Dermatologists recommend a comprehensive skincare routine that focuses on protection, hydration, and repairing any existing damage.

In This Article

Key Takeaways

  • Adjust Your Skincare Routine: Transition to lightweight, gel-based products to avoid clogged pores and breakouts in the summer heat.
  • Prioritize Sun Protection: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective clothing to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water and use hydrating products containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
  • Incorporate Antioxidants: Use topical antioxidants and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods.
  • Exfoliate Gently: Exfoliate 1-2 times per week to remove dead skin cells, but avoid over-exfoliation to prevent irritation.

Evaluate and Adjust Your Skincare Routine

Lighten Up Your Products

As temperatures rise, heavy moisturizers and creams can feel suffocating and may contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. Transition to lightweight formulations like gel-based moisturizers and serums that are oil-free and non-comedogenic.

These products provide sufficient hydration without leaving a greasy residue, making them ideal for summer use. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to the skin, and glycerin, which helps to maintain hydration levels.

Use a Gentle Cleanser

Summer activities often lead to increased sweating and exposure to environmental pollutants. A gentle, sulfate-free cleanser is essential to remove dirt, oil, and sweat without disrupting the skin’s natural barrier. Harsh cleansers can strip the skin of essential oils, leading to dryness and irritation.

Consider using a foaming or gel cleanser that effectively cleanses while being gentle on the skin. For those with sensitive skin, a micellar water cleanser can be a good option for removing impurities without the need for rinsing.

Prioritize Sun Protection

Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

The most crucial step in any summer skincare routine is sun protection. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause premature aging, sunburn, and increase the risk of skin cancer. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin.

Ensure you cover all exposed areas, including often-forgotten spots like the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, and your feet. For prolonged outdoor activities, reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating. Dermatologists often recommend using a shot-glass amount (about one ounce) for full-body coverage.

Protective Clothing and Accessories

Complement your sunscreen use with physical sun protection. Wear wide-brimmed hats to shield your face, neck, and shoulders from direct sunlight. UV-protective sunglasses can protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them from UV damage.

Lightweight, long-sleeved clothing made from breathable, UV-blocking fabrics can provide additional protection. Consider investing in a sun umbrella or seeking shade whenever possible, especially during peak sun hours from 10 AM to 4 PM, when UV radiation is strongest.

Hydrate Inside and Out

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key to maintaining healthy skin, especially in the summer when higher temperatures and increased activity levels can lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain the skin’s moisture balance and flush out toxins.

Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, adjusting for higher needs if you are active or spending significant time outdoors. Infusing water with fruits like lemon, cucumber, or berries can make hydration more enjoyable and provide additional vitamins.

Hydrating Products

In addition to drinking water, use topical hydrating products to keep your skin plump and moisturized. Serums and moisturizers with hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times their weight in water, making them excellent for maintaining skin hydration.

Glycerin, aloe vera, and ceramides are also beneficial ingredients that help to restore the skin’s barrier and retain moisture. Apply these products to damp skin for better absorption and follow with a light moisturizer to seal in hydration.

Incorporate Antioxidants

Topical Antioxidants

Antioxidants are crucial in protecting the skin from the oxidative stress caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants. Products containing vitamin C can help brighten the skin and even out skin tone, while vitamin E provides additional protection against UV damage and supports skin repair.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is another powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation, improve skin elasticity, and enhance the skin’s barrier function. Incorporate these ingredients into your morning routine, applying them after cleansing and before sunscreen.

Antioxidant-Rich Diet

Supporting your skin from the inside is equally important. A diet rich in antioxidants can help to combat free radicals and promote overall skin health. Include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and nuts, which are high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as other beneficial antioxidants. Green tea and dark chocolate (in moderation) are also excellent sources of antioxidants.

Exfoliate Regularly, But Gently

Exfoliation Frequency

Exfoliation is key to removing dead skin cells that can accumulate and cause a dull complexion. However, over-exfoliating can lead to irritation and sensitivity, especially in the summer when the skin is already exposed to various stressors. Aim to exfoliate 1-2 times per week using gentle exfoliants.

Physical exfoliants with fine particles or chemical exfoliants containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid can effectively slough off dead skin cells without causing damage. Always follow exfoliation with a hydrating product to soothe and replenish the skin.

Repair and Soothe

After-Sun Care

Despite taking precautions, sunburns can sometimes occur. It’s important to treat sunburned skin promptly to minimize damage and discomfort. Aloe vera gel is a popular choice for soothing sunburn due to its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties.

Look for after-sun products containing ingredients like calendula, chamomile, and allantoin, which can help to calm irritated skin and promote healing. Hydrating sprays and mists with thermal water can also provide immediate relief and hydration.

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Hydrating Masks

Pamper your skin with hydrating masks to give it an extra boost of moisture and nutrients. Sheet masks, gel masks, and overnight masks with ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and cucumber extract can help to soothe, hydrate, and refresh the skin.

Use these masks once or twice a week, or more frequently if your skin feels particularly dry or stressed. Applying a mask after a day of sun exposure can help to replenish lost moisture and calm any irritation.

Adjust Lifestyle Habits

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can have diuretic effects, leading to dehydration and dull skin. While it’s fine to enjoy these beverages in moderation, try to balance their consumption with plenty of water. Opt for hydrating alternatives like herbal teas, infused water, or coconut water to keep your skin and body hydrated.

Get Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for skin regeneration and overall health. During sleep, your body undergoes repair processes, and lack of sleep can result in dull, tired-looking skin and exacerbated skin conditions. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to give your skin the time it needs to repair and rejuvenate.

Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can improve sleep quality, such as limiting screen time before bed, creating a comfortable sleeping environment, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Consult a Dermatologist

Dermatologists can offer tailored advice based on your specific skin type, concerns, and environmental factors. Regular check-ups can help to monitor any changes in your skin and address issues early.

If you have persistent skin problems, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, or sensitivity, a dermatologist can recommend treatments or prescription products to effectively manage these conditions. Additionally, they can perform skin checks to detect any early signs of skin cancer or other serious skin issues.


By following these dermatologist-recommended steps, you can ensure your skin remains healthy, radiant, and resilient throughout the summer. Emphasizing protection, hydration, and gentle care will help your skin withstand the season’s challenges, allowing you to enjoy the sunny days with confidence.

Remember, consistent and mindful skincare is the key to long-term skin health and beauty.

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