Dermatologist Approved Guide to Summer Skin Care

While a perfect skin-care routine will work for you all year, these are the important steps you should keep on top of your mind as the weather gets warmer.
  • 25 Mar - 31 Mar, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

Dermatologists spend summers underneath the same sun as the rest of us, but somehow their skin manages to stay clear and glowing all season long. Even the professionals have to work harder to prevent breakouts and minimise sun damage during summer. Warm weather brings a whole slew of skin-care challenges like, "Do I really have to moisturise even if it's 100 degrees out?” (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

"A solid routine should be applicable to all seasons and all climates," says Omer Ibrahim, a board-certified dermatologist and co-director of clinical research. "With that said, there are a couple of changes one might consider when transitioning from winter to summer."


It's the most important, don't-leave-home-without-it tip: Wear sunscreen. Each of our experts recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin. Don't forget about hands, feet, ears, and lips. Allure Readers' Choice Award winner Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55 is a great choice for all of the above.

2. Lighten up your skin-care routine.

If you're not wearing a winter coat, why should your skin? "In the summer, I generally remind patients that, just like their wardrobe, their skin-care routine may need to be a little more lightweight," says Ibrahim. The humidity of summer means you can swap out a heavier cleanser (think cream or oil cleanser) in favour of a gentle, foaming option. We love the AHC Aqualuronic Cleanser for being so airy yet so hydrating.

3. Adopt a dual-purpose moisturiser.

To help lighten things up, Ibrahim says you could consider switching to a combination moisturiser and sunscreen during summer. "A lightweight moisturiser with SPF of 30 may be plenty for most people," he says, as long as you're applying a generous amount and reapplying every couple of hours. He notes thicker moisturisers can lead to clogged pores and acne; especially if you have oily skin. Try Olay Whip Active Moisturiser with Sunscreen, which offers hydration and SPF 40 protection.

4. Don't stop moisturising completely.

"Despite the weather being hot and humid, you still need to moisturise," says Nava Greenfield, a board-certified dermatologist. Even if your skin feels oily, you should always follow cleansing with a moisturiser. "Moisturisers reestablish your outermost layer of the skin, which protects from harmful pollutants and prevents further irritation," says Ariel Ostad, a dermatologic surgeon. The combination moisturiser/SPF will help keep that outer layer nourished without feeling too heavy on your skin.

5. Invest in a good vitamin C serum.

"Vitamin C is great year-round, but all the more important in the summer," says Ibrahim. Vitamin C helps prevent hyperpigmentation, improve the appearance of fine lines, and can help with collagen production. Layer a few drops on your skin between cleansing and moisturiser.

6. Don't forget to exfoliate.

Dermatologists are often reminding us not to over-exfoliate, but in the summertime, 'tis the season to slough away. If you have oily skin, Ostad suggests incorporating "more exfoliation" into your skin-care. Sure not a daily dose of acids, but try slowly increasing the days you exfoliate per week. He recommends AHA pads to "open up blocked pores and remove oils that result in acne." One great option: L'Ore´al Brightening Peel Pads, made with 10 per cent glycolic acid. AHAs can make skin more photosensitive, making sunscreen even more important.

7. Make sure your makeup is non-comedogenic.

Take a close look at your makeup product labels and keep those that are non-comedogenic, products formulated without pore-clogging ingredients. Especially over the summer, Greenfield recommends her patients "wear makeup that is not going to occlude your skin.We love Milk Makeup's Hydro Grip Primer.