I don’t have to sell you on how wonderful summer is. Long weekends, shorter work days on Friday, copious backyard barbecues, and pool time are all activities that speak for themselves.
Summer skin care tips
Of course, this obviously means you’re going to be spending a lot more time in the sun. While this is definitely a good thing, warm temps, humid conditions, the blazing sun, and salt- and chlorine-infused water can take a toll on your skin.
Common issues include acne breakouts, sun allergies and burns, folliculitis, and dry/irritated skin—but only if you’re not prepared.
9 ways to keep your glow all summer
So, somewhere in between shopping for your new swimsuit and planning your at-home outdoor activities, check out this list of 9 tips to ensure your skin will be glowing all season long.
1. Wear SPF
I’m going to start with the most obvious yet often also the most overlooked tip: Wear SPF every single time you’re outdoors—even if there’s cloud cover because up to 80 percent of UV rays can still pass through.
Reapply after swimming and excessive sweating (ideally, every couple of hours) and don’t forget those overlooked areas like ears, behind the knees, lips (get a specific balm for that), and tops of the feet. In case you’re wondering whether or not foundation or face powder with SPF is enough to protect your skin, the answer is no, according to experts—including yours truly.
In fact, even a moisturizer may not be enough during these active, warm-weather months, so invest in an SPF 30 or higher. In case you need more convincing, clothing won’t protect you (unless it’s made for the sun) and contrary to belief, (shocker) you can still acquire sun damage after the age 18.
2. Up the antioxidant ante
While I just talked about the importance of protecting yourself from the sun, research suggests that even though sunscreen with an SPF of 15 and up can block up to 94 percent of UV rays, any extraneous light can still attract free radicals, thus creating fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
One of the best ways to draw antioxidants into your skin is via a concentrated serum comprised of ingredients such as vitamins E and C, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, polyphenols, green tea, flavonoids, niacinamide, and glutathione.
Note while retinol (vitamin A) is also a great option, it’s not favored in the summertime as it increases sun sensitivity (AKA burn potential) which makes it counteractive to use this time of the year. Keep this anti-aging powerhouse for fall and winter seasons when you’re less apt to be exposed to the sun.
3. Apply moisturizer after swimming
Perpetual hydration of your skin is equally as important as drinking water when you’re in the sun, heat, and/or humidity (more on that later!). In truth, this shouldn’t just be a “summer tip.”
Anytime you sweat (read: working out, hustling to the office) or take a shower, your body is stripped of its natural oils, therefore it’s important to properly cleanse your skin and rehydrate what Mother Nature and life has taken out.
Note I’m not talking about when you emerge from the pool or sea and plan on staying in the sun (reference the SPF tips above), rather, as a part of your daily beauty routine.
Sun, chlorine, and salt water are three culprits that contribute to dry, flaky skin, so it’s crucial that you regularly exfoliate your face and body to encourage revitalized skin.
Exfoliating also helps your products work more efficiently because they will be able to penetrate into the skin versus sitting on top of dead cells. Use a mildly abrasive scrub with an enzyme component to dissolve the intercellular responsible for holding onto dead skin.
Never exfoliate broken or sunburnt skin as this you’ll only cause further irritation. I also don’t recommend getting peels during the summer months because your skin will be more susceptible to burning.
5. Be mindful of water temperature
Even if you’re not consciously trying to get sun, it’s likely that you’ll get some regardless. With that in mind, make sure you’re washing your face and showering with tepid water—not hot—to prevent irritating sun-kissed skin.
6. Drink plenty of water
It’s easy to become dehydrated quickly when spending time out in the hot sun, so make an effort to keep water with you at all times.
Along with aiding in absorption, excretion, and digestion, water also helps your organs function properly—including your skin. Just think about what you look like the next day after having one too many glasses of rosé…
7. Use a mask once a week
Many people forgo masking because they feel it takes too much time, but there are so many different formulas these days, there’s really no room for excuses. For example, you could replace your night cream with an ultra-hydrating sleep mask one to two times a week.
The formula goes on like a moisturizer, so you need no worry about getting product on your pillowcase. Masking is a great way to replenish moisture and give the appearance of revitalized skin.
8. Lighten’ up your makeup routine
Sweaty, oily skin does not make for a good base for makeup, so lighten up your routine if you want to prevent breakouts and clogged pores. Opt for a tinted balm with SPF, waterproof mascara, and a tinted moisturizer with sun protection in lieu of your full routine.
9. Get a faux glow
Just because you’re covered in sunscreen from head-to-toe doesn’t mean you can’t have color, too. Fake tans have come a long way over the years, so you need not worry about getting the yam look of yesteryear.
While I highly suggest getting a professional airbrush tan for a perfectly even glow that lasts anywhere between seven to ten days, there are a bevy of great over-the-counter formulas that make home tanning easy. I prefer the aerosol tanners as they are more fool-proof than creams, mousses, or gels, but the key is finding one that you’re most comfortable with.
Whatever you do, don’t rush the application process and be sure to exfoliate and shave first.
Don't neglect summer skin care!
While summer is a great time to slow down a bit, don’t become so lazy that you neglect your skin care routine. The elements are no joke, so adjust your regimen to support the current needs of your skin, whether that means using a lighter moisturizer to combat oil or regularly using a hydrating mask to treat sun parched skin.
This simple rule of thumb will help you have a glowing complexion all season long!
12 summer skin problems you can prevent, American Academy of Dermatology Association, https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/summer-skin-problems
Six common sun myths exposed, CNN, July 11 2012, https://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/10/living/guide-to-sun-safety/index.html
Bad news: your SPF moisturizer isn’t working hard enough, Byrdie, April 16 2019,
Study shows antioxidants play vital role in protecting skin, Science Daily, September 3 2001, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010903092015.htm
Rebecca Taras has over ten years of editorial and copywriting experience, including serving as an editor for hot digital spaces like Refinery29, PopSugar, Forbes Travel Guides, and Bustle. Along with contributing to print and digital outlets, she currently handles copywriting for some of the biggest brands in the beauty and travel industries.
A Chicagoland native, Taras began her career catering to celebrity clientele as an esthetician at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel before launching her own line of bath and body care products with her previous bath and body care company, Cleansing Queen. Rebecca also created custom in-room amenities for the Sofitel Hotel Chicago, including items featured in a special presentation for the president of AccorHotels upon his visit from France to Chicago. Her efforts were recognized by the Chicago Fashion Foundation, and she received the Style Maker and Rule Breaker award in the Beauty category.
Ultimately, Rebecca’s initiatives evolved into the co-founding of Terminal Getaway airport spas, now located at Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International, Orlando International, and Chicago O’Hare International airports. Though she is no longer involved with Terminal Getaway, her passion for beauty and travel not only persisted over the years but grew.
As Rebecca continued to refine her skincare knowledge, she spent a considerable amount of time as a journalist covering beauty and other topics. Rebecca’s diverse body of knowledge, experience, and an insatiable curiosity for faraway places culminated in Well-Traveled Beauty, an upcoming skincare line and travel website. The company’s initial offerings will be a line of results-driven, travel-friendly beauty products that take the guesswork out of figuring out what to pack.
A global traveler with a passion for Paris, Taras finally decided to live the Parisian way of life on the daily and call the City of Light home.