How many women can say they audit their cosmetic cabinet once a year? Making room for more effective ingredients in the summer is akin to stowing away your winter coat and boots. Sure, you could still wear them, but wouldn’t you be more comfortable in something that’s weather-appropriate? Not only that, but many of your cosmetic products have expiration dates ranging anywhere from three to 30 months, meaning now is as good a time as any to reassess your stockpile. While many people find their skin is generally more tolerable in the summer months, for the vast majority of us, the heat brings about a confusing mix of simultaneous dryness and oiliness alongside melting makeup and a dash of spontaneous breakouts. Not my idea of summer fun. The quick science behind most of these skincare issues boils down to the fact that heat and humidity increases oil production from the sebaceous glands which leads to, you guessed it, clogged pores. While your sebaceous glands have good and noble intent behind this action—which is to cool you down—it’s a huge problem for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin. At the same time, you’ll also be dealing with salt water, chlorine, and the sun, all of which contribute to dryness. Thankfully, we have a few recommended product swaps and some extra precautions for you to follow in order to strike that summer-skincare balance. For this time of year, your skincare checklist should include: removing any heavy oils from your current lineup, incorporating a toner, getting into gel-based cleansers and moisturizers, upping your sun protection, and finally, rethinking your retinol use.
1 Toners’ time
to shine Let’s start with toners. Modern toners have come a long way from their alcohol-forward first iterations and many today are formulated with added hydration. Though they can still be too astringent for some skin types in winter, they are a great way to balance your skin’s pH and control excess oil in the summer. Finding the right one is definitely a Goldilocks conundrum but I’m a firm believer that there’s a toner out there for everyone. Your tone-mate if you will.
2 Are you gellin’?
If cleansing milks and any super-rich creams got you through the winter, they might be too much of a good thing come summertime. Recommended swap: go with a gel-based cleanser and/or moisturizer. These water-based options offer enough moisture without the added pore-clogging oils and emollients that exist in their cream counterparts. Many have the added bonus of being very soothing, with an almost aloe-vera-esque cooling sensation.
3 Prioritize sun
protection Sun protection at this time of year is of course a no-brainer. It likely goes without saying that in not applying sunscreen or sunblock on the regular, you put yourself at risk for a variety of skin irritations which includes everything from seemingly benign
4 REDUCE YOUR RETINOL
Retinol is a skincare wunderkind and one of the best, if not the best, active ingredients for smoothing lines and signs of aging. But everyone has their flaws. For retinol, that happens to be increased sun sensitivity. This isn’t great news for anyone who plans to be beach or pool-side at any point this summer. You’ll likely have few problems if you keep your retinol use to nighttime applications and continue to be extra diligent with the sunscreen. But the other option is choosing an effective and sun-safe retinol alternative to try instead. Bakuchiol is one and though it’s been lauded as “nature’s retinol” in recent years, it’s actually been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for decades. The pseudo-retinol effects include increased collagen production; reversal of photodamage; and improvements in pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. What makes it better for right now: it’s all done without the usual side effects of dryness, redness, and sun sensitivity. Low-risk and high-reward skincare swap if you ask me. And don’t worry; it’s not goodbye to your beloved retinol, just a see you later. Issues such as redness, heat rash, and sunspots to more-concerning serious conditions like skin cancer. Your first line of defence is sunblock and minimizing your exposure when the sun is at its strongest (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). But that’s just doing the minimum, meaning it certainly wouldn’t hurt to consider some extra measures to protect those super-sensitive areas like your scalp and eyes. Sun damage on your scalp can cause dandruff and dry, brittle hair while UV light is a known factor in developing cataracts and damaging the retina. So if you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time, channel your inner-Real Housewife and invest in a fabulous, floppy sun hat and big sunglasses on top of regular sunscreen applications.
Last but not least
Now that you’re set up for summertime skin success, there’s just one more golden rule to remember: low and slow is always the best approach. Whether your routine needs a ton of adjustments or just one or two tweaks, it’s important to gradually incorporate any changes you do make, and as always consult with your dermatologist.