12 Expert Swaps to Adjust Your Skin Care for Warmer Weather

12 Expert Swaps to Adjust Your Skin Care for Warmer Weather featured image
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While the (very accurate) word on the street may be to reapply sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen as we spend more time outside on sunny days, the experts say these lesser-known summer skin care moves are smart to make with the changing of the season.

Switch Out Your Facial Oil

We hadn’t heard this one before, but New York aesthetician Vicki Morav says she does not recommend using oils during the summer because of what she calls the “negative effect” they have when in contact with the sun’s rays. “They can become rancid and can create discoloration on the skin,” she explains. “If you still want to use your facial oil, switch to using it only at night during the summer months.”

Don’t Let Your SPF Last Too Long

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), dermatologists recommend using sunscreen every day when you are outside—not just during the summer. The society’s official stance: “If you are using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a bottle should not last long.” While many sunscreens list an expiration date right on the bottle and the FDA does require all sunscreens to be formulated to last three years, if you aren’t sure (i.e., you have some hanging around from last summer), the AAD advises to look for visible signs that the sunscreen may no longer be good. “Any obvious changes in the color or consistency of the product mean it’s time to purchase a new bottle.”

Up Your Acne Fighting

If it seems like your acne revs up during the warmer months, you aren’t making it up. According to the AAD, when sweat (hi, hot days) mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores. If you have acne-prone skin, this often equates breakouts. The Academy’s best advice: Blot sweat from your skin with a clean towel or cloth. Wiping sweat off can irritate your skin, which can lead to a breakout. And wash sweaty clothes, headbands, towels, and hats before wearing them again.

Reach for Hyaluronic Acid

Phoenix, AZ dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal says he typically recommends using hyaluronic acid serums when the summer hits. “They’re great for both dry and humid weather, and the goal is to keep the skin hydrated.”

Get in the Reapply Routine

Also in line with the “wear sunscreen” theme, Campbell, CA dermatologist Amelia K. Hausauer, MD always recommends carrying a powder sunscreen in your bag so you can touch up at all times. “I generally recommend this year-round but, in the summer, people are more likely to be away from their homes with less readily available sunscreen. Plus, they’re outdoors during peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so it’s important to reapply every two hours. Powders are a good way—in combo with SPF lip care—to do this frequently even if wearing makeup.”

Consider a Chemical SPF

The best SPF is the one you’ll use, but Dr. Lal says to consider this for lightweight chemical sunscreens: “They are thinner and better tolerated in summer environments.”

Edit Your Style

While this one hits more fashion and less beauty, it has some serious skin-saving benefits all the same. “In the summer, you want to grab your brimmed hat and sunglasses!” says Prospect, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD, who also advises reapplying SPF diligently and, in addition to the face, not forgetting the ears, neck, chest and hands. “If you summer lifestyle is spent mostly outdoors, I highly recommend rash guards as an adjunct,” adds Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD. Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman is also a fan of SPF clothing: “Wear it whenever possible, along with proper use of sunscreen.”

Make Sure Your Makeup Has More

“In Dallas spring and summer are hot!” says Dallas dermatologist Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD. “I make sure to double up on my sunscreen and sun protection. I wear my sunscreen as makeup. There are so many great cosmetically elegant options.”

Swap Out Your Cleanser

When the weather is humid, it can lead to more oil production and sweating, causing congestion and potential breakouts. “I like to use more lytic cleansers with AHA/BHA and salicylic acid, and move away from cream-based cleansers,” Dr. Houshmand says.

Make Moisturizer Moves

“I move away from thick creams, to light moisturizers like a hydrating serum in the summer,” Dr. Houshmand says.

Watch the Actives

As Morav warns, “If you are not going to be diligent with sunblock, switch to using your acids and retinoids at night—or just stop using them altogether. The damage will be bigger than the benefits they have to offer.” While Dr. Lal is a fan of actives, he offers this advice: “You may want to stop retinol if you are very photosensitive or reduce use to two times a week. And reapply sunscreen if you are going to be outside and using actives.”

Weave in a Spray

It’s simple, but it’s derm-approved: “Consider getting a thermal spring water to mist your skin in the heat if you are on-the-go and don’t have time to actively cool down,” recommends Dr. Lal.

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