Summer is full of long, sunny days, beach time, and vacations, but it's also the time of year when the sun's rays are at their peak. It's essential to establish a proper skincare routine during this time of the year to protect, nourish, and hydrate your skin.
UV Skinz sat down with Board Certified Dermatologist Alexandra Zeitany MD, FAAD to discuss the best summer skincare tips to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful this summer season.
Summer Skincare Tips with a Board Certified Dermatologist
Can You Tell Us More About Yourself and What You Specialize In?
I am a board certified dermatologist practicing just outside of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I see patients of all ages and practice medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. I am also a mom to two little boys (1 and 4 years old) and the experience of being a mother has shaped my practice almost as much as my medical training!
Why Is It Important to Take Care of Your Skin Over Summer?
We should take care of our skin year round, but during the summer months the sun’s UV radiation is even more intense so it’s easier to accumulate photodamage that can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer later in life.
What Are Your Top Tips for Caring for Your Skin During This Time of the Year?
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Skincare tip number one during the summer is to protect your skin from the sun.
Sunscreen is important year round, but it’s especially important to practice excellent sun safety in the summer when the sun’s UV rays are more intense.
You want to apply sunscreen every morning. But you also want to make it easy to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Put sunscreen in high traffic areas (like by the door or in your car) and stock up on versions that are easy to reapply, like powders or sunscreen sprays.
Incorporate an Acne Wash Into Your Skincare Routine
We also tend to sweat more during the summer. This sweat can lead to acne not just on your face but on your body as well. That’s why I often recommend patients incorporate an acne wash (like benzoyl peroxide) into their skincare routine. You can leave a wash like this in the shower and use it on your face and body.
What Type of Sunscreen Should You Wear Over Summer and How Often Should You Re-apply It?
During the summer, I recommend an SPF of at least 50. You want to ensure it has both UVA and UVB coverage, (so it should be labeled “broad spectrum”) and I recommend finding one labeled “water resistant.”
No sunscreen is truly waterproof, but water resistant sunscreens will stand up better not just to water activities, but also sweat. If you are prone to acne, look for “oil free” or “non-comedogenic” formulations, especially on the face. Otherwise, the best sunscreen is the one you will use!
How Can You Protect Your Skin from the Sun if You Spend Most of Your Time Outdoors?
Really we should think of sunscreen as our third line of defense from the sun.
The first step in protecting your skin is to try to plan your outdoor activities when the sun’s rays are less intense (before 10AM or after 4PM). Try to stay out of the sun by seeking shade.
Your next “line of defense” is your clothing. UPF clothing provides consistent protection from the sun’s radiation and you don’t have to reapply sunscreen. Don’t forget wide brimmed hats and sunglasses. And THEN your sunscreen helps protect whatever skin is still exposed.
Should You Change Your Skin Care Routine for Summer?
I always remind my patients that the skin is a dynamic organ. It changes in response to your environment. So, often the summer heat and increased humidity require us to change our skincare routine to best meet our skin’s needs.
With the increased humidity, you often don’t need heavy duty moisturizers. And in fact, over moisturizing can lead to acne. So I recommend more light weight, oil free facial lotions during the summer.
You also want to be aware of any products that may cause sun sensitivity (like retinols). You may need to hold off on these products during the height of summer and restart them back up in the fall when the sun’s rays are less intense.
What Are Some Skin Care Summer Tips for Babies?
A baby’s skin is not hardened to the sun like an adult's skin, so they are even more susceptible to the damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV radiation.
There is even some evidence that sunburns in childhood increase your risk of skin cancer even more than sunburns later in life. All of that to say, protecting your baby’s skin from the sun is extremely important. But it is also challenging because some sunscreens are off limits until your child is 6 months old and toddler’s often resist applying sunscreen.
Here are my recommendations as a dermatologist and a mom of two on how to care for your baby's skin this summer:
For children less than 6 months old: Opt for baby UPF swimwear and clothing as much as possible. Then apply a physical blocking (think zinc and titanium oxide), fragrance-free sunscreen to any exposed skin. Apply this immediately before heading outdoors, and remove with water and a washcloth when you come inside.
For children older than 6 months: You can apply sunscreen more liberally, but I still recommend physical blockers and fragrance-free formulations. I find my kids love to apply zinc sticks on their own. I let them apply first then I touch up and we practice “taking turns.” UPF swimwear and clothing is also great for this age group, as are baby wide brimmed hats.
Can You Tell Us What Not to Do In Terms of Summer Skin Care?
Many people have the misconception that getting a base tan is a “healthier” way to get a tan, so they will get in a tanning bed or start laying out in the sun in the spring to prepare for the summer. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a safe tan. If a golden glow is what you desire, opt for a sunless tanner instead.
What Else Can You Do to Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer?
With the summer heat often comes increased sweating. When this sweat mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores and lead to breakouts.
So, whenever you sweat, blot it away with a clean towel or cloth (one of my favorite “hacks” is using baby wipes) before it has time to dry on your skin and clog your pores.
Make sure you blot, and not wipe, as wiping can cause irritation which in turn can cause further breakouts. Also, always make sure to wash your sweaty clothes, headbands, towels, and hats before wearing them again.
We so appreciate Alexandra Zeitany's MD, FAAD summer skincare advice. For more skincare tips, find her on Instagram. And don't forget to check out our new summer arrivals, here to help your skin stay protected all year long.