Just because that “perfect summer glow” looks natural doesn’t necessarily mean it actually is. The truth is that the “natural” look that many people strive to achieve during the summer months is all too often skin that is too dry from being overly exposed to the sun.
At the same time, however, protecting our skin from the sun during summer isn’t as simple as applying and reapplying sunscreen when we’re outside. Here are a few tips and a skincare routine that can help you keep your skin healthy and glowing all season long.
By Paul Charette, Founder — Charette Cosmetics
Sun protection is the first step to summer skincare
Sunscreen is the foundation of any summer skincare routine. Without it, you leave your skin vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays, sunburn, and more serious conditions such as skin cancer. If you want maximum skin protection during summer, you need to apply sunscreen to exposed skin at least 20 minutes before going outdoors.
This is one reason why I always recommend healthier mineral sunscreens, rather than chemical sunscreens that your skin must absorb to ensure their effectiveness. Mineral-based sunscreens are able to deflect the sun’s harmful UV rays while remaining on your skin’s surface, and the key active ingredients in mineral-based sunscreens, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
When purchasing sunscreen, always check the label for a list of active ingredients. If you see zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in the list, you know you have a mineral-based sunscreen.
For broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, I recommend a mineral-based, broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen — preferably one with lactic and hyaluronic acids. These lotions not only protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays today, but also from premature aging.
One important thing we often forget to protect is our lips, so don’t forget to apply lip balm with SPF every time you go outside during summer! And when it comes to the rest of your skincare routine, make sure to only apply makeup after applying your sunscreen. If you reverse this process, your foundation may clog pores and cause breakouts.
Added sun protection for your skin
In addition to broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat will help keep you shaded while you’re outdoors during those hot summer days. The American Cancer Society recommends wearing hats with at least a 2 to 3-inch brim to provide ample protection for delicate parts of your face, such as your ears, forehead, eyes, cheeks, and neck.
When you are out in the sun, your eyes — just like the rest of your face — are also exposed to UV rays. To help protect them from damage, always wear sunglasses that offer full UV protection. This will also reduce squinting, which is known to create excess wrinkles around your eyes over time.
If possible, avoid being out for extended periods between the hours of 10am and 4pm when ultraviolet radiation levels are at their highest. If you do plan to be out all day, make sure to wear sun-protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
Why you need to moisturize in the summer
Moisturizing is a crucial step in any skincare routine, but it’s especially important during the summer months. Heat and humidity tend to wreak havoc on the skin, dry out complexions, and leave faces looking dull.
To choose an effective moisturizer, check the ingredients until you find a product containing hyaluronic acid, which replenishes our skin’s moisture and keeps it hydrated, resulting in a plump, smooth, and radiant complexion. You can also look for other hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, which helps keep skin feeling soft and smooth while minimizing shine and oil production.
The importance of antioxidants in a summer skincare routine
We all love the summer sun, but we don’t all love what it does to our skin. The sun’s UV rays are more intense during the summer, and this leads to an increased risk of sunburn and long-term damage. In addition, the sun’s UV rays generate free radicals in our skin, causing oxidative stress and contributing to premature aging, sunspots, and other skin concerns.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea extract help neutralize these free radicals and protect the skin from UV-induced damage. Incorporating antioxidant-rich products into your summer skincare routine can help you enhance your skin’s natural defense against UV radiation.
Our recommended summer skincare routine
To keep your skin looking dewy and hydrated, I recommend starting and ending your day with an exfoliating cleanser to deep clean and reduce oil production. This will remove accumulated dirt or makeup and prepare your face for the rest of your skincare routine.
Next, apply an antioxidant mist to help tone and balance your skin. This toner is an essential step in any skincare routine because it balances your skin’s pH levels and preps your face for your moisturizer. Most importantly, ensure your toner is alcohol-free, as products with alcohol can irritate the sensitive areas around your eyes and mouth where your skin has fewer oil glands.
After this step, apply your skincare serum. In summer, a serum with vitamin C is a must. Known for its antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals generated by sun exposure and environmental stressors. When applied topically, vitamin C reduces the damage caused by UV rays and minimizes the appearance of sunspots and hyperpigmentation.
UV exposure also accelerates collagen breakdown, leading to premature aging signs like fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C is essential in the building of collagen, a protein that provides structural support to your skin. Furthermore, vitamin C has brightening properties that even your skin tone and diminish dullness and discoloration, which can be particularly useful during the summer when the skin is prone to uneven pigmentation due to sun exposure.
The final step in your summer skincare routine is moisturizing. During the summer months, the importance of keeping your skin hydrated cannot be overstated. I recommend you moisturize twice a day, every day.
No one should have to choose between looking good and spending time outside during summer, but when you’re ready to take in the summer sun and all the fun that comes with it, remember to protect your skin using these simple steps. By making sure you take care of your skin properly during summer, you will see the world of difference it makes throughout the rest of the year.