Your Summer Detox Skincare Routine: Make the Weather Work for You!

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

Every time summer comes around, we immediately start to plan a schedule full of fun activities to make the most of the sunniest days of the year. To go along with this, we picture our summer skin as fresh, glowy, and sunkissed. But the increased sun exposure and hot weather can also negatively impact your complexion and cause different skin problems.

Keep reading to learn how to create your summer detox skincare routine work for you.

How weather affects your skin in the summer

During the summer, the days are longer and warmer, affecting your skin in several ways. The hot weather and increased sun radiation make it easier for your skin to lose its hydration and increase its oil production. This can result in different skin problems, which can include:

  • Acne breakouts
  • Oily skin (particularly on your T-zone)
  • Clogged pores
  • Blackheads
  • Heat rash
  • Dry, irritated skin
  • Folliculitis
  • Melasma
  • Sunburns

Keep in mind that the changes in the weather will affect your skin differently depending on where you live, since different geographic locations have varying UV indexes, which means that they receive more or less sunburn-producing ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Some skin types can also be more resistant to summer weather; however, we should all take steps to protect our skin during the summer.

Does your skin need a detox? Skin health indicators

As we mentioned above, not everyone will need the same detox skin care routine due to different geographical locations and personal skincare requirements. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your skin health so you can determine whether your skin needs a skincare detox during the summer. Some signs that could indicate that your skin needs a detox skincare routine include:

  • Excessive dryness
  • Redness
  • Rashes
  • Irritation
  • Pimples or burns
  • Hyperpigmented spots or patches
  • Visibly clogged pores

If you’re going to add new products to your skincare routine, it’s important to avoid switching or adding too many products at once. Instead, focus on adding one product at a time so you can monitor your reaction. If you notice unwanted skin changes after trying a new product, discontinue it and consider switching to a different option.

A woman doing her skincare in summer

Summer skincare essentials

Potent sunscreen

Wearing SPF every day is quite possibly the most important step you can take to keep your skin healthy during the summer — and around the year. SPF works by blocking the sun’s rays from penetrating into your skin. The sun’s UV rays can lead to different skin health problems, including:

  • Premature aging
  • Wrinkles
  • Melasma (darker spots)
  • Changes to the DNA in your skin cells
  • Skin cancer

The number on your SPF tells you how many minutes of sun exposure it would take for your skin to become reddened or burned, so it’s important to reapply your sunscreen when that time has elapsed. 

Your summer detox routine should always include sunscreen, even on days when you won’t be out in the sun directly. 

Sun damage is cumulative, and wearing sunscreen every day is important to make sure you prevent as much of this damage as possible, especially during sunny summer days.

Moisturizing

Just because your skin produces more oil during the summer doesn’t mean that you should skip moisturizer. On the contrary, dehydrated skin can actually produce more oil in an effort to retain moisture, which can worsen your summer skin problems.

Your summer skincare routine should always include a lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog your pores but will keep your skin moisturized and healthy. Try to choose non-comedogenic or oil-free skincare products during the summer, since they can help prevent acne breakouts and will be absorbed faster by your skin.

Moisturizer as part of a summer skincare routine

It’s especially important to moisturize after swimming in the pool or the beach, since the salt or chemicals in the water can dry out your skin and increase your risk of skin issues. It’s also a good idea to carry a small tube of moisturizer in your purse or backpack so you can reapply it whenever your skin starts to feel dry throughout the day.

Lighter make-up

It’s perfectly normal to sweat more during the summer — it happens to practically all of us. But despite the fact that sweating is a normal function of the human body, it can worsen certain skin problems during the summer, especially when it’s combined with other factors.

During the summer, heavy makeup can mix with sweat, bacteria, oil, sunscreen, and other skincare products and clog your pores. And as we all know, clogged pores can quickly lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and even acne breakouts.

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To prevent this, opt for lighter makeup looks during the summer to let your skin breathe more easily. You should also make sure to remove your makeup every day before going to bed, or if you’re going to engage in physical activity. Swimming with your makeup on is also a bad idea, since it provides the perfect environment for any harmful bacteria to adhere to, further increasing your risk of breakouts.

Exfoliation

Even with a light makeup and skincare routine, there’s no denying that it’s easier for your pores to become clogged during the summer. Dead skin cells, sunscreen, makeup, skincare products, sweat, and oil all combine and create a film on your face that can leave your pores blocked and irritated.

Exfoliating regularly can help prevent this problem. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you can exfoliate once or twice a week to prevent clogged pores and reduce any blemishes on your skin. However, you shouldn't exfoliate too often either, since excessive exfoliation can irritate your skin and even cause burns. You should also avoid exfoliating if you have a sunburn in order to let your skin heal.

Is tanning good for summer skincare?

Even if you don’t get a sunburn, any degree of tanning means that your skin is being damaged by the UV rays. However, that doesn’t mean that sunlight is all bad. In fact, mild and controlled sun exposure does have significant health benefits, which include:

  • Promotes vitamin D production
  • Stimulates the secretion of melatonin and supports better sleep
  • Boosts your mood
  • Improves symptoms of mental health conditions
  • Protects your bone health

However, this doesn’t mean that you should lower your defenses against excessive sun exposure. For most people, 10 to 30 minutes of midday sun exposure is more than enough to reap all the health benefits of sunlight, so you should still make sure to protect your skin every day.

Tanning, on the other hand, can accelerate skin aging, worsen eye damage, and cause DNA changes that can eventually lead to different types of cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

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Tanning booths are just as harmful, if not more, than sun tanning. If you want to show off a tan during the summer, experts recommend using self-tanning lotions until you reach the skin tone that you desire.

Other means to keep your skin healthy

In addition to making changes to your skincare routine, your summer detox should also include other methods to keep your skin protected from the environment and warm weather.

Some additional means to keep your skin healthy during the summer include:

Natural fabrics

Natural fabrics are light and airy, allowing your body heat to dissipate faster and sweat to evaporate. Keeping your body dry can prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria that could infect irritated skin. Clothing also protects your skin from UV rays, and you should try to cover most of your body with light clothes if you’re going to be out in the sun.

You should also avoid rewearing sweaty clothes without washing them between wears, since bacteria can accumulate in the fabric and increase the risk of acne breakouts, pimples, and other skin infections.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide another protective barrier between your skin and the sun. The skin on your eyelids and around your eyes is the thinnest, most delicate skin on your entire body, and it’s important to take extra steps to keep it protected from the sun.

Sunglasses with UV protection will keep this part of your face safe from the harmful effects of the sun. 

Additionally, sunglasses can prevent sun damage to your eyes, which can lead to eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygium, light sensitivity, and photokeratitis.

Hats

Hats can provide yet another protective layer for your face. A wide-brimmed hat or cap will provide shade for your face and neck, protecting the delicate skin in these areas. But it’s also important to protect your scalp, since sunburns and even skin cancer can affect it. A hat will also protect your eyes from the sun.

Wrapping up

Keeping your skin healthy during the summer is easy, as long as you follow some protective measures and give your skin the summer detox that it probably needs. Simple steps, such as wearing sunscreen, moisturizing, and exfoliating regularly can make a huge difference in the appearance and condition of your skin during the summer, and you’ll be free to enjoy all your favorite summer activities without worrying about your skin!

September 30, 2022