As we enjoy every bit of outdoor freedom we can get this summer, we have to remember that it also is a delicate time for your skin. For one, the sun is out longer, and it is more intense. Also, humidity is higher, so we won’t blame you for wanting to swap out some of your skincare to feel more comfortable.
Depending on where you live, your winter moisturizer may not feel like a great fit for summer, and you probably want to change it up to something lighter. This is likely the case if you experience very distinct seasons with humidity levels that vary significantly. It will help to understand the main components of your moisturizer so you can determine the texture that works best for the season.
Humectants are your water-based molecules that hold on to moisture. They are light and comfortable. Examples are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, sodium PCA, and urea.
Emollients are your lightweight oils that smooth out the skin.
Occlusives seal in moisture by forming a protective layer on the surface of your skin to prevent moisture loss. They tend to be the heavier waxes like beeswax, petrolatum, silicones and shea butter.
- If humidity is high where you are, then you’ll want to lean more on the humectants, and go lighter on the occlusives, as they may feel heavy in the summer. Products with alcohol (yes, alcohol is not evil and has its place in skincare) will also work well as they have a cooling effect that is comfortable during the summer months.
- If you live in a desert climate, you will probably still need the humectant and occlusive combo to maintain hydration throughout the day.
- If humidity is not really an issue, then you may not feel the need to swap out products; skincare is very personal, do what feels best for your skin.
Sun sensitivity is real and actives like retinol and alpha hydroxyl acids (aha) make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Also, tyrosinase inhibitors, i.e., ingredients that prevent production of melanin, have an uphill task in the summertime, so be extra diligent with your sunscreen application. Niacinamide and Vitamin C are great compliments to your sunscreen routine, especially in the summer. Peptides are also great in the summer, and there are no photo sensitivity concerns with its use.
The skin’s temperature can get up to 104 degrees after only about 15 mins in direct summer midday sunlight. This heat shock can induce premature aging, so limiting exposure to direct sunlight especially when the intensity if high is a great skincare practice. Speaking of cool, here’s a fun summer skincare tip: pop your favorite hydrating mask in the fridge for 15 mins before applying it. It’s so refreshingly cool, you may never go back to your room temperature method.
Finally, don’t forget to wash your face, the increased humidity during the summer attracts grime and your diligent sunscreen application, all have to be washed off at night.