When it’s summertime, we make happy switches to celebrate the season—from boots to flip-flops, from canned tomatoes to fresh ones, from sweaters to sundresses, and from winter skin to summer skin. But how do you make the best of the season and your skin health?
The better you understand the effect the season can have on your skin, the better you can prepare for a Fourth of July-worthy summer glow. If you want to enhance your anti-aging skincare routine from May to September, here’s your guide to summer skincare essentials.
What Does Summer Do to Your Skin?
There are some things that you typically only do in the summertime, like drinking mint juleps and cooling your feet in an inflatable kiddie pool. But summer also brings its own unique effects to our skin health.
Increased Oil Production – Hot and humid weather encourages the body to sweat from every pore. It also encourages facial glands to produce more oil. Increased oil production in our skin can trap dirt and grime in our pores and lead to summer breakouts.
Dryness – The heat of summer can also dry out the moisture in your skin. And if you love a good pool party, the chlorinated waters can often strip your skin of its natural oils and leave you with a dry and itchy face.
- Sunburns – The more fun you have in the sun, the more likely it is that you’ll get a sunburn from too much sun exposure. You know what that means—uncomfortable peeling and that just-boiled lobster hue.
But in the battle against aging, there are two ever-present dangers to face in summer—whatever crazy antics the kids have most recently gotten up to, and the sun. Okay, so really, there’s just one true danger. And your archnemesis’ most powerful weapon? Ultraviolet rays.
UV Rays and Your Skin Health
Ultraviolet rays, or UV rays, are a kind of radiation. Now, before you start flashing back to episodes of Chernobyl, just know that radiation is a form of energy. It’s a part of everyday life on earth (just ask the CDC)1. But some forms of energy can be more damaging than others. The ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes.2
Here are some ways UV rays can harm your skin:
Increase Fine Lines and Wrinkles – UV radiation hinders the body’s ability to produce Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important ingredient for skin cell growth. And without it, the fine lines and wrinkles become more noticeable. Thanks a lot, UV radiation.
Breakdown Collagen – Collagen is a protein that keeps skin firm and youthful. It’s also one of the first casualties of UV radiation. UV rays can penetrate through to the middle layers of the skin. Once the UV rays are in, they confuse the skin’s natural repair system into creating enzymes. Enzymes break down proteins, which is great for digestion and metabolism... not so great for our skin-plumping collagen.
Deeper Pigmentation and Melasma – UV rays cause your skin to darken. While sometimes that results in a tan, other times, UV rays darken melasma marks and intensify the age spots on your skin.
Because of the longer days, summer is naturally a UV-heavy time of year. In fact, around 70% of a person’s UV exposure happens during the summer. That means within three months; humans get more UV exposure than the remaining months of the year combined3.
Luckily, you have the power to defeat the sun’s evil UV rays... and look absolutely stunning while doing it.
How Can I Get Glowing Skin in Summer and Protect Against Aging?
The secret to glowing summer skin boils down to having a good skin care regimen to prevent premature aging and protect your skin. If you take good care of your skin and use the right skin care products to decrease sun damage from UV rays, it will show. To enjoy the best of summer sunshine activities and your best skin health, try adding these summer skin care tips to your routine:
Sunscreen, Sunscreen, and, oh yeah, SUNSCREEN
It’s called sunscreen, but it should probably be called skin-armor. The ingredients in sunscreen create a protective layer over your skin that absorbs the UV light before it can penetrate the dermis and cause long-term damage4. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF (30 or above is a good rule of thumb) before you apply your makeup. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
Summer SkinCare Tip: Not all sunscreens are created equal. The best anti-aging sunscreens are formulated to be lightweight, non-greasy, moisturizing, and packed with antioxidants to help fight wrinkle-causing free radicals. Some even come with a light tint for a CC-cream effect. So upgrade from the random sunscreen you found at your kid’s swim meet and start using a sunscreen designed for you, like this tinted sunscreen.
Karen Ragaini, one of the National Education and Training Managers at ALASTIN, talks about the importance of our tinted sunscreen in this video. Karen says, “I grew up on sunscreen, and when I found this, it was like a dream come true. This is so much more than just a sunscreen. It has antioxidants and a really cool ingredient for infrared. The ingredient helps protect the body from heat but also restores the body's barrier protection as well. The hotter you get, the more active the Thermus Thermophilus ingredient gets to protect your skin from that infrared”
Fight Aging with Antioxidants
Radiation from UV rays can increase free radicals in your skin, which speed up the aging process. But antioxidants battle free radicals head-on. They protect the skin’s surface from the aging damages of UV radiation. Use skincare and sunscreen products that include antioxidants in their formula to help protect your skin.
Exfoliation sloughs away the older layers of skin to reveal the healthy new skin beneath. But during the summer, that fresh skin will be much more susceptible to UV rays. Switch to a gentle exfoliation product and only use it one night a week. Be sure to follow up with a gentle moisturizer at night and sunscreen the next morning. (There’s no point in being subtle: use sunscreen all the time!)
Summer Skin Tip: Too much exfoliation happens. You try a new product that’s a bit harsher than you expected, or you forget to put on sunscreen after your usual exfoliation. For a while, your skin will be red, dry, and a little peely.
The best thing you can do is switch to a mild cleanser, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer every night, and leave it alone. Avoid touching your face as much as you can to prevent bacteria or infection from getting in. But don’t worry, it won’t be like this forever. The skin has one of the most amazing repair systems in the body. Let your body do its thing, and stay in the shade while you heal.
Drink Tons of Water
Whether you’re playing tag with your kids through the sprinklers or enjoying a salty plate of ribs at a cookout, summer can definitely be thirsty work. And dehydrated skin is the enemy of a dewy summer glow. Drink water throughout the day.
Use a light, oil-free moisturizer to remedy the drying effects of chlorine or dry summer heat.
The body’s natural moisturizing processes rely on our pores to produce healthy oils. But with heat and humidity, that oil production can go into overdrive. Try switching to an oil-free cleanser for the summer months.
How Can I Change My Skin in Summer?
Your skin changes with every season. But summer is also time for transformation. Lean into the season and get yourself a few skin-transforming treatments.
Targeted Summer Skincare for Anti-Aging
Try some of these treatments to get your best summer glow ever5.
Facial Exercises – Facial exercises are like a DIY facelift. You also don’t need a gym to work out your face, so you have no excuse not to try these. Some anti-aging benefits include reducing sagginess and having a firmer appearance. You can incorporate jade rollers into your facial exercises, which will keep your skin feeling fresh and cool on a hot summer day.
Hydrafacials – A hydrafacial is perfect for summer. The process involves resurfacing the skin, cleaning out pores, and infusing the face with moisturizing serums. If you want to start your summer with fresh and deeply moisturized skin, book your hydrafacial before Memorial Day weekend.
Summer Skin Tip: To make that hydrafacial last, add a treatment-boosting serum to your routine. It will lock in those moisturizing molecules for longer.
Gentle Exfoliation – Even though the sun starts setting later, you might still feel stuck in your old winter skin. A gentle exfoliation will help clear away the older skin layers, help the absorption of nutrients, and leave your face as bright as a May day.
Non-Invasive Skin-Tightening Procedures – If you’re looking to tighten your skin without involving needles, scalpels, or recovery time, you can book a summertime spa day with a few non-invasive procedures. Here are a few to look into:
Ultrasound Skin Tightening – Ultrasound energy heats the skin to induce elastin production, leaving your skin tight and firm.
Radio Frequency Treatments – Soundwaves trigger collagen production on multiple layers of the skin to create firm and smooth skin.
How Can I Look Beautiful in Summer? Treat Your Skin, and Yourself
The most beautiful summer look isn’t achieved just with skincare and treatments. It’s the look you get when you bite into the first peach of the season. Or when you’re able to declutter your life during a garage sale. Or even when you count fireflies on the back porch with your family. Summer beauty is about fully embracing the joys of the season. So no matter what you do this summer, seize the joy... and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Treat yourself to sensational summer skin with ALASTIN award-winning products. From antioxidant-rich sunscreen to hydra boosting serums, ALASTIN products can give you a stunning, low maintenance summer glow to perfectly complement a summer of fun. If you’re looking for other summer beauty tips for anti-aging, check out our article Transitioning To Gray Hair Gracefully.
- “Radiation Studies: CDC - What Is Radiation?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Dec. 2015, www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/what_is.html.
- Dorfner, Micah. “9 Tips to Protect Your Skin This Summer.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2015, newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/9-tips-to-protect-your-skin-this-summer/.
- Brannon, Heather L. “The Effects of Sun on the Skin.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 11 Aug. 2019, www.verywellhealth.com/effects-of-sun-on-the-skin-1068724.
- Dale Wilson, Brummitte, et al. “Comprehensive Review of Ultraviolet Radiation and the Current Status on Sunscreens.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Matrix Medical Communications, Sept. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3460660/.
- “Non-Surgical Skin Tightening.” American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, 1 June 2017, www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/non-surgical-procedures/skin-tightening/.