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8 Easy Ways to Step Up Your Summer Skincare Routine

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Photo by Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Vacation vibes, fun get-togethers, cute dresses—is there anything better than summertime? And with sunny, brighter days comes a desire to keep our skin happy, too. The best way to do it? Start a new summer skincare regimen. From lighter products to more SPF, your summer skincare should be as easy-breezy as the season while still keeping you hydrated and protected. We tapped New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD to share the summer skincare tips everyone should know. Read on for everything to know.


About the Expert:
Orit Markowitz, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of OptiSkin in New York City.

1. Lighten up your skincare

We’re all about sticking to a skincare routine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up with the seasons. “I recommend different skincare routines for summer, especially in areas like the east coast where temperature changes are quite different during the seasons,” says Dr. Markowitz. Specifically, your moisturizer can be more lightweight during warmer, humid months. “While it’s always good to moisturize, you don't always need occlusive or thick skincare products,” the derm explains.

 To prevent any dryness, try a weightless gel cream. We like KINSHIP Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer, which contains hyaluronic acid and coconut water so it’s moisturizing but won’t feel greasy in the heat of summer. And if you don’t typically use an antioxidant serum, now’s the time to add one into your routine. YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum not only gives skin a glow in the morning, the vitamin C also helps protect against free radicals from the environment that can lead to premature aging.

2. Wear sunscreen—every single day

Even if your daily beauty products like moisturizer or foundation contain SPF, added sun protection is never a bad thing. “My sunscreen recommendation is to have anywhere between 30-70 SPF—that’s the sweet spot,” advises Dr. Markowitz. And don’t forget to apply underneath your clothes, too. “Another misconception is that you can’t get sun exposure when wearing clothing, but a light cotton T-shirt only provides, at best, SPF 15,” says the derm. 

3. Don’t neglect your scalp, lips, and ears

“People often forget those locations,” says Dr. Markowitz. “All over the body, face, scalp, feet, hairline, behind ears, lips, etc.,—there isn't a part of the body that doesn't need protection from the sun.” To avoid painful burns, throw a lip balm containing SPF and sunscreen stick such as the COOLA SUNCARE Classic Organic Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 in Tropical Coconut into your bag so you can apply (and reapply) easily. And don’t forget those sunglasses, either. “Even retinas can be damaged by UV, so eyes need to be protected,” she adds. 

4. Use the right products for your skin type

If you have acne-prone or oily skin that flares up during the summer, your skincare products may be contributing to your breakouts. Use a gentle foaming cleanser to wash away any excess oil and grime, and look for non-comedogenic formulas. “You want to lean towards a mineral sunscreen or mineral combo if you have acne-prone skin, and should also avoid oils, oil-based, ceramide-based or shea butter-based products as they can potentially clog pores,” says Dr. Markowitz. Those with sensitive skin may prefer mineral sunscreens too, as chemical formulas can sometimes cause irritation. 

5. Tend to over-sunned skin

No matter how many times you reapply, sometimes sunburns are inevitable. “If you have a burn, use aloe vera—I like the soothing benefit—and an anti-inflammatory like 1% hydrocortisone oral antihistamine,” recommends Dr. Markowitz. For extra skin-soothing benefits, “keep cool compresses and creams in the fridge to apply afterwards.” Finally, be sure to hydrate and stay out of the sun until the burn heals.

6. Set a reminder for mist o’ clock

Face mists feel nice and refreshing in the heat, and many formulas have added skincare benefits too. Case in point: the GLOW RECIPE Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist, which contains AHAs for a glow, adds a burst of hydration, and smells like a popsicle. Or, use the time as an opportunity to reapply your (you guessed it!) sunscreen. “I love mists with SPF to cool you down,” says Dr. Markowitz. “Instead of using water to remove sunscreen, you are actually adding SPF.” Her product recommendation: COOLA Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, which also provides protection to the scalp, another oft-overlooked area.

7. Get a tan (from a bottle)

Traditional tanning can cause sun damage in both the short and long-term. And as they say—”they” meaning doctors—the only safe tan is a sunless tan. If you want a little color before hitting the pool or beach, apply a self-tanner such as  B. TAN Too Tan to Give a Damn Mousse, which is vegan, easy to apply, and comes in a range of shades.

8. Stay in the shade

One of the best things you can do for healthy skin doesn’t involve skincare products at all.  Sitting under an umbrella, wearing a wide-brim hat, wearing a cover-up—anything that prevents direct sunlight from hitting your skin can help protect against harmful UV rays. 

Did you know you can test out the latest summer beauty products with the IPSY Glam Bag? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
lindy-segal-headshot
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated June 5, 2021 12:00 AM