While we love the carefree nature of the summer, we’re not huge fans of the skin flare-ups that accompany it. Humidity and heat, excess sweat, and sun exposure can have some not-so-great effects on skin. Dry skin gets drier, oily skin gets oilier, and, outside of your natural skin types, certain skin conditions like acne, eczema, rosacea, and melasma actually tend to worse — and don’t even get us started on maskne.
While you’re probably spending a majority of your time this season indoors anyway — there is still a pandemic happening, after all — on the occasions you do venture outside, you’ll want to do your part in protecting yourself from these common summer skin concerns. Ahead, Miami board-certified dermatologist Janelle Vega, MD fills us in on how to do just that.
The Skin Concern: Breakouts
As those who suffer from acne know, the process of treating it is a never-ending cycle. And that process tends to get even more difficult in the summer. “Increased sweating from the heat and humidity can lead to the clogging of hair follicles,” Dr. Vega says. “Oil, sweat and hair all come from the same unit, so clogging of the follicle can lead to the inadvertent build-up of oil and sebum, which attracts bacteria — creating a perfect situation for acne to form.”
So, to help decrease the chances of pores becoming clogged, she recommends switching to a gel moisturizer in the warmer months. “Always look for the terms ‘oil-free’ and ‘non-comedogenic’ if you are prone to developing blemishes,” she says. Go with a weightless, oil-free moisturizer like Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, which absorbs quickly and drenches skin in hyaluronic acid. Dr. Vega’s also a fan of formulas with salicylic acid, which will aid in reducing sebum and dead skin cells. You can find it in our Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, which keeps pores clear without drying out skin.
The Skin Concern: Rosacea
Bad news: The sun, heat, and humidity are all triggers for rosacea, a chronic condition marked by skin redness. “The redness in the face is a sign that blood vessels are more open, causing the evaporation of water from the surface of the skin at a higher rate,” Dr. Vega says.
Sunscreen is important to keep rosacea under control; Dr. Vega recommends reaching for formulas that contain hyaluronic acid, which can help the skin retain water, and those made without fragrance, which can cause irritation. Additionally, she says, keeping the skin cool. A misting product — such as Glow Recipe’s Ultra-Fine Mist, which just so happens to include hyaluronic acid, too — can feel refreshing and soothe skin.
The Skin Concern: Melasma
Melasma isn’t your average dark spot. Largely driven by hormones, it can appear as patches, which is why it’s often called the “mask of pregnancy.” And while it’s chronic, that doesn’t mean you can’t address it. First, minimize your sun exposure. “If you suffer from this pigmentation disorder, then you know that just looking at the sun the wrong way can make you worse,” Dr. Vega says. For that reason alone, it’s a major summer skin concern.
You might also assume that you can’t treat it during the summertime, since the ingredients typically recommended — such as retinol, which you can find in our Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, and alpha hydroxy acids — tend to make you more sensitive to the sun. That’s not actually the case. “Strategically add topicals that will combat pigment without irritating your skin, as well as doubling down on sun protection to help keep this disorder at bay during these hot months,” Dr. Vega advises. And those topicals should include antioxidants which, she says, “help to inhibit the enzyme that produces pigment, as well as boosts your sunscreen potential by scavenging free radicals.” Take advantage of that synergistic effect with the Pineapple-C Bright Serum, which delivers three forms of vitamin C — a potent antioxidant.
The Skin Concern: Eczema
While eczema is a hot topic in the winter, it can also flare in the summer. That’s because the salt contained in sweat and environmental factors like pollen can worsen eczema, says Dr. Vega. She recommends getting an air purifier and protecting yourself from the sun whenever possible. “Stick to physical sunscreens, like zinc and titanium dioxide, which tend to be less irritating than chemical sunscreens, and make sure the sunscreen is fragrance- and alcohol-free,” she says.
Some other precautions to take involve changing out of wet or sweaty clothes as soon as possible and staying cool. “Eczema is characterized by an impaired skin barrier, so replenishing the building blocks of the epidermis is important to prevent worsening of disease,” Dr. Vega explains. “Lukewarm showers, quickly followed by moisturizers rich in ceramides and lipids will help to keep your eczema under control.” It’ll ensure that your skin stays calm and comfortable through September.
Want to learn more about summer skin conditions? Keep reading: