It’s been a hot minute since I wrote any posts about skincare, and when I say hot, I mean hot – aka it’s been over 85°F and super humid, which is a combo that both my hair and skin do not enjoy. Read more to see how I keep my skin happy and healthy in these hot summer months!
It’s been a hot minute since I wrote any posts about skincare, and when I say hot, I mean hot – aka it’s been over 85°F and super humid, which is a combo that both my hair and skin do not enjoy. In this post, I’ll be talking about the products I’ve been loving lately and how I keep my skin happy and healthy during these hot summer months (if you’d like to read about what I don’t do, you can check out my DIY Skincare That Might Be Doing More Harming Than Helping post here!).
As I normally like to do with these kinds of posts, I’d just like to throw a little ~disclaimer~ out there that I am not a skincare expert of any kind, nor do I ever pretend to be one – these tips are ones that I personally like to follow because I find they work for my skin, but everybody’s skin is different! I also don’t make any kind of commission from any of the products I link below (although that would be nice) and none of these links are affiliate links (I wish)!
First off, because of who I am as a person, let’s talk about me. More specifically, let’s talk about my skin. Like my lipstick choices, my skincare choices tend to be seasonal. I have combination oily skin, meaning that my T-zone tends to be on the oilier side, while the rest of my face (mostly my cheeks) tends to be dry. Why this is a thing, I don’t know, but I can tell you that I’m NOT here for it.
In the summer, I like to focus on making sure my skin is well-protected and moisturized, as well as make sure I keep any acne at bay (not b-a-e) while at the same time not frying my face with products that are too harsh.
I used to categorize my acne as “mild,” but after reading this little Acne Treatment Guide over at Reviews.com, I realized that I think I fall more under the “subclinical acne” or “comedonal acne” categories rather than the “mild” category. For this reason, I don’t like to use products with too many “acne-treating” ingredients because I feel like they dry out my skin, but I’ll be talking more about that in a bit!
Summer has my skin feeling drier than Spongebob in the iconic “Tea at the Treedome” episode (as .gifed above), so moisturizer is a must. Although I have oily/combo skin, I find that it actually is less oily when it’s better moisturized. This may seem counter-intuitive to some, but I promise, there’s some science involved!
According to xoJane, there’s actually a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin, and although I can’t control the way it “behaves” at its baseline, I can help it out a bit in the hydration department. Cosmedicine further explains that “skin over-produces oil to compensate for the lack of moisture,” which is why it’s super important to moisturize to prevent excess oil production.
According to Positive Health Wellness, the best time to moisturize is after a shower or a shave, or basically any time your skin is still slightly wet as “this moisture will make your skin absorb the moisturizer easily.” I personally always try to moisturize as soon as I can after washing my face or stepping out of the shower or my skin tends to feel too dry!
When it comes to moisturizer, I like to keep it simple (literally). My go-to moisturizer is the Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer, which retails for $9.99 at Target. This moisturizer is nice because it provides enough hydration to my skin without it feeling greasy and has the added benefit of SPF 15 in it, although…
2.) Sunscreen that ish
SPF found in moisturizer/foundation IS NOT ENOUGH! Say it with me, people… “IT IS NOT ENOUGH!” Ok, good.
Dr. Bailey Skincare says that while a moisturizer with SPF 15 may be ok if you’re not planning on being out in the sun all day, it won’t cut it for days that require more sun exposure. It says that the problem is, “sun protection from sunscreen depends on putting enough product on your skin and reapplying every 2 hours” and lbr, we definitely don’t do with our daily moisturizer. Instead, it suggests the solution of using “the moisturizer that their skin ‘wants’ and then on top of that apply a real sunscreen” in order to combat the problem, which, honestly, is a simple, effective solution that we all should be doing and I myself am guilty of skimping out on sometimes.
I’ve already done an entire blog post dedicated to this product, but my favorite sunscreen for the face is Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen with SPF 50, which retails for $17 on the Paula’s Choice website. It may seem a bit pricey, but I think it’s well worth it, especially since it’s lightweight, has a matte finish (so I’m not overly shiny), and doesn’t break me out, which is honestly really hard for me to find in a sunscreen!
3.) Be Clean (but not ~too~ clean)
Being the extra person that I am, I tend to overdo it, and when it comes to cleansing, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Cleaner doesn’t always mean cleaner – in fact, cleaner could mean oilier!
As previously mentioned, your skin may increase its oil production to compensate from lack of moisture, and over-cleansing or harsh products can strip moisture from your skin real quick. In the dead of summer when your might be feeling dry anyway, lack of moisture wouldn’t be doing you any favors, especially when Empowher states, “Over-washing your face can also leave an opposite effect from oily skin. By roughly scrubbing your face with your hands, a washcloth or another scrubbing tool, skin can become irritated. Intense scrubbing reduces you to raw skin that appears red. Although it is good to lightly cleanse your face of dirt and other impurities, harsh and excessively thorough scrubbing provokes dryness, irritation and flared skin. Because over-washing can cause skin to breakout, many people keep purchasing more cleansing products to try different washing methods. When one method fails, people attempt a different one, creating a repetitive cycle of skin irritation.” Uh oh!
For my cleansing routine, I like to use Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser that retails for $7.69 at Target. Not only does this smell like summer because of the pineapple enzyme it contains (I have no idea what that means), but it’s super gentle and doesn’t have any synthetic fragrances or harsh sulfates, which tend to irritate my skin and make it dryer. #nothx
For some gentle exfoliation, I like to pair it with this HailiCare Facial Cleansing brush, which I found on Amazon for I think around $18. I don’t think Amazon carries this specific brush anymore, but this Quimat one for $17.99 looks identical to the one I have.
This thing is great because you can adjust the strength of the vibrations and the silicon “brush” heads are super gentle on the skin – I tried the Clarisonic Mia, and even with the “sensitive” brush head, I found it way too abrasive for me! Plus you don’t have to shell out any extra $$$ to replace the brush heads on this AND the silicon is supposed to be more sanitary.
Another heads up on this product – I had the Foreo Luna Mini, which retails for a cool $99, and this product for a fraction of the price is JUST as good. The only difference I found is that the Foreo pulses at intervals to let you know when to change “zones” on your face, and although the mindless dissociation of washing my face and having my face brush tell me when to move is nice, I can also just be a big girl and decide for myself when it’s time to clean a different area of my face, nbd.
4.) Treat Your Skin Right!
As previously mentioned, I’ve been living a skin lie for quite some time now, which means I’ve been “treating” it wrong – this isn’t a good thing, as seen in Point #3! I’ve since learned that while more “traditional” acne medications, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, may work for my friends, they’re way too harsh for my skin and kind of make it freak out a little bit.
What is salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, you might ask? Well, according to Reviews.com, “Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that comes from willow bark, which is just to say that it’s naturally occurring and works primarily as an exfoliator, breaking down fatty acids like sebum so your pores don’t clog” while “benzoyl peroxide attacks the P. acnes bacteria… breaks into oxygen and benzoic acid, which rip through the bacteria’s membranes.”
These ingredients are easily found in drugstore cleansers, such as the ones above – the Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Cleanser ($5.99) on the right contains 2% salicylic acid, while the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser ($8.19) on the left contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. Both have the same use, which is “for the treatment of acne,” but can occur in varying percentages.
According to In the Gloss, salicylic acid can range from .05% to 2% in OTC products, is best “for black heads and large inflamed spots on all skin types, especially those prone to oil and redness,” and works most effectively in “a leave on product like a toner, gel, or lotion” due to the fact that in cleansers it isn’t left on the skin long enough to be very effective. Benzoyl peroxide is safe for all skin, but the website cautions that people who are sensitive should only use it as a spot treatment. It ranges from 2.5% to 10%, but the website recommends to start at the lowest concentration before working your way up, as “starting higher percentages right away can result in irritation and flaky, dry skin” – yikes!
If your skin responds pretty well to these ingredients, it might be worth checking out the Acne Treatment Guide I keep mentioning as the 4 kits it lists all have some form of these ingredients! My skin, on the other hand, does not respond well to these ingredients, so I’ve been taking an alternate route. I like to use sulfur soap, which according to Yoderm, “has been used to treat skin conditions for hundreds of years.” Sulfur also apparently works by helping your skin to shed faster, which unclogs pores and heals acne. It also contains some antimicrobial qualities so it can kill acne-causing bacteria.
Unfortunately, sulfur isn’t some kind of “miracle” product. It’s only really for people with milder acne, it can actually discolor your skin depending on your skin tone and the levels of sulfur in the product, and it smells pretty darn bad. I’ve been really liking Grandpa’s Thylox Acne Treatment Soap with Sulfur that retails for $3.99 at Walgreens because it doesn’t dry out my skin too much, I haven’t experienced any discoloration, and the smell of it is pretty mild, so I can get through it.
5.) Stay Hydrated!
I am the ultimate culprit of not drinking enough water – this may be TMI, but I have the world’s tiniest bladder, so sometimes I few water as more of an inconvenience as a basic need for human survival. Hey – nobody’s perfect!
It’s no secret that water is generally accepted as being good for you, and as I just mentioned, a basic need for survival, but according to UW Health, there are claims that say drinking more water may lead to a more radiant, healthy, and younger-looking complexion. The website also says that it has no effect on skin’s appearance whatsoever, but you can’t really lose much by drinking more water!
UW Health says, “If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.”
If you find plain old water too, well, plain, according to Positive Health Wellness, you can increase your water intake by doing the following:
- Add some natural fruit juice and eating spicy foods will increase your water intake
- Always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go
- Eat plenty of water-rich foods
- Replace your vitamin tablets with vitamin water drops
- Slowly build up the amount of water you can drink and increase it until you hit the target
TL;DR – In the summer with the heat and humidity, your skin is gonna need a friend, and you’re gonna have to be that friend. To be a great buddy to your skin, you should keep it moisturized, protected, only just as clean as it needs to be, treat it the way it needs to be treated, and stay hydrated. Be gentle with your skin – make sure you’re not over cleansing and don’t try to zap it with heavier acne medications if it doesn’t need it!
- Reviews.com // “The Best Acne Treatment“
- xoJane // “Is Your Skin Dehydrated? (Read This Even If You Have Oily Skin)“
- Cosmedicine // “The Connection of Dehydration to Oily Skin and Acne“
- Positive Health Wellness // “9 Lifestyle Changes For Better Skin Health”
- Dr. Bailey Skincare // “Does using a daily moisturizer with SPF 15 give you enough sun protection?“
- Empowher // “Washing Your Face: Less is More“
- Into the Gloss // “Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid“
- Yoderm // “Sulfur for Acne“
- Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15 // $9.99
- Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 // $17.00
- Alba Hawaiian Pore Purifying Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser // $7.69
- Quimat Facial Cleansing Brush // $17.99
- Clarisonic Mia // $129.00
- Foreo Luna Mini // $99.00
- Clean & Clear Acne Triple Cleanser // $5.99
- Neutrogena® Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser // $8.19
- Grandpa’s Thylox Acne Treatment Soap with Sulfur // $3.99
*Disclaimer: I purchased all above product(s) with my own money and am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the brands mentioned (I wish!). As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own (unless stated otherwise)!