Self Care

5 Expert-Approved Tips For Healthy Summer Skin

Here’s how to get the perfect glow!

By: Dominique Michelle Astorino

There’s something about sun-kissed skin that epitomizes the essence of summer. It radiates a healthy, vibrant glow that many people strive for during the sunny months. However, while mindful sunshine can promote healthy summer skin, too much summer sun can do more harm than good — it’s a fine line!  Between more time outdoors in the sun, humidity fluctuations (the AC really does dry you out!) and temperature swings, salt and chlorine from aquatic adventures, and systemic dehydration… our skin can take quite the hit in the heat of summertime. 

So, in an effort to keep you radiant this season, we conferred with skincare experts to get the best (and simplest) tips to care for your skin — face and beyond! — for the next few months. Summer glow, here we come.

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Why Skin Health is Essential

Skincare is healthcare — it’s not just vanity or a wellness industry fad! What you may not know is that the skin is the largest organ in the body, and deserves our attention, time, and of course, some TLC. This is especially true during the summer months, which can prove to be quite abrasive to our poor epidermis.

Aside from acting as a barrier against environmental pollutants, pathogens, and UV radiation, healthy skin helps regulate body temperature, prevents dehydration, and supports immune function. And oftentimes, as our most external layer, our skin is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside our body, in our innermost layers that we cannot see. This includes our gut health, and even our mental health! So, let’s make sure we’re nourishing it.

RELATED: The Gut & Skin Connection: How to Optimize Both For Glowing Skin

Summer Skincare: The Top 5 Tips, According to Experts

#1 Wash Your Face Twice a Day

Healthy skin starts with a clean slate, according to the experts. “Most of us see the necessity to brush our teeth twice a day, but there’s too much controversy over how often to wash our faces,” posits Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist with over 40 years of experience (and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare).

“A simple study was done that showed that you’re most likely to incorporate a skincare product regularly if you leave it out next to your toothpaste, so this is just what I do and what I recommend to everyone,” she says. “Washing is important, since we know that pollution is a major cause of age spots, and there are higher pollution levels indoors than outside. So, we need to wash away debris, dust mites from our pillowcases, excess oils, etc — morning and night!”

#2 Apply an SPF Product Every Morning

As one of the pioneering UVA researchers in Harvard’s photobiology lab in the 1970s, Dr. Loretta is particularly passionate about sun protection — you could call her a sunscreen evangelist!

Applying SPF isn’t limited to days in which you’re outside, she says. “During the course of your daily activities, you may be getting what we call ‘inadvertent sun exposure,’ either when driving (since UVA comes through window glass), or from a short errand outdoors that turns into more exposure than you planned (like going to your mailbox and running into a neighbor, etc).” 

“Published research in the dermatology journals shows that visible light from the sun will cause more significant redness, swelling, and hyperpigmentation than the proportionate amount of UVA that you get from the sun,” she adds. “So I am a big advocate of using a sunscreen that protects skin from visible light, especially the blue light from the sun, which has the highest amount of energy (sometimes called HEV for High Energy Visible Light).” 

This blue light is also why it’s important to wear sunscreen even if you’re not spending ample time outdoors. More recently, you may see some products that claim to protect from blue light… which can also come from non-solar sources, i.e., screen time. 

“The problem with doing any research on indoor HEV is that there is a huge variation in the amount of HEV light each of us gets from our own computers, cell phones, and other screens since each device emits a varying amount of light,” says Dr. Loretta. “And the screens emit a lot less HEV than the sun, but our exposure times are huge when we compare how much sunbathing we do in a week to how much screen time we accumulate.

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#3 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Looking for healthy summer skin? Ask yourself… what’s on your plate? What you eat this summer can directly affect how glowy your complexion is, too. Elisabeth Nehme, skincare educator and trainer at comfort zone, recommends eating water-dense foods in addition to drinking more water. “Some great hydrating foods to hydrate your skin from the inside out are watermelon, cucumbers, celery, and lettuce.” Not only will these fresh fruits and vegetables make sure you’re eating more whole foods, but the H2O density will improve your skin health as well, and help to prevent overall dehydration.

RELATED: 8 Ultra-Hydrating Drinks That Aren’t Water

#4 Adjust Your Skincare Lineup

In addition to daily sunscreen use, Nehme recommends making some tweaks to your daily skincare routine. To treat dry, agitated, or sunburnt skin, you might want to add a new product like a mask. “Pick calming and soothing masks to comfort and smooth stressed skin,” she says. “Hydrating creams with hyaluronic acid (HA) or hydrating extracts like prickly pear can eliminate flakes and dryness, and products that contain aloe are great for soothing bug bites or irritated skin.”

So to recap:

  • Gentle cleanser
  • SPF of your choice
  • Calming mask treatments
  • Creams with hyaluronic acid, aloe, and/or prickly pear extract for added hydration

RELATED: The Best Green Skincare Products For All Skin Types

#5 Smile Often

No summertime sadness for your skin! This healthy tip has a host of benefits, and not just for your epidermis.

“Smiling tones the muscles of the jawline, neck, and chin,” says Dr. Loretta. At the beautiful age of 70, she claims that keeping a smile on her face has contributed to her “decently smooth neck and jawline, plus minimal Marionette creases,” in spite of her age. 

“Train yourself to go to the mirror smiling instead of going to the mirror to look for facial flaws,” she suggests. This will not only help your skin, but your confidence, mental health, and overall well-being as well. A win-win-win!

Some tips to keep yourself smiling instead of overanalyzing or critiquing (if you’re prone to that): “Throw away the 10x magnifier, and instead pluck your eyebrows using a 2x magnifier with reading glasses to see any stray brows. Before you pull out of a parking spot, set your timer for three minutes and simply smile. In doing this, focus on the positive things: a beautiful sky, photos of people you love, anything that is going to help keep you smiling.” We love a skincare-meets-mental-health tip!

Hello, Glowing Summer Skin!

With these expert summer skincare tips, you’ll be well on your way to glowing summer skin. When practiced routinely, these simple habits – like hydrating, applying SPF, and simply smiling! – can transform your skin and help you obtain that summer glow you’ve been longing for. 

And if you want to enhance your skin even further, take our 30-Day Skin Care Challenge! Learn expert tips and tricks, healthy skin recipes, and more!