Summer skincare checklist: 10 tips from top skincare experts
Ready for that healthy glow all summer long? We’ve got you covered with this ultimate skincare guide and spoke to several top skin experts to get the lowdown on how to look after your skin during the summer months.
Summer brings sun, heat, air-conditioning, and some rather sweaty situations, and this can all take a toll on your skin. As soon as the weather starts to change and the summer season arrives, it’s time to make some modifications to your daily skincare regime too.
From adding SPF to your routine to staying in the shade and upping your moisturising, there are several easy steps you can take to master your skincare routine and ensure you are providing the ultimate protection to your body’s largest organ.
We spoke to several skincare experts to get their professional advice and create a handy checklist with useful tips and hacks to incorporate into your summer days. We’ve also researched the benefits of looking after your skin - trust us, it’s worth it - and rounded up some of the top products to get your hands on.
Our summer skincare experts
Dr Raffaella Gabassi is an award-winning facial aesthetics practitioner and dentist based in Harley Street. She has more than 20 years of experience and is in the process of opening up her own Cosmetic Academy.
Dr Sophie Shotter is an expert aesthetic doctor. She is a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine and registered with the General Medical Council. She advises everyone to ‘have a good skincare regime which you know works for your skin and has that on the go in the lead up to summer, having a healthy and balanced barrier going into the summer months.’ She also points out that ‘a lot of skin issues can flare up during the summer, including rosacea, melasma and pigmentation, while others like acne and psoriasis can often get a little better.’
Lucy Gulland is the Community Manager at Balmonds, a skincare brand providing natural products for all skin types which have been dermatologist approved for sensitive skin. Lucy emphasises the importance of looking after our bodies and ‘feeding the skin with vital nutrients through the summer months, to boost its resilience and capacity to cope with dehydration and sun damage.’
Summer skincare checklist
Here we round up some top tips to consider bringing into your summer skincare regimes, with useful advice and recommendations from our experts:
1. Always remember SPF
Protecting your skin from the sun is essential, especially over the summer months with stronger UV rays. Make sure to use skincare products with added SPF in the ingredients while also topping up on suncream throughout the day when exposed to direct sunlight.
Try foundations such as Mac’s Waterweight SP30 Foundation to give a long-lasting even complexion while providing your skin with SPF protection. And use face creams designed to hydrate and protect your skin with added SPF, for example, Olay’s Regenerist Day Face Cream with SPF30. Make sure your lips are covered, too - add Nivea’s Sun lip balm with SPF30 to your make-up bag and keep your lips protected with long-lasting moisture.
Sun cream will help prevent sunburn and avoid damage to the pigmentation of your skin, reducing the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing. Look for sun creams that are gentle on the skin, non-greasy, water-resistant and ideally SPF 30 plus. Our expert Sophie Shotter recommends that you ‘make sure you have a good sun cream which works for your skin, and that you are reapplying regularly throughout the day.’ Check out our handy guide to the best sun creams for expert-recommended options.
2. Lighten up on make-up
Try to avoid heavy skincare and make-up products over the summer and instead aim to use more lightweight options. This will feel less sweaty against your skin, encouraging breathability and a fresher feel. With hot and humid air, thick creams, moisturisers, foundations and concealers will only make you feel more sweaty, oily and restricted. You can also try minimising the amount you apply to your skin to encourage a lighter feel.
3. Aim for non-comedogenic products
Skincare brand Nivea explains that a non-comedogenic product has been ‘specifically formulated so that it does not block or clog pores.’ Over the summer months, it’s best to use non-comedogenic skincare products and make-up to keep your skin feeling fresh and clear, and minimise any unwanted breakouts. Nivea recommends their Refreshing Cleansing Lotion for all skin types to deeply cleanse and hydrate the skin without clogging it up.
4. Keep hydrated and moisturise
Several different factors can dry your skin out over the summer, including hotter outside temperatures and air conditioning. It’s important to replenish your body by hydrating it with moisture, keeping it soft, supple and damage free.
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Our expert Lucy Gulland recommends giving thirsty skin’ an intensive hydration boost every night after cleansing, with an application of unscented, nutrient-rich skincare products.’ She likes Balmonds’ Skin Salvation, a rich balm that ‘can work its magic overnight on dry lips, eyes, heels or hands.’
Skincare brand Simple suggests products containing Pentavitin® for an intensified hydration boost - ‘this naturally derived plant extract helps your skin to boost its natural moisturisers.’ Try their Water Boost Hydrating Booster for instant hydration that lasts up to 72 hours and keeps skin strong, protected and super moisturised. For more recommendations, take a look at our guide to some of the best body lotions to keep skin plump and hydrated.
5. Top up on Vitamin C
Add some Vitamin C drops to your daily skincare routine over summer ‘to help fight free radicals from UV rays and other environmental factors, while also brightening, clarifying, smoothing and refining the texture of your skin’, according to wellness brand Goop.
Vitamin C serums are a great option, working to protect against skin damage, rehydrating and soothing the skin. Our expert Dr Raffaella Gabassi recommends 'layering a few drops of serum between cleansing and moisturising.' Check out our guide to the best vitamin C serums for some of our favourites - we particularly like La Roche Posay’s Pure Vitamin C Serum for an added glow suitable for all skin types.
6. Exfoliate regularly
Skin can get extra oily over summer due to the warmer climate and more humid conditions. Exfoliating on a regular basis to deep-clean and unclog your pores is essential - this way, any excess sweat, dirt, makeup, or sun cream will be removed, as well as dead skin cells.
Exfoliating can also prevent the build-up of bacteria which could result in acne, keeping skin clean and fresh. Our expert Dr Raffaella Gabassi recommends exfoliating at least once a week. Cosmetic brand Huda Beauty recommends not to overdo it, however, as this ‘could weaken your skin’s protective barrier, leaving it open and inflamed, and exposed to bacteria and irritation, not to mention sun damage.’
7. Minimise sun exposure: stick in the shade
A simple, well-known piece of advice - minimise your sun exposure. Long periods of time in direct sunlight can be damaging to your skin - The NHS recommends avoiding it between 11am and 3pm and swapping for shaded areas (as well as applying suncream and covering up skin with suitable clothing).
Our expert Sophie Shotter also advises that ‘if you know the sun is a trigger for a skin condition you experience, then don’t get too much of it!’ She also recommends taking ‘Heliocare 360 capsules to anyone who struggles with heat rash’ (a common problem for many over summer), as ‘it really diminishes the risk’.
Make sure to also stock up on after sun over the summer months. Whether sunburnt or even just slightly red and hot-skinned, applying after being in the sun will rehydrate your skin with the moisture it has lost while also cooling it down for instant pain relief. Take a look at our shopping guide to find the best after sun for soothing your skin after sunburn, with tips from expert dermatologists.
8. Try out fake tan
Build up a healthy glow over the summer months without putting your skin at risk of damaging UV rays. Fake tan comes in all shades and sizes - from subtle, gradual tones to instant holiday looks. Stock up on a lotion or spray and tan yourself in safer conditions.
We like Garnier’s Summer Body Gradual Tan Moisturiser for a gentle radiance over time and Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Mousse for a quick but streak and stain-free sun-kissed glow. Check out our guide to the best fake tans for more of our favourites, plus tips on how to properly apply and remove them.
9. Cool your skin
Keep your skin refreshed over the summer. As tempting as it is to keep washing your face and showering to cool you down, be careful not to overwash, drying your skin out. Instead, opt for a face mist, spray or lotion to provide you with a cooling sensation without wearing down your skin.
Skincare brand Simple recommends micellar water as the ‘perfect on-the-go miracle-worker when it comes to keeping skin feeling cool and hydrated in the heat.’ To apply, ‘simply sweep across the skin to gently, but effectively, lift and remove oil, sweat, and make-up while giving skin a handy hydration boost as you cleanse.’
Our expert Lucy Gulland suggests Balmonds Cooling Cream (with shea butter, menthol, aloe and lavender) ‘for flushed, itchy skin, or as a natural aftersun.’
10. Keep your skincare products in the fridge
According to skincare brand Simple, ‘skin can become extra sensitive in the summer thanks to fluctuations in temperature, harmful UV rays, air conditioning, excess sweat, and dehydration.’ They recommend ‘storing your skincare saviours in the fridge at the start of the season’ to help keep your skin cool and calm over summer - ‘a chilled cleanser, moisturiser, or mask will gently soothe hot, sensitive skin, and keep you feeling cool when the weather warms up.’
The benefits of looking after your skin
Taking care of your skin is really important all year round in order to keep it in the best possible condition and feeling and looking healthy.
Different factors can have large impacts on your skin - from stress and diet to quality of sleep and the environment you are living in. Different seasons also bring changes that can affect your skin, with switches in weather, air conditioning and heating, and transitions in temperature.
As mentioned, summer brings a whole new season of heat, sun and humidity, so making a few tweaks to your daily skincare routines over summer really will have beneficial, long-lasting effects. Here, we’ve rounded up just some of the benefits:
- It’s preventative: Taking action to look after your skin and keep it in a healthy condition is key when it comes to preventing damage and any future problems. For example, wearing SPF products and keeping in the shade during summer months will protect your skin from harmful UV rays and decrease the chances of skin cancer risks.
- It builds resilience: Using nourishing skincare products is a great way to maintain healthy skin and build up its resilience. Our expert Lucy Gulland emphasises the importance of ‘keeping your skin barrier strong and resilient, especially in the summer when it’s prone to the double whammy of dehydration and sun damage.’
- It provides comfort: Looking after your skin by keeping it hydrated, protected and moisturised will, in turn, be a more comfortable experience. You will avoid having itchy, irritated skin, which can be very uncomfortable.
- It enhances your appearance: Having healthy skin looks good! It can also help boost your confidence, making you feel comfortable with how you feel and look.
- It helps with anti-ageing: Looking after your skin can keep it youthful! As we age, naturally, so does our skin. As WebMd explains, ‘skin becomes more fragile’. It can lose hydration, elasticity and brightness, as well as become drier with wrinkles and age spots. Therefore keeping your skin well-maintained by taking summer precautions, moisturising and keeping it hydrated, your skin will stay looking younger for longer.
Want to read more expert-recommended skincare product round-ups? Check out our Cosmetics page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best SPF sun creams, the best moisturisers, and the best body lotions.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.