10 Great Summer Skin Care Tips

When the temperature starts climbing, the clothes come off and everybody shows more skin. What can you do to protect your skin during the hot summer months? We’ve got ten head-to-toe tips to help you take care of your body’s largest vital organ:

  1. Wear sunscreen. Too much time in the sun burns and ages your skin, and puts you at risk for skin cancer. If you don’t already wear sunscreen daily, there’s no time like right this minute to start. Choose a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB ray-screening) product with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30, which will block about 97% of the sun’s harmful rays. Products with a higher SPF might block slightly more, but no sunscreen blocks 100% of the sun’s rays. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you’ve been in the water or have sweated a lot. If you’re not wearing a hat outdoors, use a spray sunscreen on your hairline, scalp, and part.
  2. Wear protective clothing. If your skin is especially pale or vulnerable to burning, cover up with lightweight, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Pop on a hat—and stay in the shade.
  3. Moisturize. Heat and sun can dehydrate skin and make it prone to flakiness, peeling, and wrinkles. Invest in a good all-over moisturizing lotion or cream; for your face, choose one that’s specifically designed for the fragile skin there. Apply at least twice a day to clean skin.
  4. Hydrate. Drink lots and lots of cool, clear water throughout the day. Ditch the sodas (even chemical-filled sugar-free ones) and boost flavor in your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Water is your body’s natural beverage of choice and the one that will help keep your skin smooth, healthy, and glowing.
  5. Spritz. Keep a spray bottle of cold water in your purse or cooler and spritz your face, body, arms, and legs when you get too hot. The moisture will cool you off by helping your body evaporate heat away from your skin. (Good old-fashioned sweat does the same thing.)
  6. Rinse off. Hop in the shower after you’ve exercised or gone in the water to remove chlorine, bacteria, and excess salt that can irritate the skin and leave it dry, blemished, and itchy. Use mild soaps and lots of moisturizer after you pat your skin dry.
  7. Exfoliate. Use an old-fashioned washcloth or a DIY scrub of olive oil and fine-grained sea salt to scrub away dry, flaky skin cells as well as sunscreen and moisturizer buildup. Avoid harsh products (like scrubs containing apricot pits or walnut shells) that can irritate the skin and synthetic products (like plastic beads) that may be harmful to the environment.
  8. Blot. If hot weather makes your skin extra oily, pack some tissues or oil-blotting papers to absorb the excess. Prevent your skin from over-producing oil by using cleansers designed for oily skin, not washing or scrubbing too frequently, and avoiding astringents or harsh toners, which can strip the skin of its natural protective oils.
  9. Go natural. Summer is a great time to let your skin breathe. Ditch the makeup or wear less than you do during winter. You’ll look like you’re ready for a day at the beach.
  10. Avoid razor burn (especially in the bikini area). Do this by shaving in the shower with a shower gel and in the direction of hair growth only. Exfoliate with a washcloth and apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and avoid shaving bumps and ingrown hairs. Or try waxing instead—you’ll get several weeks of smooth skin.

Reviewed by Dennis Bley, DO, Internal Medicine, Broadway Medical Group, Portland, Oregon.


"Sunscreen 101." American Academy of Dermatology.