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How your beauty and skincare routine should change in the summer, according to a dermatologist

The Independent logo The Independent 17/07/2020 Chelsea Ritschel
a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera © Provided by The Independent

With summer and sweltering muggy days officially upon us, it means your skincare and makeup routines likely require a revamp.

But, rather than just swapping your lighter foundation for a darker shade, the season typically requires product changes as well to account for the sweat-inducing temperatures.

To find out what changes, if any, we should be making in the summer, we asked board-certified medical dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr Melanie Palm, who explained that it all comes down to your skin’s behaviour.

“Our skin responds and intercepts the environment around us,” she told us. “Changes in temperature, humidity, and UV exposure during the summer can affect our skin environment in terms of sebum and sweat production, which can in turn affect the pH or microenvironment of our skin.”

Before changing up your routine, Dr Palm advises seeing how your skin is behaving, as it may be perfectly comfortable with the same products year-round.

But, if you notice your skin is responding differently, whether that means you are experiencing more acne or increased dryness, then you should consider amending your routine, according to Dr Palm.

The first change she recommends is switching to “lighter formulation products that are less occlusive and hydrating to allow skin to breathe.”

Occlusives, a group of ingredients that include waxes, petrolatum, silicone and mineral oils, are used in skincare to form a protective seal over the skin to lock in hydration. While the ingredients may be useful in the winter, especially if you have dry skin, they can often be too heavy in the summer.

“Avoid an occlusive or heavy moisturiser, as well as makeup that is not labelled non-comedogenic,” Dr Palm recommends, referring to the term used to describe products that are specially formulated to not block pores. “If you are normal/combo or even oily/acne-prone skin, those products and cosmetics could cause an acne bonanza on the skin.”

Swapping powders or heavy liquid foundations for lighter BB creams, which usually come tinted, is one possible alternative for more-breathable summer makeup.

For those with oily skin, the warmer summer months may mean an increase in both oil and sebum production - which means that mattifying or oil-control products could be something to consider, according to Dr Palm.

If you’re concerned that using mattifying products could cause acne, another alternative is blotting papers, which can blot away excess oil that accumulates on your face during the day.

More exposure to the sun and its damaging rays is also something to think about in the summer, which is why Dr Palm suggests adding both a skin-brightening product and an antioxidant into your routine.

Skin-brightening products are useful because they can revive and even out the appearance of dull skin while decreasing the appearance of dark spots. Antioxidants protect skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which are linked to ageing, while also assisting with hydration and inflammation.

Exfoliation is also key during the hotter months of the year to encourage skin turnover, when our skin sheds dead skin cells and replaces them with younger cells. According to Dr Palm, using an ultrasonic brush can help move the process along.

While there are numerous changes you can make to your beauty routine in the summer months, the two most important steps of any routine are the daily application of sunscreen, which Dr Palm previously told us is the “most important skincare product,” and daily washing to clean your face of any dirt, debris and environmental pollutants.


Gallery: Dermatologists Weigh In on the Best Moisturisers For Oily Skin That Won't Give You Spots (PopSugar)

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