The Skin You're In
Put your best face forward with this summer skin routine
By Stephanie Thurrott
The summer sun can wreak havoc on your skin. But with a simple
routine and a few easy tips, you can keep your skin looking and
feeling its best from your face to your feet.
Keeping It Clean
Start with a cleaning routine. Summer's more humid air helps
skin stay hydrated, so the dry, flaky skin that plagues many of us
all winter is no longer a problem. But, with the weather, skin can
switch over from dry to oily.
D'Anne Kleinsmith, M.D., a dermatologist at Bloomfield
Dermatology Associates in West Bloomfield, Mich., recommends
lighter cleansers this time of year. "I prefer the liquid cleansers
to the bar soaps, which can be more alkaline and harsher to the
skin," she says. For many people, she recommends Purpose, Cetaphil
or Neutrogena cleansers.
Of course, summer's heat can lead to perspiration. Sweat
contains not just water and salt, but proteins that need to be
washed away so they don't clog your pores. A mild exfoliant is OK,
but stay away from cleansers that are too abrasive.
Keeping It Moist
Next up is a moisturizer. Many people like to change from a
heavier, cream moisturizer to a lighter lotion for the season, says
Valori Treloar, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at
Integrative Dermatology in Newton, Mass.
If summer's perspiration has you showering more often, make sure
you moisturize as soon as you get out. "Showering can dry out your
skin, but applying moisturizer right out of the shower or bath
helps to lock in water molecules," says Gregory Papadeas, D.O., a
Denver-based dermatologist and past president of the Colorado
For super-soft skin, many people find that the oils and lotions
used during regular massage therapy leave
their skin feeling well hydrated all over.
For skin that needs some special care, such as tough, dry spots
on heels, feet and elbows, Dr. Papadeas recommends Aquaphor or
For summer's sunny days, many dermatologists recommend a morning
moisturizer with a sunscreen. "I prefer that women use a
moisturizer with a sunscreen rather than relying on their makeup to
contain a sunscreen," says Dr. Kleinsmith. "When you apply makeup,
you're not going to apply a very heavy layer of the product, so the
sunscreen coverage will not be adequate," she says. Neutrogena,
Aveeno and Eucerin all offer good options.
Keeping It Fresh
To keep your skin looking fresh and clear during the summer
months, alpha hydroxy creams and lotions or retinol creams can help
exfoliate the skin and clean out the pores. "Glycolic acid is the
most common example of an alpha hydroxyl acid that's found in these
products," Dr. Kleinsmith says. Because these products remove the
outer layer of skin, they make you more sensitive to the sun,
making it especially important to protect yourself from those
Amy Newburger, M.D., a dermatologist in Scarsdale, N.Y., a
member of the teaching faculty at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and
a consultant for the FDA, points out that newer products, such as
RevaléSkin, are coming out that combine different substances to
better rejuvenate your skin. She also notes that you don't have to
spend a lot of money to get a decent product. When Consumer Reports
reviewed products in 2007, the inexpensive Olay Regenerist came out
Keeping It Safe
You need to protect your skin from the sun's rays all year, but
those rays are strongest in summer. "Sun protection is very
important. You need a broad-spectrum, SPF [sun protection factor]
15 or greater sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays," Dr.
Dr. Treloar sees sunscreen as a third line of defense-she
recommends first staying indoors when the sun is at its strongest,
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then using clothing and hats to block
the rays. Her concern with sunscreen is that some harmful rays may
still break through, and that the chemicals your body absorbs from
them might cause harm.
"Start out with habits that keep you out of the midday sun. Go
to the beach in the morning, then come back and have a nice long
lunch hour or go to the movies," she says.
Or try a sunset walk on the shore-with the great skin care
routine you're following, you'll glow with good health.