A Dermatologist Says *This* Is What to Use on Skin in the Summer

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The idea of shedding your winter layers doesn’t just apply to your wardrobe. As the mercury begins to rise, the climate gets more humid, and you spend more time in direct sunlight, the needs of your skin start to change and your product arsenal should follow suit. After all, heavy formulas in the midst of a heat wave will only trigger a breakout, but neglecting to moisturize altogether is just as troublesome.

To clear up the confusion, we asked dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD to give us a month-by-month breakdown on how to treat our skin during each month of the summer. Consider your summer skin-care itinerary officially handled.

May and June

After you store your winter clothes in those bins under your bed for the summer, make a point to give any heavy cream products on your bathroom counter the same overhaul. “As it gets warmer, you can switch your heavy moisturizers for a lighter lotions, and you can consider using a foaming cleanser,” says Dr. Gohara.

In terms of makeup, lighten your load there as well to avoid clogging pores and triggering breakouts. Reconsider the full-face of foundation for lightweight, tinted options, spot-treating using a concealer, or opting for a powder foundation. Dr. Gohara recommends investing in a powder sunscreen in particular. “Visible lights like the lights in your house or coming from your phone or computer can damage the skin, and then you have to worry about the UV lights coming from outside, so I like using powder-based sun protection because it isn’t as onerous to re-apply a every two hours as it is a liquid formula, and it doesn’t feel as heavy,” she explains. We’re big fans of the Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen ($28), which can do double duty as your UV shield and setting powder.

July and August

Quite possibly the hottest, sweatiest months of the season, humidity is in full-force during the months of July and August. In this case, Dr. Gohara recommends using gel-based products that are more absorbent to counteract all of the oil and sweat, and also to incorporate an antioxidant-rich vitamin C serum or mask in your existing lineup to combat sun damage. We love Tatcha Violet-C Vitamin C Mask ($68) as a leave-on treatment, and Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum ($49) as a daily option.

“You can think of antioxidants as little Pac-Men that go around eating up the little free radicals that come from pollution and UV rays, so I like the idea of being particularly judicious about using an antioxidant in the summer,” she explains. “Incorporating antioxidants helps you prevent the sun damage you’re getting from taking a run outside, or just being outside in general.”

When it’s time to take off the day, Dr. Gohara advises using a double-cleansing method with a micellar water to ensure you remove all of the sweat and oil on your skin. Sweep a micellar water over your skin to get rid of sweat particles, oil, and makeup, then follow with a gentle foaming cleanser.

August and September

Depending on where you live, it is highly possible that the warm weather will linger into the end of August and through September. In this case, stick with the routine you’ve been using until there are any significant changes in temperature, then reassess the situation once you start noticing differences in your skin.

“Your skin is the best indicator of what it needs, so instead of speculating what it needs, just pay attention to it. If it feels dry, then start adding heavier creams or more hydrating formulas,” says Dr. Gohara. “I think the most important thing is to remain in tune with your skin and not make assumptions based on seasons, but more on what your skin is telling you, because your skin is a pretty smart organ and it will let you know what it needs, and you’ll know when to switch things around.”

Slowly start incorporating your fall and winter products if you notice you need more hydration or extra coverage in terms of makeup, swapping out the items one at a time until your summer items are fully in hibernation mode.

If you don't know where to head on your summer vacay, let astrocartography guide you (and be sure to pack *this* type of sunscreen).

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