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Life-Saving Summer Skincare Tips I Wish I Knew Earlier

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The sun is shining, the water is getting warmer, and it’s time to change out our cold-weather clothes for dresses and shorts. Let’s not forget about changing out our skincare, either! It’s easy to forget about our skin during the summer — adapting our skincare routines is often associated with the winter months. And while most of us do experience most of the changes to our skin during the winter, that doesn’t mean the summer doesn’t usher in its own challenges as well.

Before running off to the beach and spending all your time outdoors, take the time to evaluate your skincare routine. A skincare routine is ever-evolving, and by sticking to the same old thing, you may be selling yourself short. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your products and treating your skin with the care it deserves.  

Should you change your routine for the summer?

Changing our skincare routines with the seasons should be common practice — after all, different types of weather demand different kinds of protection and nurturing. In winter, we know that we need to prevent dry, flaky skin with richer, more nutritious products, so of course, the summer— with hotter temps and humid air — means we need to switch up our skincare game to prevent pore-clogging oil from ruining all our hard work.

But what about the cons? If you’re like me, you know what works and what doesn’t. And if you suffer from bad acne and dry skin, you’re especially scared to mix it up. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to what works! If you have sensitive and dry skin, you may want to forget about making any changes. Likewise, if you’re under the care of a doctor or dermatologist and using specific prescriptions for your skin, you’ll probably want to avoid any unnecessary changes without speaking to them first.

Skincare tips for the summer

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but instead, some tips to keep in mind if you’ve decided to change things up. And remember, when it comes to skincare, it’s all about experimentation and finding out what your skin likes…and doesn’t. Also, pay attention to your skin barrier and what ingredients can and cannot be used together. Otherwise, all your hard work may never pay off. Our skincare dictionary and ingredients cheat list are great places to keep an eye on all skincare ingredients and learn how you can mix them for dramatic results.


Undoubtedly you’re already aware that sunscreen is the most important step of any skincare routine. While we may be able to skimp on using a higher SPF in the winter since we’re more likely to be indoors, using sunscreen with a strong SPF is non-negotiable during the summer. Oil-free sunscreens made specifically for the face are a good investment during the hot and humid summer months. These lighter formulas won’t make your skin feel heavy, leaving you more inclined to wear it every day. For the summer, make sure you’re using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30+. For a skin- and environmental-friendly alternative, we recommend any of these sunscreens without oxybenzone.


Puffy eyes and under-eye circles are skin concerns that follow us throughout the seasons. Chances are, if you already have under-eye bags during the winter, you’ll have them during the summer as well. Whatever the reason may be, there are ways you can work to combat them during the summer. Who doesn’t want bright, youthful eyes all year long? There are countless products for the eyes, and they’re usually formulated as a cream or serum. While an under-eye cream is wonderful during the winter, opt for a light serum during the summer. Undereye serums have ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid that bind water to the skin. Lock it in with your moisturizer on top, and your eyes will look plump and rested.


During the summer, our lips are less prone to being dry and chapped, making it the perfect time to incorporate a lip scrub. Just like exfoliating the face, exfoliating the lips both softens and smooths the skin. Properly exfoliated lips better absorb hydration from lip balm, keeping the delicate skin of the lip area prime for perfect lipstick application. 


Antioxidants in skincare help protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental factors such as UV exposure and pollution. They work well under sunscreen since they boost sun protection and mitigate external damage we encounter throughout the day. The most well-known antioxidant is vitamin C. If you’re a skincare aficionado, you’re probably already using it in some form. A great way to incorporate vitamin C into your routine is to use a lightweight serum and apply it in the mornings under your moisturizer and sunscreen. Other popular antioxidants to look for are vitamin E, niacinamide, and extracts from plants and fruits. 

Hyaluronic acid 

Hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient found in serums, moisturizers, and eye creams. It’s a naturally occurring substance in our body and an integral ingredient for plump, youthful skin. That’s because hyaluronic acid is a humectant that retains moisture in the skin to plump, fills in fine lines, and reduces puffiness. Hyaluronic acid is wonderful in the summer as it’s a lightweight substance that binds moisture to the skin — perfect when you want to keep the skin hydrated without weighing it down. 

Oil-free moisturizers

Our skin will naturally lean towards being more oily during the summer months, which means the amount of moisture our skin needs to stay sufficiently hydrated decreases. The weather may be humid and leave your skin feeling moisturized, but that doesn’t mean you can skip out on moisturizing altogether. During the summer, look for an oil-free moisturizer to use instead of a heavy cream. Oil-free moisturizers are available in the form of gels and lotions. These moisturizers are formulated to hydrate the skin without the use of oil, instead, using lighter ingredients to hydrate, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Self tanners

Not everyone can tan safely, and some of us who are prone to sunburns shouldn’t be tanning at all. That’s where self-tanner comes in. With different formulas intended to give you anywhere from a subtle glow to a completely new skin tone, self-tanners and bronzers are your new best friend when you want to add a touch of sun to your life without risking UV damage. One of the newest types of self-tanners on the market is self-tanning drops. They’re lightweight and can be used as a serum or mixed in with your moisturizer for a gradual glow. If you want something that packs more of a punch, then self-tanning mousses, lotions, and sprays are going to be your best option. They’re available in plenty of shades and can be used just once or layered until you’ve reached the desired intensity.

Other things to look for

If you love to wear makeup, then consider a makeup base and setting spray formulated to prime and set your makeup so it can stand up to humidity. You can buy mattifying primers that work to fill in the pores, acting as a buffer between oil and your makeup. A setting spray seals everything in, locking your look in place. 

Mistakes to avoid

There are two big mistakes you can make during the summer with your skin. The first is using products that are too heavy, and the second (and arguably the worst) mistake is not being smart about sun protection.

Heavy creams, especially during the day, will make your skin feel bulky and uncomfortable. If your skin still leans towards the dry side and you want to use something heavy, do so only at night. 

During the summer, you should be using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Consider how much time you’re spending outdoors as well. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible and reapply your sunscreen every 60-90 minutes when you’re in the sun. 

Start your summer off right

With these summer skincare tips in mind, you’ll be ready to bask in the summer sun ­while protecting your skin and keeping a youthful glow. You know your skin the best. Whether you incorporate new products or not, the best changes to make to your skincare routine during the summer are the ones you can commit to — especially wearing sunscreen.

Who wrote this?
Rebecca Byrne
Rebecca Byrne
Rebecca Byrne is a licensed master cosmetologist who has held her license since 2015. She has worked in several areas of the beauty and skincare industry, where she consulted one-on-one with clients and treated different skin conditions. Rebecca now writes beauty and cosmetology content to help others achieve their best selves and make them feel better in their own skin.
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Women's Concepts relies on the latest scientific research to provide accurate, complete, and fact-based information in skincare, on which we're willing to stake our reputation. Our team includes skincare experts who are highly regarded in their fields and committed to upholding the best standards of research. We spend quality time vetting every single product we recommend and double-checking all the facts shared on Women's Concepts. We always stand on the side of inclusivity, and our mission is to help everyone fix their skin issues as they arise and leverage the products they buy to achieve their goals. You can view our expert review board and everything about our editorial guidelines here.
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