Make These Five Changes To Your Skincare Routine This Summer

We asked a dermatologist for her best warm weather beauty tips.


Stop panicking in the skincare aisle. Photo by Jamie Ducharme

As summer approaches, swapping your wool sweaters and floor-length down jackets for sundresses and sandals is a very welcome no-brainer. But your skincare needs a warm weather update, too.

Dr. Emmy Graber, an assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, says summer skincare needs to start sooner rather than later–think Memorial Day, not the Fourth of July. Here, she walks us through the five beauty adjustments you should be making as the temperature rises.

Be extra vigilant about sunscreen.

Shocker, right? While sunscreen should be part of your beauty routine 365 days a year, Graber says summer demands a slightly more nuanced sun protection regimen. She stresses the importance of sunscreen for the body, face, lips, and—for guys, especially—the scalp, and says to look at more than just SPF number when choosing a moisturizer or makeup that includes sunscreen. “It’s really best to look for one that says it blocks against both UVA and UVB light,” Graber explains, noting that both types can cause skin damage. “The SPF number only refers to UVB, so even if it’s a very high SPF, it might not be blocking against UVA.”

Eliminate retinols and certain acids.

Some products you use all year long may increase chances of sunburn in the summer, Graber says. Three ingredients she says to steer clear of are retinols, which are typically used in anti-aging and anti-acne products like Retin-A, and glycolic and salicylic acid, which are often used in over-the-counter acne products. “Either add extra sunscreen and/or reduce the use of those products,” Graber recommends. “If someone is still finding that they’re burning easily even after reduced use, such as maybe applying every other day instead of every day, then they would want to stop using them.”

Cut out creams.

Dry winter skin practically begs for a rich night cream, but Graber says those heavy products should be stashed in the back of your medicine cabinet until the leaves start to change. Instead, she suggests a lighter lotion-based moisturizer for the warm months.

Say hello to powder.

Never heard of powdered sunscreens? Also called mineral sunscreens and applied like a powder foundation, Graber they could be the key to keeping your look dewy rather than damp when the weather gets hot and sticky. “Because everyone’s sweating and it’s more humid in the summer months, sometimes people prefer a powder rather than a liquid cream,” Graber says. “Even switching makeup from creams to powders can be very helpful for people who tend to perspire a lot or who have very oily skin.”

Be wary of face oils.

Ultra-trendy face oils, constantly praised for being fast-absorbing and light on the skin, may seem like the perfect summer beauty product, but Graber says to proceed with caution. “Certain types of oils might cause acne, especially vegetable oils,” Graber warns. “A lot of times they’re scented with certain ingredients or they might have a little tea tree oil, they might have a little lavender oil, and people can develop pretty significant allergic reactions to those on their skin.”