The ultimate summer dream is glowing, tanned skin that looks like it’s been treated to a relaxing holiday in the Bahamas. In reality, it’s greasy skin, sunburn and acne. This is because the harsh summer sun triggers excess sebum production to compensate for all the moisture loss. Add to this the long hours spent in the company of skin-drying air conditioners, and you have the perfect recipe for a serious bout of summertime sadness. The key lies in stripping down the routine and reconsidering the formulas we’ve been hoarding all winter. Here are the swaps and star ingredients your skincare regime really needs.
STEP 1: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
“In the short time period between winter and summer, the moisture in the air is already increasing. Switch from a creamy hydrating cleanser to a gentle foaming one that removes the day’s worth of build-up and greasy residue,” says dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad. She recommends using it only twice a day—overwashing might be counterproductive as it strips the skin of natural oils and triggers excess sebum production. “Look for a cleanser with a low percentage of BHA (beta hydroxyl acid), like salicylic acid, that works hard to unclog pores in summer,” she adds. Ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree, cucumber and algae extracts that have soothing and moisturising properties should be your go-to.
STEP 2: TONE TROUBLESOME SPOTS
The OG toners from the ’90s got some bad rap thanks to the stingy, dehydrating feeling. The modern versions are much kinder. “Toners should be used over oil-prone areas (like your T-Zone) to deep cleanse, balance your skin’s pH levels, close open pores, and to restore glow,” advises Sharad. “Toners with alcohol, menthol and camphor are most damaging and drying. Instead include ingredients like, rosewater, micellar water and apple cider vinegar.” And if you have dry and sensitive skin, it’s ideal to skip this step.
STEP 3: BE LIGHTWEIGHT
In the humid summer, a rich serum is a lot like a quilted jacket—you don’t really need it. “Heavier serums or oils can clog pores and make you more prone to breakouts and blackheads. Pick lighter textures, water or gel—based serums that are easily absorbed, and lock in moisture,” recommends dermatologist Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta. “If you do find the need to rely on your heavy anti-ageing elixirs or facial oils during summer, you can pare down the use to twice a week, and use them only at night,” she adds. Look out for the all-star vitamin C, which is best to fight sun damage, boost collagen production and reduce dullness. Remember to pat the formula gently into your skin.
STEP 4: STAY HYDRATED
When it comes to picking an effective moisturiser, you’ll first have to take stock of your skin type. “Extremely dry skin needs heavier creams (that are packed with omega fatty acids) even in summer to restore moisture, whereas oily skin types can opt for gel-based ones,” says Mittal Gupta. “Even if your skin feels oily, never skip this step in the morning or at night. The added layer of moisture strengthens the skin’s barrier against external pollutants, reduces oil secretion by balancing your PH levels further and keeps it glowing.”
STEP 5: DON’T BLOCK THE SUNBLOCK
You probably know that sunscreen is a non-negotiable when it comes to protecting skin against glow— zapping, age accelerating UV rays. “Opt for a mineral-based sunscreen in a gel texture that absorbs easily and ensures make-up lasts longer, sans the use of a primer,” says dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia. She also recommends you pick between an SPF 30 to 50, as anything higher than that may just not live up to its potential. Apply two tablespoons, twice a day in the morning and afternoon at the end of your skincare routine and before your make-up for maximum protection.
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