Since we spend so much more time outside during the summer than in winter, sun protection should be a primary skincare focus. Here are some tips to adapt to our hot and humid Long Island summers and to boost your anti-aging regimen for your best summer skin.
As always, make sure to cleanse well, but exfoliation is the foundation of your regimen. This simple, weekly effort rids your skin of dead cells to ensure maximum benefit from other products. There are three basic types of exfoliants—scrubs, chemicals and enzymes—and you should choose based on your skin type.
If you have younger or oily skin, a scrub is a refreshing way to dig up and rinse away those dead cells. A good scrub has moisturizing and cleansing ingredients along with particles that will rub away the top layer of skin. No matter what kind of skin you have, look for a product that uses smooth, round particles. Jagged grit always has the possibility of damaging skin and breaking small capillaries.
Chemical exfoliants, such as alpha hydroxy acids, dissolve dead skin cells rather than scrub them away. These also treat lower levels of the dermis and are great for dry or aging skin. These can also have a firming effect, decreasing the appearance of fine lines. Enzymes derived from fruit are effective and gentle, and the best choice for aging, dry or sensitive skin. Antioxidant rich, they also help strengthen healthy skin.
Whatever your choice, remember to rinse well.
Using a toner and moisturizer immediately after exfoliation is essential to prevent skin from becoming too dry. With our humid Long Island summers, choose a noncomedogenic (non-pore clogging) moisturizer to avoid irritation and breakouts.
The next step—protection—is the most important. Find a sunscreen that you like. Using a broad-spectrum product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is key. We used to think that if you used an SPF (sun protection factor) 15, that meant you could stay in the sun for 15 hours without getting sunburned. The rays you are exposed to fluctuate throughout the day, so that old rule of thumb about SPF is not true. The SPF you choose should depend on your skin type and how long you will be out in the sun. The fairer your skin and the longer you plan to be exposed, the higher SPF you will need.
There are so many sunscreen options from which to choose, from lotions and creams to sprays and oils, and SPFs from 8 on up. When you find the right sunscreen or sunblock for you, choose a minimum SPF of 15. Reapply every hour or so after swimming or excessive perspiration, even if the product says it is water resistant. Apply all sunscreen about 15 minutes before heading outside, and don’t forget your lips, ears and the tops of your feet.
Your nighttime routine should include cleansing, which will help remove any remnants of the sunscreen from your skin. Follow with a toner and a quality hydrating night cream. I follow my weekly exfoliation with a good hydrating mask, since my skin is perfectly prepped to receive its benefits.
Remember to hydrate from within. Drink plenty of water and, if you like it, coconut water. You can add lemon or cucumber to the water if you get bored, but keep in mind that if you feel thirsty, you’ve already started to dehydrate.
One final tip: We’ve all heard the term “beauty sleep.” Our bodies heal while we sleep. That includes your skin and your spirit. So during the busy summer months, remember to plan for sufficient sleep.