Our skin goes through a lot in the summer, amidst all the sweat, sun, and fun. Even some clients who find that they aren’t irritated the rest of the year can see issues during the hottest part of the year. Here’s some advice based on issues we see most often and are asked most about during facials in the summer.
During the summer an increase in sweat is natural, whether you’re schvitzing on the subway platform in New York or dealing with a heat wave in LA. When sweat mixes with the bacteria and oil on your skin, it can lead to breakouts that you didn’t see coming. That is why it’s so important to keep up a cleansing routine. “You must cleanse, morning and night. You have to make sure that you’re clearing your skin of debris,” our Skin Therapist Anush says. Pay special attention throughout the day to your hairline. Even a splash of water up there throughout the day can help keep forehead breakouts at bay.
If you’re someone who exercises in the morning, take a toner with you so you can clean your skin once you’re done. “I love the Ursa Major wipes,” our Skin Therapist Suzanne says. “They’re great when you get into the office and you’ve already cleansed and you don’t want to again because you’ll strip your skin, but you’re sweaty and unhappy.” Jenna also recommends misting throughout the day. “Something antibacterial like the After Sun Mist from Herbivore Botanicals to kill off bacteria throughout the day.”
Speaking of acne, the dreaded body acne, the “backne.” The skin on your body is thicker than the skin on your face. This means that it can often handle something stronger than your face can. “Exfoliation is key, head to toe,” our Skin Therapist Wanda recommends. “If you suffer from a lot of body breakouts, look for a body wash with salicylic acid. Don’t use it head to toe, just in certain areas in which you’re seeing breakout activity. I also love a good peppermint wash. It keeps me cool for ten to twelve hours.” You probably know we’re picky about the quality of our exfoliants; for the body, this is one place you can use up any drug store varieties that might be too abrasive or drying for the face.
Dehydration is a big problem in the summer. There are many things that work against us, “When you’re in an AC all the time, oh man.” Suzanne sighs. “And if you’re not consuming enough fluids to balance what you’re losing from sweating, that can get you. Also if you exercise and don’t rehydrate after you’re done, you’ll end up dehydrated. Such a mess.” That is why it’s important to add hydration back into your routine whenever possible. Try a hyaluronic acid serum like the one from Image. It’s lightweight but will hold like a moisturizer.
The summer heat and all that sunscreen can make someone who produces a lot of oil even oilier and leads to a shine. To reduce this shine and oil, it seems like it’d make sense to use a cleanser or alcohol-based toner. However, it can dehydrate skin, which just produces more oil. “Switch to a gel cleanser in the morning to help control the oil,” Suzanne recommends. “And lean into balancing and mattifying ingredients,” Adrianna adds. “Don’t strip, balance.” Also ask your Skin Therapist about a blue light treatment, as it can help reduce the oiliness.
Sunscreen, no matter how strong, is meant to be reapplied regularly. This is especially true if you are in bodies of water or sweating a lot while exercising outdoors. Every day (even in the winter, really) we recommend wearing a minimum of SPF 30 to reduce the risk of skin cancer, against hyperpigmentation, and to fight signs of aging. For many of the longer-term concerns clients bring up to us, sunscreen is your insurance policy. “It’s particularly important if you have pigmentation worries. You must wear a sunscreen,” Blake urges. Summer sunburn can happen to the best of us – here is what to do and what to not do.
Folliculitis, or recurring, infected ingrown hairs, can really happen year round. It looks kind of like a pimple but is itchy and tender to the touch. “Exfoliation will help free the hair from the follicles.” Wanda says, “and make sure to use ingredients that are antibacterial. Infections can spread from pore to pore so you need to be careful. Resist the urge to pick or squeeze.” And try to let the skin breathe as it heals.
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