While many people eagerly await the arrival of summer, there’s a vast amount of us who cringe at the skin issues that it brings along. From oily skin to sunburns and more, the summer season can bring on a whole slew of new problems that take it from being a time for fun and relaxation to just plain stressful. If you’re anything like me, you may want to resign yourself to just hiding out indoors until the season runs its course, because skincare seems like too much of a commitment when most of your days involve lounging on your couch watching Netflix. However, summer skincare can be incredibly simple. Here are some tried-and-true tips that will give your skin some love, even if you hate the season.
If You’re Suffering From Oil Overload
The Problem: One issue that many people struggle with during the summer is having very oily skin. Heat increases sebum production, which is why your face may seem more oily than usual. While your first instinct may be to run out and grab a face product, sometimes the best treatments can be found right at home!
The Fix: As someone who has tried dozens of different products, I’ve found that sometimes the best fixes for my skin concerns are the ones with the fewest ingredients. With many products having ingredient lists longer than my college essays, sometimes your skin just needs simplicity. Ayesha Ahmad, a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago, swears by her mother’s homemade face masks.
Ayesha has combination skin, so she says her mother would “constantly tell [her] to use her masks rather than the typical face wash,” which consisted of gram flour, fuller’s clay, and turmeric. Almost immediately, the state of her skin improved! Peter Konish, a cosmetic chemist and the Director of Product Development and Strategic Product Innovation for the Prestige Beauty sector of Johnson and Johnson, specifically emphasizes the importance of using clay to soak up oil and draw out impurities from the skin. With plenty of recipes on the internet, you’re bound to find one that works for you.
If Your Skin is as Dry as a Desert
The Problem: While a lot of people struggle with oily skin, just as many people struggle with dryness. If you don’t stay properly hydrated, the increase in direct sun exposure and heat can really dry out your skin. Luckily, besides drinking more water (which I suppose most of us could stand to do more of), there is another way to keep your skin from looking like a desert.
The Fix: Viviana Moreno, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida, swears by a cooling aloe vera gel because it hydrates without being heavy on her skin and clogging her pores. The Indian Journal of Dermatology advocates for the healing and cosmetic properties of aloe vera, which have been used for centuries for all sorts of skin concerns, and many beauty companies are now including this miracle worker in their products.
If You’re Feeling the Sunburn
The Problem: It sucks when you spend all day lounging by the pool or ocean, only to come home to angry red burns and peeling skin that stings for days on end. When you’re running from activity to activity, it’s easy to forget how long you’re actually in the sun. Even on cloudy days, those harsh rays are still affecting you, so it’s incredibly important to stay protected.
The Fix: Sunscreen mists are about to be your new best friend. Not only are they super convenient, but they allow you to protect your skin even over makeup. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests you apply sunscreen to every exposed part of your body, and reapply at least every two hours or after swimming/sweating. Emilia Nowak, a rising sophomore at Tennessee State University, can readily attest to the benefits of using sunscreen mists. “With skin as pale as mine, I can barely step outside for a few minutes without burning,” she says. “I’ve always struggled with layering sunscreen under makeup because the layers always feel too heavy during the summer. However, once I discovered sunscreen mists I’ve been able to easily re-apply sunscreen throughout the day and over my makeup as well!” Emilia’s recommended product: Supergoop Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with SPF 30.
If Your Acne is Extra Aggravated This Season
The Problem: Acne on its own can be irritating to deal with, but in the summer, it’s easy for it to get aggravated from sun exposure and the excess sweat and oil that appear because of the heat. Currently, my acne is at its worst, and no matter what I try, it seems like these blemishes will never go away.
The Fix: To kill two birds with one stone, use products that are oil-free or include salicylic acid (bonus points if they include both!). Emmy M. Graber, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of the Cosmetic and Laser Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, reveals that salicylic acid exfoliates the dead skin on the skin’s surface that clogs pores, preventing build-up that contributes to the formation of acne. Emmanuela Serenti, a rising senior at the University of South Florida, manages her acne with a body-acne fighting wash. She suggests using a wash with a small amount of salicylic acid every day and recommends taking a shower as quickly as possible after sweating. Emmanuela finds that this product has made her acne more manageable, and improved the condition of her skin overall.
If Your Skin Rubs You the Wrong Way
The Problem: If you’re unfamiliar with chafing, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Chafing involves splotchy red rashes that sting which are caused by friction, moisture, and often heat (ouch). It happens when an area of skin is repeatedly rubbed against another patch of skin or irritating fabric, which causes it to become uncomfortable and sensitive. Basically, it’s not fun—but unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, and it is especially common in the summer. Luckily, there are some ways to treat chafing and even prevent it.
The Fix: One way to avoid this issue completely is to avoid coarse or constrictive clothing and stay out of the heat as much as possible (which can be hard in the summertime, I know). As another preventive method, Vaseline advises using their petroleum jelly on the inner thighs, as it reduces friction by allowing your legs to slide against each other. If you follow these tricks and still chafe, Selena Ramos, a junior at the University of Alabama, has a method for soothing the annoying rash. “If I do end up chafing, I rinse the skin with cool water and sometimes a gentle soap and try to change into loose clothes as soon as possible,” she says. “I also will apply aloe vera gel if it stings a lot and try to leave the area uncovered as much as possible to let my skin breathe, especially if I’m sleeping.” Chafing definitely hurts so avoid further irritating the rash by staying away from those skinny jeans for a couple days.
If Shaving Isn’t Going Too Smoothly
The Problem: When you’re trying to get the smoothest shave possible during the summer, it can be irritating (literally) to end up with a red rash instead. These small red bumps can occur after shaving because the hair follicles get twisted and pulled from scraping at your skin’s surface, and they can last for days. Razor bumps usually occur if you are shaving too quickly, not using lubricant, or going against the direction your hair grows.
The Fix: Shaving slowly not only prevents you from nicking yourself, but it is also known to prevent razor burn. Dr. Jennifer Chwaleck, a board-certified dermatologist, also advises that a clean razor should always be used, rather than using a dull one. Jaimie Peterson, a senior at the University of Kentucky, always makes sure to use shaving cream as a lubricant. Shave in light strokes in the direction of your hair growth, and always keep a clean blade on hand to avoid using a dull razor,” she says. Jaimie finds that putting more time into her shave allows her to end up with the smooth skin she wants, rather than a painful rash.
If You Didn’t Beat the Heat…And Have a Rash to Prove It
The Problem: Like razor burns, heat rashes occur when the weather is hot and humid. a These tiny white bumps are filled with fluid and develop anywhere that sweat glands are blocked (AKA just not a good situation). They form because the pores in your skin become clogged—preventing sweat from escaping. This creates inflamed bumps/sores which can last for several days at a time.
The Fix: While heat rashes may seem unavoidable, there are ways to prevent them. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests wearing loose clothing that is made of cotton and to avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day. This will keep yourself from sweating too much, which is an easy way to get a heat rash. Ariana Pierre, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, has discovered a way to treat a heat rash if you still end up suffering from one: “While the best thing to do is to leave the heat rash alone, using cold compresses can help alleviate the pain and calm down your skin.” Just like with chafing, make sure you aren’t doing anything to further irritate your heat rash if you happen to get it.
What are your summer skin concerns, and how do you solve them? Let us know in the comments down below!
Opening image by Chloe Felopulos.