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Summer Skincare Guide: How to Minimize Sun Damage for Different Skin Types

July 20, 2022 by VitalSkin Dermatology


Summer months are for spending time outdoors. Whether you prefer hanging out by the pool, exploring the trails, swimming or lounging on a patio, UV rays are inevitable. Sun exposure can severely damage your skin in just a few minutes if the UV index is high enough.

Not to mention, the effects of prolonged sun exposure can do even more damage. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can trigger premature aging of your skin, fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots, leathery skin or scaly patches known as actinic keratosis, and more.

Let’s review some tips and products that help minimize sun damage in the summer months.

Skincare Tips & Essentials

Skincare is the same for most skin types and only varies slightly in the type of products you should be using to protect your skin. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, or even sensitive skin, our list of tips and skincare essentials is helpful for all skin types.

Summer skincare

1. Apply Sunscreen Often to Your Face, Body and Lips

Be sure to apply about one ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass, of sunscreen product that has an SPF of 30 or higher a half hour before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. If you’re spending an extended period of time sweating or swimming, consider using waterproof sunscreen.

2. Use Protective Clothing and Accessories

Wear hats and clothing that shields your skin from the sun. Clothes with tight weaves or knits, darker clothing and clothing made from unbleached cotton, high-luster polyesters and thin, satiny silk are best for sun protection. Some manufacturers are now offering garments that absorb light before the sun rays reach your skin.

3. Add Vitamin C to Your Skin Care Routine:

Vitamin C is an especially powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from sun damage. As an antioxidant, not only can Vitamin C increase your protection against sun damage, it can even repair your skin barrier, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Gently Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliation removes dead cells from the surface of your skin and expose healthy, youthful-looking skin underneath. Avoid exfoliation immediately before going into the sun, as it can make skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun.

5. Use Lighter Skincare and Makeup Products

Choose lightweight skincare products that are gel and water-based instead of thick, oil-based formulas that can block your pores and cause acne. Look for non-comedogenic products and makeup, which do not block pores.

6. Hydrate Often

In addition to using products that hydrate your skin, it’s important to hydrate from within. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay cool and keep your skin appearing vibrant and healthy.

7. Treat Sun Damage Quickly

It’s important to treat sun damage as soon as possible to help strengthen your skin barrier. This includes soothing irritated skin with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera, applying products that repair your skin such as retinol, or even consulting with a dermatologist to see what procedures are needed in order to prevent further damage to your skin.

8. Use Topical Antioxidants

Sun exposure can trigger free radicals, which are molecules that can damage skin. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals to reduce the skin damage they cause. Rubbing topical antioxidants such as vitamin C, niacinamide or retinol onto your skin can prevent sun damage before it begins.

Skincare for Dry Skin in Summer

If you have dry skin, you probably slather on moisturizer during the winter, but you should also apply moisturizer frequently during the summer too. Incorporate these tips into your routine to keep your skin nice and dewy this summer:

Use Antioxidants to Strengthen Your Skin Barrier

Day and nighttime moisturizing serums and creams with antioxidants such as Vitamin C or retinol can strengthen your skin barrier to prevent your skin from drying out.

Stay Hydrated

Incorporate hydrating products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine. These will add some much needed moisture to your skin. Also remember to drink plenty of water, which hydrates your skin from within.

Avoid Hot Baths

Hot water strips your skin of the natural oils that keeps it healthy and youthful-looking. Opt for lukewarm or cold showers to keep your skin from drying out.

Use Alcohol-free Toners

The alcohol in some toners can also dry out your skin. Protect your skin by using toners with hydrating ingredients instead, such as glycerin.

Skincare Routine For Oily Skin In Summer

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Oily skin can be even more difficult to deal with in the summer. With sweat and sunscreen adding even more moisture and oil to your skin, keeping your pores clean can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of greasy skin this summer:


You may be tempted to skip moisturizer altogether before applying sunblock. But it’s especially important to moisturize when your skin is more prone to oiliness. By hydrating your skin, moisturizer actually regulates your skin’s sebum production, which is what causes your skin to appear oily.

Switch to Lighter Skincare & Makeup

Instead of skipping moisturizer, instead switch to lighter products that are water based. You can also opt to use mattifying makeup to reduce the appearance of oily skin. It’s especially important for those with oily skin to use non-comedogenic products that don’t block your pores.

Use Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid can help reduce the amount of sebum your skin produces and removes dead skin cells, both of which can lead to acne.

Use Blotting Paper

During hot summer days or nights out on the town, blotting paper will not only keep makeup looking fresh, it can also remove excess oils that lead to breakouts.

Wash Your Face Sparingly

Washing your face too much can cause oilier skin by damaging the skin’s natural barrier. Don’t wash your face any more than you need to, which is typically in the morning, at night, or to wash away any sunscreen and sweat leftover from your time outside before applying makeup.

Use Toner

Toner soothes your skin and shrinks your pores to prevent acne breakouts. You can use an exfoliating toner with ingredients such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid to keep your pores clean.

Summer Skincare Routine For Combination Skin

Taking care of combination skin can be challenging in the summer, as products that control oil in some areas of your face can dry out other areas. The heat can make your t-zone even more oily, while also making your usually dry cheeks even worse. The following tips can help you keep your skin barrier strong, which is key to keeping combination skin under control:

Mix and Match Products for Different Areas

You may already do this as part of your normal skincare routine, but it can be more effective to use different types of products for different areas of your face. Use a lightweight moisturizer on your t-zone and save the hydrating products for your cheeks.

Use Gentle Products

Opt for gentle products during the summer such as lightweight moisturizers, micellar water for makeup removal, gentle exfoliators that won’t dry out your skin, or products containing antioxidants, which as we’ve mentioned, help strengthen your skin barrier.

Summer Skincare for Sensitive Skin

Summer skincare

Sensitive skin may require special care during the summer as the sun can exacerbate existing problems such as redness and other inflammatory skin conditions. The following tips can help you avoid itchy skin, breakouts, dry patches and more:

Use Anti-Inflammatory Products

Anti-inflammatory products that contain aloe vera or niacinamide can help soothe sensitive skin and keep redness under control.

Avoid Products with Fragrances, Dyes and Harsh Chemicals

These types of products can irritate all types of skin but more so sensitive skin. It’s important to stay away from products such as AHAs and chemical peels especially when your skin is combatting the effects of the sun during the summer months. This will help you avoid dry patches.

Treat Damaged or Irritated Skin Promptly

If your skin becomes irritated because of the sun, step into the shade immediately and begin treating the area. Use a cool compress to reduce any redness or inflammation and begin to soothe the area with the adequate products as soon as possible.

Learn more about the effects of sun damage on your skin and how to treat sunspots and other related conditions that arise as a result of UV exposure. Treating conditions that result from sun damage can be challenging and prevention is the best solution. However, we are here to help if you are looking to reverse any damages done to your skin. Learn more or consult with a dermatologist today so we can help you find the solution best suited for your skin.

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