School's out, sun's out and you have three glorious months ahead of you before homework starts again. But along with the beach towels, popsicles and late night bonfires can come something way less fun: skin problems. It's summer vacation, and while your sleep schedule might suffer, your skin shouldn't. We hit the books and got some expert advice for how to avoid (and deal with) common summer skin issues so you can enjoy the next few months worry-free.
1. Dry and flaky skin
Chlorine strips your skin's natural oils, so make sure you shower as soon as you get out of the pool instead of lounging around on your towel. Set the shower at a warm, rather than hot, temperature. And while we're #blessed to have air conditioning on hot summer days, A/C actually removes moisture from the air, leading to—you guessed it—more dry skin. Make sure you moisturize, and choose mild, gentle skin products to keep your glow. Since higher temperatures mean more sweating, staying well-hydrated will help your skin from within. Even just drinking an extra 12 ounces a day can make a huge difference, so find a cute bottle and try some fruit-infused water recipes.
2. Clogged pores
"If you’re going to wear makeup, look for ingredients that won’t clog or block your pores. In general, mineral makeup is a safe bet - they even contain known skin healing ingredients, such as Zinc Oxide," advises Vance Soto, President and Owner of OleHenriksen Face/Body Spa. Sleeping with your makeup on won't help things either—as Soto says, "It’s a skin sin!" Exfoliating with a scrub or loofah in the shower will help get rid of sweat, sunscreen and other residue that can build up during the day and potentially clog pores. Tight clothes can also contribute to this skin issue, so opt for breezier styles this summer to stay cool and clogged pore-free.
Even if you don't have oily skin during the rest of the year, once the summer sun comes out it might still make your skin start overproducing oil. While we love a good dewy makeup look, there's a difference between dewy and, well, shiny af. Throw some oil-blotting sheets in your beach bag, and fight the urge to rush out and buy every toner or cleanser that promises you oil-free skin. These products are often alcohol-based, and so harsh that they can actually make your skin even oilier. It's counterintuitive, but fight oiliness with a good moisturizer or try out the new beauty trend of skin oils.
They've happened to all us—and it hurts like hell. But besides just the discomfort, sunburns can have serious long-term implications, from sun spots to premature wrinkles or even skin cancer. Make sure you apply SPF before heading outside, even if it's just for a few minutes. (And no, 15 SPF doesn't count.) Even sitting in traffic can give you a sunburn, so always be careful. "Your 30-year-old self will thank you later," says Soto. Wide-brimmed hats and flowy sleeves will also help keep you safe from the sun, so take advantage of summer's hottest styles while protecting your skin! If you do get burned, aloe vera gel will take away the sunburn's sting, and try freezing aloe ice cubes for cool relief.
It's a common skincare myth that sunlight fights acne, so turn to actual skincare products, not tanning, to deal with breakouts this summer. "If you get an angry pimple and need it to be GONE as soon as possible, I recommend again looking for that magic ingredient salicylic acid," says Dr. Pimple Popper, founder of DrPimplePopper.com and SLMD Skincare. "Putting a dollop of your favorite clay mask on the pimple will remind you to keep your hands away, too! Bacteria = breakouts, and dirty hands will only make the problem worse." Sweaty clothes can also lead to breakouts, so make sure you throw that sports bra right in the washer after a workout! Whether it smells or not, it still has acne-causing bacteria.
6. Razor burn
Unfortunately, with bikinis can also come with some redness or irritation down there, which is the last thing you want while hitting the beach in your favorite suit. Always use a clean, sharp razor & splurge on shaving cream instead of bar soap for an easy, painless shave. If you're struggling with ingrown hairs, gently exfoliate to get rid of dead skin cells. If the issue is more of a rash, try moisturizing before shaving so the razor will glide over the area more smoothly. And no matter what, don't scratch! The bacteria under your fingernails could lead to an infection.
With these tips and tricks, there's no excuse for letting your skin stress you out this summer! Establishing a routine can help make sure your complexion stays clear and glowy all summer long, so consider setting a reminder on your phone to put on SPF before leaving for brunch in the morning or putting a "wash your face!" Post-it on the bathroom mirror. When you look back at this summer, make sure you remember all the happy memories—not dealing with breakouts or sunburn.