For today’s post, I’m going over the importance of summer skincare by sharing 5 tips for healthy, radiant skin. These tips detail how to choose the right summer skincare ingredients; what products & textures to look out for; “special care items”; and how to effectively layer your summer skincare products.
A majority of the posts in The Beauty Files focus on summer skincare, and there’s a good reason for that. Taking care of your skin is a yearlong affair. However, severe summer temperatures combined with harsh UV rays can do irreversible damage to your skin if you’re not careful.
This type of premature aging is also known as “photoaging.” According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, photoaging is “ [r]esponsible for 90 percent of visible changes to the skin” (Source).
The Importance of Summer Skincare
1. Choose The Right Ingredients
While sunscreen is an undeniable part of your summer skincare arsenal, pay special attention to your day and night skincare products and the ingredients that they use.
Ideally, you’ll want to use products that are rich in antioxidants like Vitamins C, Vitamin E, and niacinamide to inhibit the production of free radicals.
What are free radicals, you ask?
These tiny particles act like daggers that hack away at the collagen underneath your skin. Without the support of collagen, your skin shows visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, along with sagging and drooping, and blemishes.
You’re more exposed to the sun during the warmer months, and it just so happens that the summer months are typically when you have extended school/work holidays.
What do you usually do during the summer months (at least in the pre-COVID times?) You’re tempted to travel, go to theme parks, frolic on the beach, splash around in the pool. Basically, you’re outdoors taking advantage of the longer daylight hours and sunny temperatures!
However, this daily exposure to UV rays stimulates the formation of free radicals, AKA “UV-induced free radical damage.” Remember what I wrote earlier about “photoaging?” That’s how excess sun exposure breaks down the skin barrier and support underneath.
(It goes without saying that this is a big reason why a quality sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare routine, no matter the season!)
When it comes to summer skin care ingredients, you absolutely cannot go wrong with anything with Vitamin C in it. It’s like the all-purpose ingredients. Plus, it’s especially good for those who don’t know where to start when it comes to summer skincare products.
Vitamin C and its form ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant that brightens up dull skin tone, reduces wrinkles, and stimulates the production of collagen. Pair a Vitamin C toner with a Vitamin C serum to pinpoint dark spots and blemishes, and you’ve got a very effective duo!
There’s no rules against using Vitamin C products in the morning or at night. Personally, I incorporate Vitamin C in my day and night skincare routine. The citrus fragrance invigorates the senses in the morning and gives my skin a fresh glow. Nighttime is the perfect time for Vitamin C products to assist the skin during its natural repair mode.
Just a reminder — When using Vitamin C products in the morning, you’ll want to make sure that you apply sunscreen before heading out.
If you are familiar with Asian beauty products, it’s likely that you’ll see the “whitening” label attached to anything with a Vitamin C derivative. For a closer look at how Vitamin C works as a skin brightener, please see this post: The Truth About Japanese Whitening Cosmetics
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that doesn’t hold back when it comes to summer skincare. It’s a formidable ingredient that you’ll want in your arsenal this summer. It goes one step further than Vitamin C by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which are caused by UV-induced photo damage. (Darn those meddling free radicals!)
This means that you’ll want to add a Vitamin E eye cream and wrinkle cream to your nighttime skincare routine. However, don’t get too discouraged when you see visible signs of aging on your face. Remember that aging is a natural process, and for many, it’s a privilege to grow one year older!
The final antioxidant that I want to introduce in the “Importance of Summer Skincare” is Niacinamide. Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 which is used to treat acne and skin pigmentation. It works by protecting the skin cells from harmful environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.
Niacinamide is also useful in combating visible signs of photoaging such as fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving uneven and dull skin tone.
2. Choose The Right Products
Now that you know what ingredients to look out for, it’s time to choose the right summer skincare products.
If you’re new to the world of summer skincare, start with an easy selection of products so that you don’t get overwhelmed with all the options on the market.
Skincare, while important, can only do so much. Remember to make the right lifestyle choices by drinking/smoking in moderation, staying hydrated, getting a good night’s rest, and wearing sun protective clothing when possible.
With that said, here are three summer skincare products that will work with any skincare routine:
No doubt about it, sunscreen is a summer essential. You’ll want to minimize sun damage by investing in a quality sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
Japanese and Korean sunscreens are formulated to block both UVA and UVB rays. Their effectiveness is denoted by the SPF and PA on the label. For example, a sunscreen that is both SPF 50+ and PA ++++ means it has the highest ratings.
When it comes to sunscreen there are two main categories: Chemical sunscreens (which absorb UV rays) and physical sunscreens (which use minerals to block the sun).
However, the wonderful world of Asian beauty products takes sunscreen to a completely different level. Within the categories of “physical” and “chemical” sunscreens, you’ll discover sunscreens with gels and milky formulas, creams, sunscreen in spray cans, and wipe-on sunscreen wipes!
Read all about 7 of my favorite Japanese sunscreens here: 7 Japanese Sunscreens To Try This Summer
Vitamin C Toner or Serum
To recap, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant proven to combat signs of photoaging. Vitamin C is available in a variety of topical forms, ranging from toners, serums, eye creams, to night gels and creams. These products typically come in orange or yellow packaging and have a citrus scent.
A Vitamin C toner, when used consistently day and night, can even out skin tone and brighten a dull complexion. Combine it with a serum, ideally one with a high concentration of ascorbic acid, to deal with blemishes and dark spots. Choose a serum that comes in an opaque container and keep it away from direct sunlight
Note that Vitamin C products, particularly serums and spot treatments, may create a slight “stinging” feeling upon application. Be sure to do a patch test before using.
My final summer skincare suggestion is a quality oil cleanser, to use in the first step of double cleansing. The Idea of watching your face may seem like an unnecessary step in a skincare routine, but there’s a method to the madness.
Double cleansing is an effective way to remove sunscreen, along with the pollutants that accumulate on the surface of the skin over the course of the day.
Simply take your desired oil cleanser, massage into your face, rinse with warm water and follow up with a foaming or gel face wash.
Likewise, regular exfoliation improves cellular turnover leaves you with fresh, clear skin which allows for better penetration of skincare products.
For more on Japanese cleansers, see my post: My Top 10 J-Beauty Cleansers and Exfoliators
3. Choose The Right Textures
When it comes to choosing the right summer skincare products, you can’t overlook texture.
Summer dryness is the result of extreme temperatures and excess exposure to the sun. These two external factors cause the appearance of dull skin and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Go for hydrating, alcohol-free toners/lotions and apply lightweight gels and gel creams to nourish the skin overnight.
Overall, you’ll want your products to layer well under sunscreen and makeup without making your face feel heavy during the day. Likewise, you’ll want a nourishing gel cream or sleeping mask that will keep your face moisturized all night long.
4. Choose The Right Special Care Items
Once you’ve found a sunscreen, Vitamin C toner, and oil cleanser that suits your skin type, then you can build up on your summer skincare routine with additional products.
Here are a few of my favorite summer special care items:
Saborino Morning Sheet Masks work in just 60 seconds and are an easy way to fulfill your AM skincare needs. For more on Japanese morning sheet masks, see this post: 4 Japanese Morning Sheet Masks Worth Trying
Cooling Bath Salts/Balms, Gels & Sheet Masks
I keep these on hand to use after workouts and long baths. I was gifted Keep Cool products last year and enjoyed the cooling sensation from its Keep Cool and Soothe Mask. Read my Keep Cool review here Winter Skincare Routine For Oily Skin With Keep Cool
For an at-home spa treatment that will make you want to show off your feet this summer with Baby Foot! Seeing the dead skin at the soles of your feet peel away is strangely satisfying, too.
My go-to product is Rohto Melano CC Serum, an inexpensive way to treat spots and blemishes.
Meishoku Bright & Peel Fruits Peeling Jelly. This product has both AHA and BHA. I use it twice a week to stimulate cell turnover. I also use it on my elbows and knees in the shower!
The skin around the eyes is thin and signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles appear earlier here. Increased exposure to UV rays can accelerate damage so it’s wise to invest in a quality eye cream (and sunnies, too!) I’ve started using I Dew Care Glow-Key Eye Cream, and I love the shimmering effect!
One final special care item that should not be overlooked when it comes to summer skin care is SUNBURN!
Ideally, you’ll want to apply sunscreen several times throughout the day when outside, but of course, that may not be possible. Sometimes you end up running errands on a day when you didn’t intend on going out. (Raises hand.)
Aloe vera naturally has cooling and soothing properties, and gels and creams that use aloe vera are great to have on hand.
Don’t pop blisters, no matter how tempting the urge, and please don’t take a “no pain no gain” approach to sunburn. If you think you need medical attention, do not hesitate to get a second opinion!
5. How To Layer Summer Skincare Products
We’re now in the final stretch of my post on the importance of summer skincare! Here’s how I layer all those hydrating, lightweight Vitamin C products:
On summer mornings, I keep my skincare routine as simple as possible. After I wake up, I apply a Saborino morning sheet mask, dab Melano CC Serum on dark spots and blemishes, apply sunscreen, and I’m DONE.
On the occasion that I wear makeup on a summer day, I opt for a tinted sunscreen. If I need a “finished” look, I’ll set my powder foundation with an aerosol sunscreen.
It’s through my nighttime routine that I give my skin intensive TLC after a day of sweating and exposure to harsh UV rays. Here’s my routine:
Oil remover > Cleanser > Exfoliating product or clay mask > Toner > Serum > Spot Treatment > Special Care Sheet Mask (like Lululun or a cooling sheet mask) > Eye Cream > Sleeping Mask
Sounds like a lot, right? That’s exactly why I keep my morning skincare routine as low-key as possible.
K-beauty fans: For a look at my summer skincare routine using Korean cosmetics, see this post:
Summer K-Beauty Skincare Essentials With YesStyle
J-beauty fans: For a look at my summer skincare routine using Japanese cosmetics, see this post:
Get Glowing Skin This Summer — 10 Japanese Skincare Products To Try
The Importance of Summer Skincare
By now you should have a good idea as to why it’s important to have a summer skincare routine!
- Choose products with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and/or niacinamide.
- Find a quality sunscreen, Vitamin C toner or serum, and oil cleanser.
- Stay away from products with alcohol and pick hydrating, lightweight gels and non-greasy products.
- Special care items like foot peeling masks and cooling sheet masks are a great way to give your summer skin some extra TLC.
- To boost the efficiency of your summer skincare products, be sure to layer your products in the correct order.
Remember, summer skincare is all about the right lifestyle habits and products that will minimize the effects of photoaging and UV-induced free radical damage. For a closer look at the connection between skincare and lifestyle please read my post, Learning From the Japanese Approach To Anti-Aging Skincare (It’s the most viewed post of all time on The Wagamama Diaries!)
The Importance of Summer Skincare
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