Even the most thoughtfully assembled skin-care routine is rarely a year-round winner. Shifts in humidity, arctic blasts of air-conditioning, and brighter, longer days all play a role in how your skin holds up. With summer officially here, now’s the time to rethink your seasonal wardrobe from the neck up, with an eye toward maintaining—and protecting—that fair-weather glow. Here, dermatologist Anne Chapas, M.D., of Union Square Dermatology in Manhattan, lays out the key points, from upping your antioxidants to double downing on matte sunscreen.
Swap Out Heavy Creams
As your closet leans toward linens and sheer cottons, let your skin care follow suit. “It’s really a time to lighten up,” says Chapas, who suggests trading richer moisturizers for featherlight lotions and gels during the warmer months. For normal to oily skin, she recommends SkinCeutical’s B5 gel: “It’s hydrating without being occlusive.” If your skin skews dry, Cetaphil’s cult-classic facial lotion delivers moisture in a summer-weight formula, adds Chapas.
Give Yourself a Vitamin C Boost
Looking for an extra layer of protection? “Vitamin C helps combat SPF rays that aren’t fully blocked by your sunscreen,” Chapas explains, adding that she uses a serum fortified with the antioxidant every day. Ole Henriken’s oil-free Truth Serum, with a fresh-squeezed citrus scent, helps promote collagen production. Clinique offers a vitamin C concentrate, Fresh Pressed, that can be mixed into moisturizer for a supercharged punch. And for a quick fix, Dr. Dennis Gross’s multitasking C + Collagen Mist calls on a blend of vitamin C, amino acids, and antioxidants to help revive a dull complexion and shield skin from environmental aggressors.
Find Your Sunscreen Match
A hyper-shiny glow often accompanies diligent sunscreen use, but now there are formulas in just about every texture, from dewy to matte. Chapas puts a word in for EltaMD’s UV Clear, which reduces shine and leaves no chalky white residue (a downside to some all-mineral formulas). “It’s definitely one of my favorites,” she confirms. Shiseido’s Urban Environment SPF is an ultra-light version that goes on like a water-resistant veil and is bound to be a beach staple, while La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios SPF 50 primer creates a blank canvas for makeup. “It’s kind of like your moisturizer and your sunscreen,” says Chapas. “And it’s mattifying, so you can wear it all day.” Above all, she adds, reapplying every 80 minutes is key.
Look to Skin-Brightening Products
No SPF is foolproof (exactly why the term sunblock has fallen from grace). Besides, life—in the park, at the beach, between errands—is for the living. If summer leaves its mark, take a page from the dermatologist’s own skin-care routine. “I use a lot of lighteners” to help keep hyperpigmentation and melasma at bay, says Chapas, who is currently applying SkinMedica’s latest pigment-correcting serum on her face, neck, and chest. “This is something my patients are on even in the summer because it doesn’t have retinol or cause skin sensitivity,” she says. Irritating formulas can set you up for a sunburn, she cautions, so it’s best to lay off any aggressive products. After all, maintaining a low-key chill is the best prescription this season.