It’s been a long, cold winter for most of the country, but warmer weather is finally on the horizon! What does that mean for your skin? It’s time to switch up your routine, of course. We tapped Dr. Craig Kraffert, board certified dermatologist and president of Amarte skincare, to tell us exactly what the temperature change means for our skin.
Photo courtesy of Lachlan Bailey/Vogue Paris
The humidity that comes with warmer weather requires lighter emollients, Dr. Kraffert says. That means it’s time to put away your rich creams in lieu of lighter moisturizers, like DDF’s Ultra Lite Oil Free Moisturizing Dew ($42). Skin tends to be less sensitive when humidity is higher, thanks to the added moisture, so it’s also time to give a scrub or peel a try, he says.
Oral medications, like doxycycline and tetracycline, can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so you’ll need to amp up your SPF if you’re spending more time outdoors. Always check with your doctor, but Dr. Kraffert recommends taking those medications in the evening instead.
Applying topical retinoids in the morning can have a similar effect, though Kraffert says that new time-release retinol products, like Murad’s Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles ($65), are designed to cut down on sun sensitivity. He also recommends putting away your most potent glycolic acids when you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun.
Dr. Kraffert recommends having a conversation with your doctor about photosensitivity before going on certain medications in the sunnier months, like Accutane. He also advises against skin resurfacing and laser hair removal in the summer. “Even a little bit of a tan is a big deal for the laser,” he told us. “You’re much more likely to burn the skin.”
Postpone your laser hair removal if you’ll be in the sun, and opt for the Bic Soleil Disposable Bella Flexible Blades ($6, for 3) instead!
“If you’re already using a high SPF product, you don’t really need to change,” says Dr. Kraffert. “Traditionally, the problem has been that products with an SPF over 20 don’t work well with other skincare.” He worked to develop Amarte’s Ultra Veil, launching this summer, which provides SPF 50+ with no oily residue or chalkiness. If you have a product like that, you can use it year round with confidence.
Vitamin D is very important to overall health, Dr. Kraffert says, and you could be lacking the important nutrient if you’re staying out of the sun. You’ll likely need to add an oral supplement to your routine as well, he says. Try Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins ($9) or Nature Made Vitamin D3 2000 IU Tablets ($12)
“As a dermatologist, I spend all day looking at damaged skin,” Dr. Kraffert told us. “Women might protect their faces, but they’ve often neglected their décolletage, hands, chest, and neck.” Any part of your skin that’s not covered by clothing should be protected with SPF. Over time, sun exposure degrades the levels of collagen and elastin in your skin, leading to poor tone and texture. Keep Supergoop Continuous Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($19) on hand to protect your body in a pinch!
“There’s so much confusion about sunscreen reapplication,” Dr. Kraffert says. “When in doubt, reapply; but it’s not necessarily the case that sunscreen wears off every two hours like the package may say.” Unless you’re spending hours in the pool, exercising outside, or rubbing your sunscreen off, reapplying two or three times in a day is sufficient.
We like Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50 ($11) and Badger Broad Spectrum Sport Sunscreen, SPF 35 ($16) for days spend in the sun.
No! While it’s better than nothing, it’s safer to use a sunscreen as well, Dr. Kraffert says. Why? Unless you’re coating your skin with a thick layer of foundation three times a day, you’ll need a separate sunscreen to actually get the SPF levels printed on the bottle. Apply Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector, SPF 42 ($30) or Clarins UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen ($41) before your makeup.
Yes! According to Dr. Kraffert, exfoliation is “the key to optimizing every skin care regimen. No matter how great the products are that you’re using, if you haven’t exfoliated, the products aren’t going to function as optimally.” An exfoliator designed for everyday use—Kraffert suggests Amarte’s Daily ExfoliPowder ($35)—should be a part of your routine all year round.