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By: Amanda Robalin, PA-C

Summer is just around the corner, but before you swap your sweaters for swimwear, be sure to update your skin care regimen for warmer weather.

Most of us have our holy grail products that we use year-round without a second thought. But as temperatures heat up, small changes in your skin care routine can take your complexion to the next level, all while protecting from damaging UV rays and preventing premature aging.

Here are four tips to get the summer skin of your dreams.

Change It Up

As Austin’s erratic spring season ends, steadily increasing temperatures can throw skin for a loop. This year when you’re switch your sweaters for sundresses, be sure to do the same with your moisturizer.

As the weather heats up, our sweat and oil glands become more active, which can lead to oily, congested skin prone to acne breakouts. With this increase in production of natural skin oils, heavier products can promote clogged pores and lead to stubborn breakouts. If you’ve been using a heavy cream moisturizer to keep winter skin hydrated, consider switching to a more lightweight formulation for spring and summer.

Exfoliate

Exfoliation involves removal of dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis. While exfoliation is essential for maintaining smooth skin and improving fine lines and wrinkles year-round, summertime sloughing is key to achieving an enviable dewy glow.

Removing dead skin cells can be achieved either physically, with scrubs or microdermabrasion, or chemically, using acids or enzymes to dissolve the bonds holding cells together.

It’s important to keep in mind that exfoliation is intended to soften the skin, not to irritate it. Certain ingredients, although natural, may not be appropriate for your skin type. Many scrubs use walnut (or other nut) husks as abrasives. These have sharp edges and can actually create tiny cuts in your skin.

As a general rule of thumb, if your skin is highly sensitive or prone to acne, stick with chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid are great for more oily skin, while beta hydroxy acid, better known as salicylic acid, is super effective for acne-prone skin.

Hydrate

After exfoliation, remember to smooth on your favorite moisturizer. Repeated exfoliation without following up with a hydrator can leave your skin parched and hypersensitive.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural substance found in our skin that has incredible water-retention properties, which are ideal for intense hydration. Look for moisturizers with HA in them to rehydrate your skin for a nice, plump appearance. That it also has antioxidant properties and helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is icing on the cake.

Protect

SPF, SPF, SPF. During the brutal summer months, the sun and its harmful UV rays can do serious long-term damage, even if you’re only walking from your car to the office.

A broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields skin from both UVB and UVA rays should be applied to any exposed areas of skin as part of your morning skin care routine and should be reapplied every two hours to maintain protection all day long. SPF of 30 or higher is recommended, and if you plan on swimming or just tend to sweat a lot, water-resistant formulations are best.

In addition to slathering on sunscreen, be sure look for clothing with UPF protection. Grab a hat and your favorite sunglasses to prevent sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer. Your skin will thank you later.


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