January 30, 2023

With the British weather currently doing a classic yo-yo between intense sunshine and all-day downpours, and basically nothing in between, it might seem somewhat out of sorts to be talking about summer skincare essentials. However, I’m optimistic that sunshine season will be sticking around on a more permanent basis soon, and with more and more of us spending time outdoors whatever the weather, it makes sense to be overly prepared when it comes to caring for our skin—especially as summer can spark a whole host of unexpected changes for our complexions.

“The summer brings with it a desire to be outdoors more, enjoy sports outside, sit by windows and enjoy the warmth and light from the sun, [and] this results in an increase in radiation to the skin,” explains Emma Craythorne, SkinCeuticals’ consultant dermatologist. Skin experts agree that this increased exposure to UVB rays alongside UVA radiation can lead to skincare concerns like hyperpigmentation; increased sebum production, which can cause breakouts; and increased dryness, causing anything from eczema to premature ageing. Yikes.

Luckily, there are certain products that we can all incorporate into our summer skincare routines to minimise the effects of increased sun exposure and keep our skin feeling healthy and looking its best.

Summer Skincare Essentials

Finally, as a fan of chemical exfoliation, I was delighted the experts agreed that summer skincare routines should still include exfoliation. In fact, “exfoliation is key over the summer months,” says Dr. OBT. “Replacing dead cells with younger ones and ensuring the removal of dirt, debris and environmental pollutants that come with being outdoors more is useful for preventing breakouts.”

In fact, both strong antioxidants like retinol and acid exfoliators can both be used throughout the summer with some extra care. “Retinol and acids don’t need to be stopped in the summer,” agrees Craythorne. “You just need to be careful to ensure your sunscreen application is really great, as you are essentially thinning the stratum corneum [the outermost layer of your skin’s epidermis].”

Summer Skincare Essentials: Murad Vita-C Triple Exfoliating Facial
Vita-C Triple Exfoliating Facial

I’ve been so impressed by this new exfoliating treatment from Murad. Inspired by professional microdermabrasion facials, it uses a mix of physical, chemical and enzymatic exfoliants to remove dead skin cells and vitamin C to brighten skin and even tone. Use it up to three times a week for seriously smooth, glowy skin.

Summer Skincare Swaps: IS Clincal Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque
IS Clincal
Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque

This five-minute mask contains decongesting salicylic acid, botanical enzymes and eco-friendly microbeads work together to remove dead skin cells, smooth rough patches and refine pores for more even-looking, brighter skin. 

Summer Skincare Essentials: Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel
Papaya Enzyme Peel

If you don’t like gritty scrubs, then this non-abrasive, creamy formula from Elemis is brilliant. It uses the natural enzymes found in papaya and pineapple to nibble away dead skin cells to reveal the fresh, bright skin beneath.

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Up next, my friend looks 10 years younger than she is, so I did her skincare routine for five months.