Summer months represent Pitta season in Ayurveda and symbolize the element of fire. The weather is warm, days are long and nature is blooming. It’s the season to lighten up our skincare routines and diet. We even lighten up our workloads as summer is a time to vacation, relax and break from our normal schedules.
Each new season is a wonderful time to transition your skincare products and lifestyles practices. Summer skincare calls for a transition to lighter skincare products, refreshing skin treatments, extra sun protection and a blending of cooling energy into our lifestyle. Today I’m sharing my top summer skin essentials to keep skin cool, calm and glowing during the warm summer months of Pitta season.
Summer Skincare Essentials
Light oil cleansers and refreshing gentle cleansers. It’s natural to want to over cleanse skin during the sweaty summer months but opt to keep the cleansing process nourishing and supportive to the skin barrier. There is a reason why I’m an absolute stickler for nourishing and gentle cleansing rituals.
I promise there is no skin type, skin condition, weather or reason why over cleansing and stripping the skin barrier is ever called for. Check out Ursa Major’s non-foaming Milky Cleanser for a refreshing summer cleanser that removes sweat and oil without disrupting the skin barrier.
Hydrating Skin Mists
With higher tendency for sun exposure during the summer, cut back on exfoliating and hydroxy acid toners. Hydrate and enliven skin with botanically infused hydrating toners like Odacite Aloe + Immortelle Hydra-Repair Treatment Mist and seek out toners that offer water based nourishment. This prepares your skin to receive moisturization, which I break down below. Opt for use of exfoliating ingredients and active hydroxy acids in your PM facial serums or gentle cleansers.
Water Based Hydration
An essential element to transition your skincare for summer months is to seek lighter approaches to moisturizing skin without overlooking hydration for the skin. Moisturization and hydration are 2 separate components of skin health. Hydration is the water content of the skin. We receive hydration from well formulated water based serums and toners, not from facial oils. Facial oils and oil based products hold hydration into the skin but they do not offer hydration to the skin.
I’ll admit I’m a little spoiled in not having to deal with dry skin (hello Miami humidity). But I know hot summers of dry heat and environments can be challenging. Heavy moisturizers and oils alone don’t do the trick in this type of climate. This is because skin can actually be moisturized yet dehydrated at the same time.
This usually leads to piling on moisturizing products and oils to the outer layers of the skin, believing it will solve what feels like dryness while dehydration lurks underneath. It’s the lack of water content in the skin that perpetuates the feeling of dryness and dehydration. This also inhibits the way skin is able to receive moisture.
Seek out water based skin mist or serums like this multi-correctional repair serum and then layer with a light facial oil. This strikes a balance of hydration and moisture. Even in transitioning from summer to fall skincare, you always want to strike the correct ratio of hydration products layered underneath your moisturizing products for the skin.
A high quality Vitamin C serum is great preventative care for photo damage/sun damage in the summer and to increase antioxidants to the skin. If dehydration is a serious concern, opt for a hyaluronic acid serum to layer underneath your facial oil.
Light Facial Oils
One thing not mentioned often enough about facial oils is the linoleic acid and oleic acid components. To make it simple, linoleic acids are lighter in weight and non-comedogenic meaning they will not clog your pores. Oils higher in oleic acid content are richer in weight and suited for drier skin types.
If you are prone to congestion, oily skin or skin inflammation, opt for oils higher in linoleic acid content and avoid coconut oils, sesame oils, butters and waxes, including shea butters and beeswax formulas. Another aspect not mentioned often is that in some circumstances, oils will trap heat and inflammation in the skin. All oils are not the same and the fatty acid components make a difference. Especially when dealing with any type of inflammatory skin conditions.
With that being said, jojoba oil, plum oil, rosehip oil and prickly pear oils are incredible summer skincare oils.
Skin Pro-Tip. No matter the season, it’s never advised to use essential oils directly on the face. They cause photosensitivity, disrupt skin barrier, skin PH imbalance and will further aggravate pre-existing skin conditions. Combine photosensitivity with summer heat and it is a recipe for disaster. Do not attempt to be your own chemist and never mix essential oils into your facial oils.
Summer is not the time to opt for deep peels, heavy retinoid use or increased hydroxy acid use. This is harmful for skin due typical increased summer sun exposure, as well as increased body heat. If you’ve experienced sensitive or sensitized skin that flares up after a hot workout, day in the sun, even feeling aggravated, you know the feeling of excess heat rising to the face.
I’m a huge fan of Marie Veronque’s Probiotic Exfolaition Mask. This exfoliator was used inside my facials for years and highly recommended for clients to use at home for an effective and gentle exfoliation skin treatment. It is formulated with lactic acid, the most gentle hydroxy acid offering an active exfoliation that supports healthy skin cell turnover without risking aggravation to skin.
If using chemical exfoliators such as retinoids or hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, opt for both SPF and a hat. I personally love a good wide brim hat and they are a stylish way to accessorize!
If you are prone to congestion in the summer, opt for a gentle salicylic acid based facial cleanser or serum used only in the evenings to prevent skin congestion. This is the most effective ingredient for congestion, as you’ll receive both the beneficial decongesting and anti-inflammatory properties salicylic acid offers.
Seek out Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide based SPF’s. It doesn’t matter if you are at an exotic beach or walking around New York City, UV rays are most powerful during the summer season. Any board certified dermatologist or well seasoned esthetician will tell you to protect your skin with an SPF 30 or higher when outdoors during summer months.
Cooling Facial Treatments
A classic Ayurvedic beauty treatment to cool skin down is a simple yogurt mask. It makes for a refreshing skin treat and a quick skin depuff if you experience heat induced puffiness. Yogurt is also a phenomenal soothing first aid for sunburns (although please avoid sunburns at all costs).
Opt for greek yogurt with your skin treatments. Greek yogurt is thicker so it holds the cold well on the skin while also preventing it from becoming runny. You can simply apply a thick layer and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Yogurt contains lactic acid and probiotics for a bit of extra skin nutrition too.
Calling all rosewaters, gemstone facials, jade rollers, cold infused compresses, light botanical leaf and flower infused skin mists to the fridge. Use chilled tools and mists on neck and face to cool the body down, clear inflammation, redness and support lymphatic flow during hot summer months.
How Often Should You Change Your Skin Care Products
To summarize, 3-4 times per year is optimal for editing our skincare products. Whether transitioning from winter months to warmer months or summer to fall, updating your skincare routine will give you a head start to prepare and protect your skin from the ever changing environmental elements.