Summer is about lightening your beauty routine: ditching your foundation and blush for a simple swipe of bronzer; letting your locks succumb to their natural waves. The flip side to warm weather’s unbuttoned ease is the number it can do on your looks.
“Harmful UV rays are the most obvious culprit in causing wrinkles and brown spots, but they can also make your skin and hair appear dry, so you look older than your years,” says dermatologist David H. McDaniel, M.D., director of the Anti-Aging Research Institute in Virginia Beach, Va.
Then there’s the havoc high humidity and heat can wreak on hair texture (hello, frizz!) and color (hello, brassy!). We talked to leading dermatologists and dug through a mountain of research and products to offer summer-friendly tips guaranteed to keep every part of you looking gorgeous and young all season long.
1. Try a sun protection pill
Aside from daily use of a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, boost your UV protection by taking an antioxidant supplement such as Heliocare ($63 for 60; heliocare.com) or SunPill ($20 for 30; sunpill.com). New research from the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that the fern extract in these pills significantly reduced UVA-related DNA damage that leads to wrinkling and brown spots. For best results, pop one each day starting a week before you plan on fun in the sun. “This allows the antioxidants to build up in your system for maximum protection,” says Leslie Baumann, M.D., director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute.
2. Exfoliate the smart way
Alternate between daily use of chemical and mechanical exfoliation. This does a better job of removing the dead cells that build up more on the skin’s surface in the summer, which leaves a radiant glow, says Debra Jaliman, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Switch between using an AHA lotion and a Buf-Puf or scrubbing granules.
3. Layer lip balm with SPF
Slick on a formula with a built-in SPF of at least 15 underneath even an SPF-containing lipstick or gloss to further guard against thinning, dryness, and sun spots. “Lips lack a protective outer layer, so they’re incredibly sensitive to UV rays,” says Baumann.
Get the secrets to smoother skin and other beauty tips here with Prevention’s Age Beautifully Tool.
4. Use sunscreen to protect hair in a pinch
Before swimming, comb your regular sunscreen through your strands; this forms a barrier that prevents chlorine and salt water from stripping your color and drying out hair, explains Los Angeles hairstylist Jessica Galvan.
5. Try a caffeine-packed apres sun treatment
A topical jolt of caffeine significantly reduces UV-induced roughness and wrinkling in mice, according to one study. A more recent finding shows it might even help curb skin cancer by suppressing ATR, a protein that enables precancerous cells to survive and replicate. The research is preliminary, but applying a cream that contains about 1 percent caffeine after sun exposure couldn’t hurt. Try: Topix Replenix CF Anti-Photoaging Complex SPF 45 $35; skinstore.com).
6. Boost post-sun hydration
Reduce UV-induced dryness from sun exposure by slathering clean skin with moisturizer and cover ing with a warm, damp towel for 5 minutes. “The heat activates the lotion’s ingredients, which keeps skin supple,” says New Orleans dermatologist Mary P. Lupo, MD, professor of clinical dermatology at Tulane University.
7. Save your self-tan
Steer clear of exfoliating scrubs and creams that contain retinol and AHA for a few days after using your self-tanner. “These products slough the top layer of skin, removing color in the process,” says Natalie Cupid, senior technician and manager of Sundara Airbrush Tanning Salon in New York City.
8. Strengthen nails with a supplement
Take 2.5 mg of the B vitamin biotin daily. “This supplement helps prevent breakage from too much exposure to salt and chlorine,” says Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spas. Research shows that a daily dose of the nutrient increases nail thickness by 25%, making nails less apt to split and tear.
9. Get a smoother shave
Wait at least three minutes after getting in the shower before you whip out your razor. “Warm water softens the hair shaft, allowing for a closer cut and longer-lasting smoothness without nicking skin,” says Diane Wood, master barber for King of Shaves.
10. Get younger hands with moisturizer
During the day, use a hand cream containing the lightener kojic acid to soften brown spots. Try Hollywood Hands Professional Anti-Aging Hand Treatment $16; drugstores). At night, apply a hand cream that contains skin-firming retinol, suggests Baumann. Try Sally Hansen Age Correct Retinol Hand Cream $6.50 drugstores). Be sure to wear a sunblock with an SPF of at least 15 as well; these ingredients make skin sensitive.
11. Wear sandals to keep soles soft
It’s tempting this time of year, but avoid walking barefoot—even in the house or on the beach. “The added pressure causes painful and unsightly calluses to build up,” explains Allison Tangorra, a nail artist at DePasquale the Spa in Morris Plains, N.J.
12. Spot treat pimples with a cotton swab
When applying benzoyl peroxide to blemishes, use the tip of a cotton swab to precisely dab it on. This prevents the medication from stripping your self-tanner, says Nicole Weigand, spa director at the Beverly Hills Hotel Spa by La Prairie.
13. Mop your hairline after wearing a hat
Increased oils can get trapped underneath hats and headbands, causing acne along your forehead, says Cheryl Karcher, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. Run an antibacterial wipe along your forehead to prevent pimples.
14. Shampoo with baking soda to remove smog
Higher summertime pollution means more free radicals to zap the shine and color from hair. To remove dulling residue, add a pinch of baking soda to your regular shampoo instead of using a harsh clarifying cleanser. “It rinses out chemicals without stripping color,” says Galvan. Bonus: This trick helps prevent discoloration caused by chlorine and salt water, too.
15. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
“The satiny texture prevents friction from roughing up the cuticle and making hair vulnerable to warm weather-induced frizz,” says James Corbett, owner of James Corbett Studio in New York City. If you’re really ambitious, wrap your hair in a silk scarf before going to bed.
16. Self-tan from head to toe
To look longer and leaner, apply self-tanner everywhere, says Dera Enochson, creator of Xen-Tan, a company that makes self-tanners. “A uniform color helps elongate, but focusing just on your legs or arms can make you look shorter and stockier.”
17. Unclog pores with papaya
Mash up fresh papaya and apply to clean skin for three minutes. “This summertime fruit contains enzymes that slough pore-clogging dead cells, leaving skin soft and radiant,” says Karcher.
18. Choose metal-free hair bands
Avoid ponytail holders that are joined with a small metal bar: They can snag hair and cause split ends, especially when hair is wet and weaker after swimming, explains Rick Mahoney, senior stylist at Devachan Salon in New York City. Instead, look for ties covered entirely with snagproof fabric. Try Goody Ouchless Extra Thick Elastics ($3; drugstores).
19. Use a makeup brush to boost hair shine
Shine products help restore lost moisture and luminosity from increased sun exposure and hotter temps, but many contain heavy silicones that can weigh hair down. The solution? Spritz shine spray onto your blush brush and then sweep over hair. “The soft bristles help to apply precise, targeted shine without weighing down hair,” says Antoinette Beenders, vice president of global creative at Aveda.
20. Exfoliate heels in the shower
Maximize results for smooth, sexy feet by using a pumice stone on calluses and rough spots at the end of your shower. “The extra time in the water softens dead cells and makes them easier to remove,” says Choi.
21. Prep Your Razor
To extend the life of your razor a few days and ensure a smoother shave, drizzle some olive oil on the blade, suggests Cindy Barshop, owner of Completely Bare in New York City. “The oil prevents rust and product build-up, which can cause nicks.”
Simple ways to beat the sun and be safe.. 🙂