The Summer Skincare Survival Kit

Smiling woman wearing floppy hat outside

Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.

Novelist Roman Payne

Summer sunshine gets us outside to enjoy our beaches, lakes, parks and yards. It warms us and spreads feelings of good cheer. But too much of this good thing can cause serious skin problems, ranging from breakouts to permanent damage to cancer.

A solid summer skincare regimen needs to be, like you, a serious multi-tasker. Sun protection is critical, but your skin also needs deep cleaning to clear away sweat and makeup, exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, and possibly even some pain relief when sunburns do come into play.

With that in mind, here’s a collection of products that do this tough work, without taking over your life or blowing up your credit card. The secret? I’m sticking with products that deliver double the benefits — and that saves you time and money.

Easy Summer Skincare Regimen

1. Cleanse and tone daily

We know washing the face with water strips away moisture and irritates skin, so why do we do it? A gentler alternative is micellar cleanser, which pulls away make up and dirt with a simple swipe. No scrubbing and no water required.

One to try is Soft Sweep by Care Skincare, because it’s a micellar cleanser and toner in one. If your normal routine involves removing makeup, cleansing and then toning, this $24 product shrinks those three steps into one.

When you’re done, your skin will be clean, balanced and ready for your daily dose of moisture. And we’re continuing with the two-in-one theme, so we want a moisturizer that has sun protection too.

2. Apply moisture and sun protection daily

You can find many moisturizers with SPF in the skincare aisles, but most do not provide enough protection.

New York City dermatologist Dr. Jane Prystowsky recommends choosing a moisturizer with SPF 50 or more. You need at least SPF 25, Dr. Prystowsky tells us, but most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to get the protection level specified on the bottle. If you only use a thin layer, you’re likely getting only half the SPF you think.

Dr. Prystowsky also prefers formulas that use a physical blocker like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are less popular, because they can leave a white haze on your face, but the sun protection is unmatched.

My pick here is SPF Rx Daily Skin Hydrator. It moisturizes and provides SPF 50 protection with zinc oxide. The formula is water resistant, PABA-free, fragrance-free and leaves no white film on your face.

3. Add a hat for style

Hats provide another layer of sun protection and also add fun summer style to any outfit. And it doesn’t have to be the traditional floppy hat, either. Any headpiece with a wide brim delivers the shade you need. Boater, bowler, fedora, panama or even visor — whatever your taste, sun protection is always stylish.

I love this cloche-inspired tweed floppy hat from Kohl’s. Packable and easy to wear, it’s a no-brainer for any summer weekend getaway.

4. Exfoliate once weekly

A weekly exfoliation clears away dead skin cells, improves circulation and can also help fade dark skin patches by breaking up pigmented cells. Over time, your skin will be brighter, smoother and softer.

Ingredients for summer skincare scrub: coffee, honey, baking soda
Make your own exfoliator with equal parts coffee, honey and baking soda.

You certainly can buy a fancy exfoliator, but you don’t have to. They’re easy to make from ingredients you have in your pantry. One of my favorites is the coffee-honey-baking soda scrub which you can use for face and body. If you have sensitive skin, swap out the coffee for oatmeal.

5. Soothe burns as needed

Despite your best efforts, you may still feel the sting of a sunburn once or twice this summer. An itchy burn means your skin is damaged and needs to heal. Of course you know that, but the knowledge doesn’t always prevent you from picking or scratching at irritated skin.

Help yourself out by keeping a soothing cream or lotion on hand to calm that burned skin. You’ll be more comfortable and less likely to make things worse.

One option I like is Pain Relief Cream by CBD Essentials. It has a therapeutic blend of premium CBD plus moisturizing coconut oil and shea butter. You can use it for sore muscles and insect bites, too!

Thank you to Care Skincare and CBD Essentials for providing product samples used in this post.

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Catherine Brock

Style Editor at The Budget Fashionista
Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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