The Brown Girl Guide To Summer Skincare — In 10 Easy Steps!
Summer is fast approaching, which means people will be baring more skin and soaking in more sun. When it comes to skincare needs, skin is skin—no matter the color. Skin is the body’s largest organ, which is why everyone’s skin needs the same helpful ingredients to address issues like dry, sensitive or oily skin, clogged pores, signs of aging, sun damage from unprotected sun exposure, uneven skin tone, and so on.
Although basic skincare needs are the same for everyone, there are some concerns that darker skin tones are more likely to experience. These concerns require special attention, so we’ve come up with 10 ways to keep that melanin protected and flawless all summer long!
- Drink Water
Higher temperatures and more time outdoors leads to internal dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizzy spells! Not a fan of plain water? Try infusing it with fresh fruits: lemons, blueberries, cucumbers, strawberries and oranges.
Another way to keep skin hydrated is by adding a face mask to your regimen one to two times a week. Need a boost at the office, in the car, at the gym or on the plane? Try Mario Badescu’s Aloe Herb and Rosewater spray (I use it daily and I love it!)
2. Use Sunscreen
No, the belief that darker skin people don’t need to wear sunscreen is not true. Our “melanated” skin cells need to stay protected from the sun’s harmful rays just as much as everyone else. During the summer months, you must apply enough and apply frequently.
The important thing to remember is to reapply every few hours if you’re outdoors. For acne-prone skin, I recommend mineral sunscreen, which sits on top of the skin rather than being absorbed. Skin care expert Dr. Jeanine Downie suggests Skinmedica’s Essential Defense Everyday Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 47.
Tip: Use SPF 30+ and stay out of the midday sun from mid-morning to late afternoon whenever you can.
- Don’t Over-Cleanse
Take cool showers. Wash all over in the morning with an antibacterial cleansing bar. At bedtime, cleanse the skin with your normal cleansing facial wash.
When using scrubs, don’t overdo it! Excessive scrubbing won’t make acne go away and can cause the skin to overproduce oil. Try to limit yourself to two washings per day — anything more than that can leave the skin dry and irritated.
- Use Lightweight Makeup
When applying and removing makeup, you’ll want to stay away from stiff-bristled brushes. Tinted moisturizers and BB creams can do wonders for our skin as they serve as both a moisturizer and foundation or concealer.
Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream has two versions: one with sunscreen SPF 30 and one with salicylic acid to fight blemishes.
Now that you know to keep your body quenched on the inside, you must also do so on the outside. The best moisturizer for dealing with warm temperatures are cooling body gels like The Body Shop’s Multi-Use Soothing Gel.
You’ll also love their lightweight Cocoa Butter Body Butter to make the skin feel soft and smell yummy!
- Eat your way to gorgeous skin!
The three vitamins you should be taking this summer are Vitamins A, C, & E.
Vitamin A helps repair skin damage from the sun as your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. To get Vitamin A naturally, consume dark leafy green vegetables such as kale. Yellow bell peppers, kiwi, and strawberries will also provide you with ample amounts of Vitamin A as well.
The ascorbic acid in Vitamin C helps keep your sweat glands in good working condition. Vitamin C is also a preventive step toward protecting your body from heat strokes and heat rashes during the summer months. A natural histamine and immune system booster, vitamin C is a must-have supplement for the summer. Tomatoes, berries, and broccoli are a few foods that are rich in the vitamin.
Vitamin E is for increasing physical endurance and muscle strength. If you’re participating in outdoor activities during the summer, vitamin E will boost your energy. Tofu, nuts, and cooked spinach are loaded with Vitamin E. Lean pork, beef, lamb, and oily fish are also good choices to add more of this essential vitamin to your diet.*
- How to deal with oily, acne-prone skin
I deal with the occasional breakout and during the summer when the weather is warmer, and I need to avoid oily skin and my makeup melting along with my ice cream. One of NYC’s top dermatologists, Dr. Doris Day recommends that those of us that are acne prone to move away from the heavy moisturizers and switch to lighter non-comedogenic lotions and serums.
- Dealing with dark spots and pigmentation? Try a chemical peel or microdermabrasion. They are totally affordable by searching on Groupon, but make sure to consult with the medical aesthetician first.
- Use face masks between facial appointments!
Can’t make it to the spa twice a week for your facials? Save for your next trip to the Bahamas by making your own masks at home. My faves? A soothing oatmeal mask and a clarifying Bentonite Clay mask.
How to make an oatmeal mask:
- Combine 1/2 cup hot—not boiling—water and 1/3 cup oatmeal.
- After the water and oatmeal have settled for two or three minutes, mix in 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 small egg white.
- Apply a thin layer of the mask to your face, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Then rinse with warm water. (Be sure to place a metal or plastic strainer in your sink to avoid clogging the drain with the granules.)
How to make a Bentonite Clay mask: Mix 1 tbsp bentonite clay + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1 drop lavender oil and apply to face for 30 minutes. Rinse. (Best to use a plastic bowl!)
- Get your drink on!
White wine is refreshing in the summer, but red wine is healing. Resveratol, a naturally occurring phenol found in the skin of red grapes can decrease redness from acute sunburns. It has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Cheers!