Here’s the thing about summer: It’s hot. Sometimes it’s really, really hot. We love swimming, sunbathing (with SPF!), and all other varieties of lazing about in the amazing weather as much as the next girl (or human being, for that matter), but heat and humidity are some of skin’s worst enemies, especially when it comes to the acne-prone. We’re on the front lines of blemish-fighting as we speak, so use these tips and tricks to keep your skin clean and clear all summer long.
Keep pores clean.
Washing your face morning and night is key year-round, but it’s especially important when our skin is subjected to the relentless grime-generating heat and humidity of summer weather. While they may feel like they’re getting skin extra clean, steer clear of drying astringent ingredients and opt instead for gentle, naturally deep cleansing formulas, like the super-refreshing Éminence Eucalyptus Cleansing Concentrate ($39, fragrancenet.com). If your skin tends toward over-drying and dehydration, try alternating with a non-foaming cream cleanser in the morning.
Use the right moisturizer.
A lightweight daytime moisturizer that won’t clog pores, even after you sweat, is just as important as keeping skin clean. The market is flooded with moisturizers that also contain built-in SPF, but we’re partial to the new Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF 50 ($90, barneys.com) for a multitude of reasons: It’s oil-free, absorbs almost immediately, and protects by using six natural scientific sunscreens as opposed to chemical versions, not to mention its anti-aging benefits.
The frequency and type of exfoliation depends upon your skin’s own needs, but a good general rule is to avoid exfoliating more often than every other day, although it can be tempting to “scrub your face off” when you’re feeling especially sweaty and gross. Ah, summer! For gentle, super-effective cleansing, nothing beats a good brush-down with the Clarisonic ($149, clarisonic.com), but if you’re choosing a physical scrub, opt for something with small, round exfoliating beads.
Treat problem areas day and night.
After you cleanse and moisturize at night, dab a salicylic acid or prescription treatment on active spots and erupted areas. You can also fight blemishes during the day by applying a layer of Kate Somerville HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel ($65, katesomerville.com) beneath your moisturizer and SPF before applying makeup. This innovative treatment works to reduce current blemishes and prevent future breakouts while hydrating and regulating oil production all day long, which basically makes it a miracle product for the acne-prone.
Ditch the makeup.
Replace your full face of foundation and concealer with a one-step tinted moisturizer. “Tinted moisturizer” used to be reserved for those who only need the lightest of coverage, but the latest incarnations are more pigmented and complexion-evening than ever before. Not only does Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Dark Spot Correcting ($42, sephora.com) provide medium coverage that fades imperfections while it covers, but it comes in eight shades, which is about seven more than most BB and CC creams.
Use a mask once or twice a week.
Clay-based masks are ideal for some serious pore-purging, which is why we love them for summer. Yes to Tomatoes Clearing Facial Mask ($14.99, yestocarrots.com) is one of our favorite blemish-fighting masks because it’s chock full of all-natural antioxidant ingredients that moisturize, refine and restore the skin to leave it feeling clear and balanced. You’ll notice a difference as soon as you rinse it off.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Acne Overnight