5 Products We Should All Be Using This Summer, According to Skin Experts

With the British weather currently doing a classic yo-yo between intense sunshine and all-day downpours, and basically nothing in between, it might seem somewhat out of sorts to be talking about summer skincare essentials. However, I'm optimistic that sunshine season will be sticking around on a more permanent basis soon, and with more and more of us spending time outdoors whatever the weather, it makes sense to be overly prepared when it comes to caring for our skin—especially as summer can spark a whole host of unexpected changes for our complexions.

"The summer brings with it a desire to be outdoors more, enjoy sports outside, sit by windows and enjoy the warmth and light from the sun, [and] this results in an increase in radiation to the skin," explains Emma Craythorne, SkinCeuticals' consultant dermatologist. Skin experts agree that this increased exposure to UVB rays alongside UVA radiation can lead to skincare concerns like hyperpigmentation; increased sebum production, which can cause breakouts; and increased dryness, causing anything from eczema to premature ageing. Yikes.

Luckily, there are certain products that we can all incorporate into our summer skincare routines to minimise the effects of increased sun exposure and keep our skin feeling healthy and looking its best.


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Ahead, top skincare experts share the five summer skincare essentials that we should all be using. Keep scrolling to find out more.

#1 SPF


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It will come as no surprise that the experts were unanimous on the one product that we should all be using in the summer and all year round: SPF. Wearing sunscreen not only reduces your risk of skin cancer but also protects your skin against fine lines and wrinkles caused by UV rays.

"Even if you are spending time indoors, I recommend applying your SPF daily," says Thivi Maruthappu, consultant dermatologist at The Skin Health Alliance. "Think of it as part of your regular morning routine, like brushing your teeth! It’s a good habit to keep up and can also protect from UVA light, which actually passes through window glass."

So how do we know what to look out for when choosing an SPF? Experts agree that you should look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning it explicitly states that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays on the bottle, and opt for at least SPF 30. In terms of the amount, Maruthappu recommends that "half a teaspoon is the right amount for the face and neck. … Use a dot application technique (forehead, nose, cheeks and chin) to ensure even distribution over your face all the way up to your hairline."

#2: Antioxidants 


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The experts were also in agreement that adding an antioxidant into your routine was a smart move for summer. "They are excellent for reducing the oxidative stress that occurs as a consequence of UV damage, and they work in conjunction with your SPF to give the optimal protection," explains Craythorne.

But what is an antioxidant? Simply put, it's an ingredient that protects skin from the effects of free radicals, which often come from exposure to UV rays, pollution or other external aggressors. "Providing additional protection from free radical damage, [antioxidants] will assist in the slowing of the visible signs of ageing and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," says Craythorne. "You may be experiencing hyperpigmentation [in the summer], so a good antioxidant will help lessen the appearance of hyperpigmentation and brown spots."

There are lots to choose from, but the most popular antioxidants come in the form of vitamin Cniacinamide (also known as vitamin B3), vitamin A (or retinol) and vitamin E.

#3: Lighter Moisturisers


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Before making any switches to your usual skincare routine, the experts agreed that it was a good shout to allow your skin some time to adjust to the change in season. By giving your complexion a couple of weeks to get used to changes in temperature and humidity, it's easier to work out what changes you might need to make. However, there was one swap that proved popular: moisturiser.

"You could swap your rich moisturisers for lighter formulations that are less occlusive, allowing skin to breathe," explains Osman Bashir Tahir, MBBS, MS, MRCS, MSc., also known as Dr. OBT. "Swap to a lightweight moisturiser if you’re suffering from skin dryness or choose a lightweight hyaluronic serum to layer under your SPF." Craythorne agrees, explaining that whilst it's still important to use a moisturiser during the warmer months, opting for a lighter texture might help to keep our complexions happier during the summer.

#4: Effective Cleansers


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Fingers crossed you're already using a cleanser morning and night to keep your skin at its healthiest, but it becomes arguably more important during the summer months to ensure that all of that extra SPF is thoroughly removed.

"It’s more important in the summer to ensure you are cleansing skin effectively before bed, as a build-up of makeup, sun protection and daily grime can clog pores overnight," says Knox. She recommends opting for a cream or balm formulation and removing it with a muslin cloth "to exfoliate whilst you cleanse and gently buff away any dead skin cells".

#5: Exfoliators 


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Finally, as a fan of chemical exfoliation, I was delighted the experts agreed that summer skincare routines should still include exfoliation. In fact, "exfoliation is key over the summer months," says Dr. OBT. "Replacing dead cells with younger ones and ensuring the removal of dirt, debris and environmental pollutants that come with being outdoors more is useful for preventing breakouts."

In fact, both strong antioxidants like retinol and acid exfoliators can both be used throughout the summer with some extra care. "Retinol and acids don’t need to be stopped in the summer," agrees Craythorne. "You just need to be careful to ensure your sunscreen application is really great, as you are essentially thinning the stratum corneum [the outermost layer of your skin's epidermis]."

Mica Ricketts