Summer Skin Care Advice from Top Dermatologists

Skin Care
Summer Skin Care Advice

In this season of vacationing in sunny spots and spending hours frolicking outdoors, great summer skin care largely involves planning ahead. Here are some expert tips from top dermatologists about taking care of your skin this season:

Tips for Heading on Vacation: Advice from Cosmetic Dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D.

Summer Skin Care Advice

“Keep up your daily routine: Don’t let your travel schedule affect your skin care routine. Furthermore, it is important to adapt your skin care routine to the climate you’re traveling to (i.e. using a gel rather than a moisturizer when traveling to a warm, humid climate). Also, everyone should incorporate sunscreen into their daily regimen, whether in the summer of the winter!” —Cosmetic Dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D.; New York, New York; Founder and Director of The Fifth Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center; FutureDerm Recommends:


I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen ($10.99,, which boasts a high SPF and Helioplex™ for great UVA and UVB protection.


If you’re flying for a trip, you can use Humangear GoToob 3oz Travel Bottles ($24.95 for three, to keep your routine in your carry-on (in TSA-approved sizes), so you’ll always have it with you if you’re traveling light or if — Yikes! — your baggage gets lost.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Nails: Advice from Dermatologist Steven Rotter, M.D.

Summer Skin Care Advice

“A perfectly manicured hand is one where the nails are strong and smooth, with no discoloration, jagged cuticles or other signs of abuse. But what about nails that are less than perfect? Since many health problems have an impact on the nails, it’s worth listening to what your hands have to say. Skin cancers are a serious concern.  They can develop in the nail bed, matrix, or nail folds.  Malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, may first be observed as a long pigmented band of black or dark brown in the nail plate, most often on the thumb or big toe.  And wart-like lesions on the nail fold or in the nail bed could be squamous cell carcinomas.”

  • Moisturize daily.  This is the best way to keep nails from flaking and cracking. Dr. Rotter recommends lactic acid creams in 5 -12 percent concentrations.
  • Wear gloves.  European and American women used to wear gloves whenever they went outside to keep their hands soft and protected.  Although that may not be practical these days, cold weather dries out the nails, so wear gloves when the elements demand it.  Use rubber gloves when working with cleansers, detergents or solvents.
  • Leave the cuticle alone.  The cuticle is a seal that protects the nail matrix, and disturbing this seal increases your risk of inflicting permanent damage.  Never remove the cuticle, and don’t trim it or push it back. If you have a wart near your nail, do not pick at it as it can transform into squamous cell carcinoma.  See a doctor if it doesn’t go away in a few months.”

—Dermatologist Steven Rotter, M.D., Vienne, Virginia, Skin Cancer Outpatient Surgical Hospital, FutureDerm Recommends: 


With 5% lactic acid, Lac-Hydrin Five can help keep your nails healthy.

Always Be Prepared for Sun: Advice from Dermatologists Katie Rodan, M.D. and Kathy Fields, M.D.

Summer Skin Care Advice

“Be Prepared…whenever and wherever the sun shines. Keep a “Sun Emergency Kit” handy at the office, at home and in your car.  Your kit should include sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, an extra pair of sunglasses, a broad-brimmed hat, a large lightweight scarf, and two aspirin to take immediately following sun exposure if you think that a sunburn is likely.” —Dermatologists Katie Rodan, M.D. and Kathy Fields, M.D.; Founders of Rodan + Fields; Creators of Proactiv;

FutureDerm Recommends: 


Coolibar UPF 50+ Marina Sun Hat ($36, and Coolibar UPF 50+ Aire Scarf ($29.50, aren’t just chic, they’re made with more sun protection that regular clothing.

Keep Bugs from Biting that Beautiful Skin: Advice from Dermatologist Susan Stuart, M.D.

Summer Skin Care Advice

“Summer heat and humidity are heaven for insects; and since we’re all spending more time outside, we’re ripe for the biting.” Dr. Stuart suggests using bug spray with DEET, but if you’re in a pinch and without it or if you don’t want to use chemical bug spray, here are other tips she recommends:

  • Wear light colored clothing. Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors.
  • Time Your Outings.  Stay indoors during dusk and dawn – that’s when many breeds of mosquito are at their peak biting time.
  • Avoid Flowery Perfumes.  Mosquitoes love nectar from flowers almost as much as they do humans, so stick with a less floral fragrance for the summer.
  • Steer Clear of Beer & Soda.   Beer and soda are mosquito magnets – the bugs are attracted to the carbonation.  It’s not confirmed if the extra biting also happens with other alcohols – but just to be safe, keep the bottles indoors.

Dermatologist Susan Stuart, M.D.; San Diego, California; Founder and Director of the La Jolla Dermatology and Medical Spa; FutureDerm Recommends: 


For a bug spray with DEET, Consumer Reports gives high marks to Cutter Backwoods Unscented Spray ($8.99, with a 23% concentration of DEET. Be sure to use the product as directed, and make sure you’re familiar on the recommendations and guidelines for safely using bug sprays, especially if you use them on children (NCPH).bite_blockerIf you’re looking for a bug spray without DEET, Bite Blocker Xtreme ($9.15, uses a mix of 3% soybean oil, 6% geranium oil, and 8% castor seed oil to repel pesky pests, though the Consumer Reports comparison found that it wasn’t effective against different types of bugs for as along as bug spray with DEET.

Makeup Isn’t Enough: Advice from Cosmetic Dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D.

Summer Skin Care Advice

“SPF within makeup is not sufficient protection for an average day. It would require 7 times the normal amount of foundation to provide enough coverage, so it’s important to wear a separate moisturizer that offers SPF protection.” —Cosmetic Dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D.; New York, New York; Founder and Director of the Skin & Spa New York Institute of Aesthetic Dermatology and Laser Surgery; Creator of Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula; FutureDerm Recommends: If you want sunscreen that works well under makeup, I’d recommend either Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 60 for Sensitive Skin ($17.95, or La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen, since both offer great sun protection and also layer well under makeup.


Contributing author: Natalie Bell

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