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5 Summer Skincare Tips from a Nurse and Skin Expert with Rosacea

June 23, 2024

Summer skincare is about more than just wearing sunscreen. To ensure your skin stays glowing and healthy all season long, it’s crucial to adapt your skincare routine to meet the demands of the summer months.

Plus, the right summer skincare routine can help you minimize potential skin issues and sun damage, from sunburn and dehydration to breakouts and premature aging. 

Learn about how to choose the best sunscreen, what your summer skin routine should be, and how to mitigate redness and aggravation so you can have a summer skincare routine that supports your skin and body!

1. Hydrate Your Ski

I know you want that glowing skin—which is why you can’t overlook hydration. Hydration affects the appearance, texture, and function of skin. Most people want it to look and feel good, but it also needs to function well. You can support your skin’s function both inside and outside the body.

Inside the Body

The way to well-hydrated skin is to supply enough fluid through food and drink and then prevent too much from escaping through tiny crevices in the outermost layers (this is called transepidermal water loss, abbreviated TEWL). There’s no good evidence to say that drinking a lot of water improves skin hydration or imparts a glowing appearance. However, skin will show the effects of dehydration, so stay out of the danger zone. 

Outside the Body

The most impactful thing for skin hydration is to seal up the tiny crevices in the outermost skin layers (called the stratum corneum). You can do this through a careful selection of skincare products and practices. 

Think of the stratum corneum as resembling bricks and mortar. Skin cells are the bricks, and the goal is to keep all the spaces between the bricks well-filled, which can be aided by adding and sealing at the surface. 

Finally, limit time spent in warm water to 10 minutes per day, and avoid hot water, as it will dry out the skin.

How to Choose Hydrating Skincare Products

Look for moisturizers that have a combination of humectants and emollients. Humectants attract and hold water. Examples are glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Emollients trap water in the skin (think oils and butters). Examples are ceramides, shea butter, and squalane. The aforementioned ingredient examples are low-risk for pore-clogging (comedogenicity), skin irritation, and skin allergy. 

If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer, check out MeridaSKIN’s Shea Butter Moisturizer. You can also look for one that’s EWG-verified so you know it will play better with your skin. This doesn’t mean the product is perfect, but it’s a good first step.

Cleansers are also often overlooked as an important factor in skin hydration (and overall skin health!). Yet, cleansers can strip away helpful and protective natural substances, opening more and bigger cracks in the stratum corneum, which in turn allows more water to escape (increased TEWL). This is complicated, but a good place to start is to use a sulfate-free liquid cleanser and not a bar soap, like our Tea Tree Oil Foaming Cleanser.

2. Choose Zinc Oxide Sunscreen 

You must have sunscreen on for any outdoor activities in the summer. With any sun exposure, you need to minimize skin damage and aging and the risk of skin cancer. This is why sun protection is mandatory year-round in some climates—for any skin type. The summer months, however, when the sun’s UV rays are the most intense, are the most risky time of year for skin exposure. 

The best protection is broad-brimmed hats and SPF-rated eyewear and clothing. Topical SPF applied directly onto the skin is the next best choice, or to be used in a supporting, role.

Check out our recent blog post, Zinc Oxide Sunscreen for Face Protection: What You Need to Know, to find out how to choose the best zinc oxide sunscreen.

Proper Application and Reapplication Techniques

Most people don’t apply a large enough amount of sunscreen in order to achieve the SPF rating of the product. For the face, ears, and neck, aim for a dollop between the size of a nickel and a quarter. Use this same amount (about a teaspoon) for each arm and each leg, and for the back, and for the chest and abdomen. 

Another way to “measure” the appropriate amount is to dispense a thick line of sunscreen along the length of two long fingers (such as pointer finger and middle finger). Reapply at least every 2 hours—more often if sweating—and after every instance of swimming or toweling.

Sunscreen works best when applied directly to the skin and allowed to dry for a few minutes before makeup is applied over it. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at intervals, even if it needs to go on over the makeup.

3: Focus on Lightweight Products 

Not everyone needs to adjust their skincare seasonally, but if you want something with a more breathable or airy feel for summer then pick a moisturizer that has more humectant than emollient. 

Keep in mind that the thickness of a skincare product has no bearing on how hydrating it is or how much moisture it will provide your skin. A thin liquid product can feel lightweight or heavy, powdery or greasy, soak in or sit on top. Test things out to see what appeals and best supports your specific skin tone and type.

4: Cool Your Skin With Intention 

The first best thing to do for a sunburn is to cool it down – take a cold plunge, cool shower, or apply cool moist towels. Drink extra water. When it comes to sunburn products, less is usually more. 

Limit topical products to those you are confident won’t aggravate or irritate the injured skin. An uncolored, unscented, emollient moisturizer can help if the formula typically agrees with your skin. 

In addition, avoid anything with non-fatty alcohols (such as benzyl alcohol), menthol, or eucalyptus.

5: Don’t Rely on SPF in Makeup

SPF in color cosmetics is typically not the main line of defense. First, you’d have to apply A LOT of foundation or tinted moisturizer to reach the target SPF. Second, you’ll have limited choices with zinc oxide as the main active sunscreen ingredient.

Bottom line: apply your sunscreen first to be sure your skin is fully protected. 

Not Your Average Summer Skincare Tips 

To recap: Good skin hydration and sun protection are keys to keeping skin aging at bay (let’s not forget that SPF also decreases skin cancer risk). To keep skin well-hydrated, obey your body’s thirst signals, limit exposure to warm and hot water, and apply a moisturizer you like to seal in the good stuff. Apply a non-spray zinc-oxide-based sun protectant at least every 2 hours when outdoors.



Shannon L. Johnson NP-C

Founder & Formulator, MeridaSKIN

Shannon is a nurse practitioner, and much of her career has served vulnerable populations at a community health center. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Simmons University, and completed post-graduate training at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She tackled the science of cosmetic formulating to solve her own skin struggle with rosacea. Shannon was born in Oregon, raised in Eastern Massachusetts and has passionate ties to the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the mid-Atlantic. She lives on Boston's North Shore with her husband, two kids and mischievous Wheaten Terrier. She and her family pass the seasons by playing in water (liquid and solid).