No, it’s not your imagination—oily skin does get even oiler in the summer. “It’s absolutely true that the skin produces more oil in the summer because of the increased humidity. When humidity rises, it causes the oil glands to start exuding more oil,” dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi says. Le sigh. The good news is there are simple swaps you can make in your skincare regimen that will keep your oily skin from looking totally greasy all season long. We chatted with two derms to get all of the dirty details.
Click through the slideshow above for your essential summer skincare update!
“One cleanser is not created for all seasons,” says dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum. “You may need to switch up your regimen and use an acne-fighting cleanser in the summer months, even if you are not prone to acne. Washes with salicylic acid remove excess oils and sebum from the pores, leaving you less greasy for the rest of the day.” Look for face washes with salicylic acid (like Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser ($21) from Origins) or glycolic acid (Micro Polish Cleanser ($30) from Ren) to break down your skin’s oil surplus.
“Even if you don't deal with breakouts, incorporating a toner designed for acne-prone skin into your summer routine can keep skin looking matte,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “Acne products are formulated to remove sebum, oil and dirt from the pores, which is helpful for dealing with oily skin. Choose a toner that’s pH balanced, meaning it will clear excess oil without stripping your skin.” She recommends Sebamed’s Clear Face Deep Cleansing Toner ($15). We also love Murad’s Essential-C Toner ($28).
Your cleanser isn’t the only product in your medicine cabinet that may need an update for summer. “Heavy moisturizers are not good in the summer because they can mix with sweat and the excess natural oil on the skin to cause breakouts,” Dr. Tanzi says. “Seek out products that specifically say ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic,’ and that have a lightweight formulation to avoid clogged pores.” Try Boscia’s Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF 15 ($36) or Peter Thomas Roth’s Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizer ($42).
Piling on the pressed powder may actually make your 3 PM oil slick worse. Instead, follow Dr. Nussbaum’s advice: “Resist the temptation to touch up with powder. If you’re really oily, you’ll just transfer all the oil and gunk onto your powder applicator, and your skin will end up looking cakey.” Dr. Tanzi has an easy alternative. “For midday shine, lightly blot with oil control sheets, and then use a sunscreen powder for the finishing touch.” Tatcha’s Blotting Papers ($12) and Chantecaille’s Protection Naturelle Loose Powder ($72) make the perfect shine-fighting duo.
Managing your nighttime beauty routine properly is also important for maintaining balanced skin. Dr. Nussbaum says to ditch traditional night creams and switch to hydrating serums, which are lighter on the skin and will help regulate oil production. We love Kate Somerville’s Quench Oil Free Hydrating Face Serum ($65) and Philosophy’s When Hope Is Not Enough ($43).
What summer skin-saving products do you rely on this time of year?