The weather affects us in so many ways. When it shifts, so do our habits, often without us even realizing. The changing seasons also influences our mood, which influences what we do, what we eat, and where we go. Our physical activity levels can ebb and flow with the weather. Warmer weather lures us to exercise outdoors, while colder weather pushes us to the gym. We crave different foods and supermarkets and restaurant offer different, seasonal foods, so changes in diet are inevitable. Since we’re on its cusp, let’s talk about summer and all the ways it impacts your skin, from breakouts to wrinkles, and your overall health.

Problem: Hot weather = air conditioning, which can dehydrate and irritate skin.
Solutions: Pure plant hydrosols mists are wonderful for on-the-go hydration. Getting a humidifier for your home is a worthwhile investment. Use an oil-based moisturizer from your neck-up and heavier butters for neck-down rest of body, richer.

Problem: Increased sun exposure can be drying and damaging to skin.
Solutions: If you must be in the sun, be sure to wear appropriate protection, whether it’s a hat, long sleeves, and/or sunscreen. And if you get a sunburn? Colloidal oat bath, or use a product like Sumbody’s Overexposed Sunburn Gel, with ingredients like cooling peppermint, soothing aloe vera, and calming cucumber.

Problems: Swimming in chlorinated pools can dry out and irritate skin. Playing field sports can cause a buildup of dirt and other particles in pores. Increased travel, whether it’s by plane, train, or automobile, can dehydrate skin.

Solutions: To soothe and moisturize your after-swim skin, try layering a pure, unscented body oil, like avocado or pistachio underneath lotion. Bring toner pads with you and be sure to wash your face post-play. I recommend a purifying charcoal cleanser. Bring a hydrating hydrosol mist and facial oil with you in your glove box or carry-on.

While summer brings a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies, there’s also a smorgasbord of not-so-healthy seasonal snacks that are best to limit or avoid altogether.

Problem: Sweet treats and fried foods from fairs and carnivals.
Solutions: Pack your own snacks! Or if you can’t, try to find the healthiest options possible. There’s likely a Greek or Caesar salad on someone’s menu.

Problem: Unhealthy picnic foods. Hot dogs and other processed meats often contain antibiotics that can throw your hormones out of whack, leading to acne and inflammation. Plus, the sauces you slather on them, like ketchup and BBQ sauce, are loaded with sugar. And don’t forget about the chips! Refined carbs can cause inflammation in the body that triggers a collagen-damaging stress reaction.
Solutions: Salmon or veggie patties. Make your own or find a good store-bought brand. My favorite is Sunshine Burgers. Read the labels and opt for less sugary toppings. Mustard often has little to no added sugar.

Problem: Egg and potato salads. Most non-organic eggs contain high levels of added hormones, which does not bode well for skin.
Solutions: Be sure to use organic, hormone-free eggs in these recipes, or make a healthier, roasted potato salad instead. Better yet, indulge in summer’s cornucopia of fresh produce and make a leafy green salad! Summer is a great time to eat your veggies raw vs. winter, when there’s less available and we crave warmth, sautéing is a better choice.

Problem: Non-organic produce can contain hormones and pesticides that throw off your skin’s natural balance. Summer favorites of peaches, nectarines, and cherries carry particularly high levels of pesticides and are especially hazardous since you eat their outer skin.
Solutions: Take a look at the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce and be sure to buy these organic.

Problem: Sweet, blended coffee drinks.
Solutions: If you’re in the need for cold caffeine, choose regular iced coffee, tea, or chai instead of the fancy milkshake-like options.

Problem: Instant, powdered drinks, such as lemonade or Kool-Aid.
Solutions: Pure fruit juices. Squeezing your own lemonade may take some time and energy, but it’s well worth it!

Problem: Sodas. And don’t be fooled that diet sodas are any better for you! Most contain aspartame, which can cause a whole host of skin issues.
Solutions: Sparkling water with fruit essences. Or customize it yourself by adding pineapple, citrus, or berries.

Problem: Sweet cocktails. From daiquiris to piña coladas, summertime cocktails are often full of sugar, which can weaken your immune system, making you less able to fight off bacteria and more likely to develop acne.
Solutions: Choose healthier mixers with less sugar, like kombucha, pure fruit/veggie juices, or sparkling water. If you’re at a restaurant, you can always ask them to hold the simple syrup. And, of course, you can always opt for on the rocks or neat!

With vacations, school schedule changes, visiting friends and relatives, and more hours of daylight, it can feel like life gets turned upside down in the summertime. It’s also easy to let your regular skincare routine fall to the wayside. And while you can’t control the climate or all the events, you can manage some of the seasonal habits and rituals that have an effect on your skin and your general wellbeing.

May 31, 2022 — Deborah Burnes