Tricks to Preventing (and Curing) Warm Weather Skin Disasters

Aly Walansky
Girl applying lotion

Image via Bambu Productions/The Image Bank

Warmer weather may spell relief from snow boots, red noses and jumping over slush puddles on the side walk, which are all of course good things. However, the heat wave is not all sunshine and rainbows – the warmer weather brings a lot of complications of its own, specifically for our skin! As we dive into Spring and head into Summer, it’s good to know how to deal with the skin issues that can pop up along the way. We talked to experts to help us with everything from razor burn to sun burns – read on below!

Razor Burn
As the weather gets warmer, we are all about showing more skin – and this means smooth legs and bikini lines. Prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs by shaving with the hair growth. “Shaving against the hair provides a closer shave, but this can also cause the blunt edges to grow back into the skin rather than up and out of the follicle. If you notice razor burn or an ingrown hair, stop shaving for a few days to let the skin heal,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon.

MORE: 5 Reasons You Need to Start Using Retinoids…Right Now

Sunburns and Sun Safety
Even on a cloudy day, UV rays can still reach your skin and cause damage. “While some people avoid wearing a sunscreen so they can tan faster, that’s one of the worst things you can do for your skin,” says dermatologist Dr. Michael Lin. Instead, mix some mineral based powder foundation or bronzer in with your sunscreen before applying. Mix well in your palms and rub in well to avoid streaking for healthy skin that glows.

Make sure to apply your sunblock everywhere, even not so obvious areas like your scalp!  “Nothing hurts worse then a scalp burn and it’s embarrassing because as the burn heals the scalp will peel giving you the most obnoxious case of dandruff!  Apply a light layer of sunscreen to your hairline part and repeat this every three-four hours,” says Kelley West, a Beverly Hills based medical aesthetician.

Products that you should stay away from if you are going to be in the sun include retinols, hydroquinone, antibiotics, and topical vitamin C.  “These products can cause photosensitivity and illness when used while receiving extended sun exposure.  Photosensitivity can present in the form of heat rash, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever and other skin issues such as hyper-pigmentation and acne outbreaks,” says West.

Sunburn is obviously the biggest skin disaster many people deal with as the weather gets warmer. “One little known tip about healing sunburn is to use 100% unrefined shea butter. Shea butter has anti inflammatory properties that helps reduce inflammation and redness. It also contains high levels of Vitamin E which protect against the sun and helps with irritated  Vitamin D and A also help with the healing process,” says  Rahama Wright, owner of Shea Yeleen all natural, unrefined shea butter body products.

MORE: How to Change Up Your Skin Care Routine For Spring

Skin Dehydration
Heat and sun just zaps the water out of your skin. A lot of people believe their cream gives them hydration but they are confused with what moisture vs. hydration is.

Forgot to moisturize your legs before you ran out of the house? There is nothing worse than being on a date and noticing your tanned summer legs look flakey and dry. Mally Steves Chakola, founder of M. Steves skincare, suggests we try this coconut oil trick to get a close shave and hydrate in one step: You can even do it out of the shower. “Instead of using shaving cream, I rub a good-sized scoop of raw, unrefined coconut oil on my legs before shaving. After you’re done, wipe your legs in a downward motion with a towel pulling off excess oil and experience hair free, super smooth skin,” she says.

Bonus: Moisturized skin makes the appearance of uneven skin tone and cellulite look less noticeable, plus coconut oil also locks in your tan with hydration for a long-lasting summer glow!

Oily Skin and Larger Pores
Many people notice these issues when the humidity rises. Consider adding a topical retinoid product to your nightly routine. This will promote increased skin cell turnover, smaller pores, and reduced fine lines. “Beware though: retinoids increase your chances of sunburn, so always wear at least an SPF 30 daily, higher when you’re out for longer periods, and reapply, reapply, reapply!” reminds Dr. Kristel Polder, a Dallas-based dermatologist.

Dirt, sweat, and buildup of sunscreen can clog skin‘s pores so it’s really important to step up your cleansing routine in the summer. Just like you brush your teeth for two minutes, you should wash your face for at least one minute for the most thorough cleanse. “I like to use the Eco Tools Pure Complexion Sponge ($5.99, since it helps me get a deep clean and makes cleansing fun, so I’ll take my time. This natural Konjac sponge comes from Japan and contains added charcoal for extra detoxifying. Make sure you’re also using a sulfate-free cleanser that doesn’t dehydrate your skin. Your skin will thank you!” says Chakola.

Many women switch to a lighter, more sheer foundation as the temperature rises, so as not to occlude pores and contribute to acne.  “Always look for the words “non-comedogenic ” on makeup labels, which means it does not promote acne. Consider adding a benzoyl peroxide product, such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo ($36.95,, as a spot treatment at night,” says Dr. Polder.

And watch out for that lime in your beachside cocktail! Adding a slice of lime to a summer cocktail is refreshing, but a substance in lime juice can cause the skin to become irritated and discolored when exposed to sun. “The reaction usually looks like a poison ivy rash or a sunburn, and sometimes is accompanied with swelling and blistering. The technical name is Phytophotodermatitis, but many dermatologists refer to it as Margarita Dermatitis,” says Gina Mari of Gina Mari Skin Care.