Summer Skincare: SPF Is Just the Start
SparkSummer Skincare: SPF Is Just the Start

Summer Skincare: SPF Is Just the Start

Cool tips to help your patients safely face the sun and hot weather.

The days are longer; the sun is hotter, and summertime is filled with opportunities to get outside and enjoy the weather. These summer skincare tips may help your patients protect their skin all season long.

Killer rays.

While the summer sun may feel sensational, the effects of sun exposure may not be as agreeable over time. In addition to skin cancer, which one in five Americans may develop in their lifetimes, the sun can also cause painful sunburns, wrinkles, dryness, sunspots, and other signs of premature skin aging.1

Sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen.

Sunscreen is an important part of a complete sun protection strategy, and that goes for everyone. When used as directed, sunscreen is proven to help decrease the risk of skin cancer and help prevent premature skin aging.2

The Skin Cancer Foundation created the five W's (& H) of sunscreen to provide their top recommendations:2

Who: Everyone!
What: Broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher; SPF 30 or higher for a day outdoors
When: Every day; 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every two hours
Where: All exposed skin
How: 1 ounce (a shot glass full) to the entire body for each application
Why: Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer!2

Other ways to cover up.

Sunscreen is an essential part of summer skin protection, but it doesn't end there. Clothing can help filter out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunglasses help protect the eyes and sensitive skin around the eyes. A wide-brimmed hat not only helps keep the sun off of your face but also helps protect the scalp against a painful sunburn.1

Lip balms that contain SPF ingredients are essential, too, and should be reapplied often. Even some cosmetics can help filter out UV rays and keep them from penetrating the skin. However, it's still important to wear sunscreen underneath makeup.1

Getting a faux glow.

Sunless tanners, whether applied at home or via a spray tan, are generally considered to be a safer alternative to sun tanning. However, most sunless tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a color additive that temporarily darkens the skin. DHA has been shown in some research to generate free radicals, which may attack the cell structure, degrade collagen, and promote premature skin aging and wrinkle formation. Using a DHA self-tanner that contains antioxidants may help to offset some free radical damage. DHA-free self-tanners are available but are usually more temporary and easier to wash off.3

Self-tanners come in many forms. There are pros and cons to each. In general, lotions tend to take more time to soak in, and you can't always see exactly where the product is being applied. However, they're usually moisturizing, so they may be a good choice if you have dry skin. Mousses generally come out of the bottle with a noticeable color, so you can see where you're applying them. Plus, they're usually more lightweight and tend to dry faster. However, they might not be as moisturizing as lotions.3

Posttreatment watchouts.

Summer may have many of your patients feeling like putting their best faces forward, so providing them with advice and guidance after any treatments is important. This includes avoiding the sun for at least a week afterward.4

Any aesthetic treatment that purposefully exfoliates, punctures, or otherwise damages the top or mid-layers of the skin will cause photosensitivity. Some of these treatments can include resurfacing lasers, microneedling devices, and chemical peels. Since the new tissue revealed during these processes is more vulnerable to damage from UV rays, it is recommended that patients limit sun exposure until the skin regenerates completely. This can take 4 to 8 weeks depending on the depth of the treatment.4

Dealing with a sunburn.

Sunburn is the term for damage caused by overexposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources, such as a sunlamp or tanning bed. Sunburn can vary from mild to severe.5

The symptoms of sunburn vary between people. Sunburn can affect anyone, but those with lighter skin are more susceptible.5

Following exposure, the skin may become:5

  • Hot
  • Sensitive to the touch
  • Painful
  • Irritated
  • Itchy
  • Blistered5


Severe sunburns can cause fever, chills, or even nausea. Sunburns can be treated in the following ways:5

  • Get out of the sun and preferably go indoors.
  • Avoid further sun exposure until the sunburn heals.
  • Cool the skin with a damp cloth or towel, or take a cool bath.
  • Apply moisturizer or aftersun cream, that contains aloe vera.
  • Take over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Drink extra water to help prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid touching or breaking small blisters to reduce the risk of infection. Blisters protect the skin.
  • Avoid scratching, picking at, or removing peeling skin.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing while the skin heals.5


It is especially important not to peel or pick at sunburned skin. This can cause infections and unsightly scarring.5

Humidity matters.

Generally speaking, the air isn't as dry in the summer as it is in the winter. This can mean switching from an intense winter moisturizer to something lighter for the summer. The humidity can also help the skin barrier absorb moisturizing ingredients and antioxidants more effectively.6

To keep pores open to the more humid air, and to remove pore-clogging dirt, oil, sweat, and sunscreen ingredients, exfoliation is an important part of a summer skincare regimen, except when dealing with a sunburn. Exfoliants can further irritate sunburned skin, so wait until it's healed to do a deep scrub.6

Staying cool.

High temperatures may have your patients seeking some cooling refreshment. Cryo-facials are an effective way to tighten and brighten the skin. They increase blood flow to the face, which can make the skin look healthy and plump. A cryotherapy facial involves having liquid nitrogen pumped all over the face for 2 to 3 minutes. The goal is to give the skin a glowy, youthful, and even appearance.7

These facials are so popular, in part, because they're fast and affordable, with no downtime or redness of the skin afterward. A typical session lasts about 15 to 30 minutes, with the actual pumping lasting only 2 to 3 minutes.7

Cryotherapy treatments are also available for the whole body and provide additional benefits. Of course, cryotherapy facials and treatments should only be administered by a trained professional, as there are some risks and complications, such as numbness, discoloration, or frostbite.7

Ice globes are a growing trend and a way to bring cryo-facials home. Facial skin icing is very popular. Many proponents of the practice suggest making ice cubes with different ingredients, like aloe and green tea, to address specific skincare needs.8 Remember to talk to your patients about their aesthetic goals and skin concerns before recommending specific treatments, but it's useful to stay on top of trends to provide knowledge and expertise across all aspects of aesthetics.

Summer skin success.

Your patients and clients turn to you for help achieving their aesthetic goals, so being a knowledgeable resource about how to help care for their skin on their own is a good way to build a strong relationship and provide positive patient experiences.