Summer Skin and Hair Care

Written on: Jun 22, 2018
By: Shari Hicks-Graham

As of this week, summer is officially here! The days are long and warm - allowing us to do more during the days and nights. This increase in our activity also comes along with some changes in their skin and hair. Many of my patients have come into the office with acne flares, eczema/dry skin itching and scalp buildup from seborrheic dermatitis. I would like to share some expert tips to help get you through these hot and steamy days, comfortably.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, morning and night. Consider switching to a product that generates a mild foam or lather, particularly if you have oilier skin. If you have drier more sensitive skin, stick with a more hydrating product.
  2. Include a moisturizer with sunscreen every day! We all need to wear sunscreen daily, regardless of skin color - period. I recommend using at least SPF 30 or higher. It will help keep your skin tone even and protect you from the sun's harmful UV rays, especially during the summer. If you are going to be outdoors, reapply at least every 2 hours. There are many different formulations, some with UV filters that absorb and scatter light, and some that reflect it. Generally, the mineral sunscreens are a bit more opaque & filmy on darker skin types but do work best if your skin is sensitive. Look for zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide in the ingredient list to indicate if the sunscreen is a mineral sunscreen. It is fine to go higher than SPF 30, and I recommend this for fairer skin types or tropical sunshine. There are some products that I prefer, so feel free to inbox me for some standout brands! :)
  3. For acne breakouts, use a topical agent with glycolic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to shrink trouble spots. We now have topical adapalene (Differin TM) available over the counter without a prescription! This is a great product to use in the evenings to smooth the skin's texture and banish blackheads. Most importantly - resist the urge to squeeze or pick pimples. The trauma from the pressure results in dark marks that are very difficult to fade away. Over the counter fade creams can be helpful, along with gentle exfoliation (weekly). Stubborn breakouts may require a prescription - see your healthcare provider. Remember to be gentle, and give your skin the time that it needs to respond to any new treatment - often up to 8 weeks.
  4. Sensitive or dry skin eczema may flare with some common summer environmental exposures, high temperatures or humidity. Bathe using short showers, cooler water, and mild cleansers. Even though it is hot, apply a high-quality body lotion or cream, twice daily. Think about adding sunscreen to exposed areas of skin like the v-area of your chest, neck, arms, and legs. Be aware of new plants in the garden, or any areas where pets may wander with poison ivy in full bloom.
  5. Dandruff has a tendency to flare up during this season, especially when the humidity levels rise suddenly. You may need to shampoo more often as oil glands become more active during this time of the year. Remember that there are no shortcuts for personal care that come without a price. If your dandruff flares in the summer, protective styles that prohibit full scalp and hair shampooing for weeks on end could lead to a very itchy scalp. Consider shortening the length of time that you keep braids or other protective styles in place. Avoid tight styles - this is a frequent cause of hair loss. Skip using heavier oils and pomades to help ease dryness because these tend to make yeast levels rise and can clog pores. Similarly, holding gels and sprays may need to be washed away more often to avoid buildup. It's usually a bit easier this time of year to embrace your natural hair texture and skip heat or chemicals, so take advantage of the opportunity!
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message at

LivSo Free & Clear this Summer!
Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham