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22 derm-approved solutions for dark spots, sun damage and more summer skin issues

Dermatologists share what skin care items to consider for your beauty cabinet.

Though some of us might be ready for warmer weather, we likely haven't thought about prepping our beauty routines for the higher temperatures just yet.

From hyperpigmentation to excess oil, the spring and summer months can bring several skin concerns along with them, so board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry joined TODAY to share all of the ways we can tackle warmer weather skin care woes.

Henry has solutions for every step of your routine, from cleansers to sunscreens, to help you get ahead of some of the issues you may face in the coming months.


La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Facial Cleanser

"As the summer months approach and the weather gets warmer, our oil glands become more active, and we need a more robust cleanser to effectively get rid of dirt, oil and debris," Henry said. To take care of oil issues and build up that happens during warmer months, Henry recommends switching to a gel or foam cleanser.

This option from La Roche Posay is formulated for sensitive skin and works to remove excess oil while still maintaining your skin's natural protective barrier and pH, the brand says. This cleanser also features ingredients such as ceramide-3, niacinamide and glycerin.

Wander Beauty Drift Away Cleanser

"This cleanser has a dreamy texture and gentle coconut based cleansing agent and sea kelp to hydrate the skin," Henry said, who owns this product. The texture goes from gel to foam and is designed to provide a double-cleansed effect to nourish and revitalize skin. The coconut water, kelp and vitamin and antioxidant-rich extracts help retain and restore moisture to promote healthy-looking skin.

Acne prevention

Differin Gel

"Not only does the excess oil produced in the summer months mean that we need harder working cleansers, but we also need to start adding treatments for acne prevention," Henry said. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Differin gel is the first prescription strength retinoid to be offered over the counter, according to the brand. The formula is designed to help combat acne, acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.

"I have prescribed this for years and now patients can pick it up from the drug store," Henry said.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

This serum can also be used to combat acne and is safe to use on even the most sensitive of skin types. The serum is crafted to repair reddening skin, balance oil secretion and create smooth and bright skin. The main ingredient is niacinamide, which is a vitamin that can lighten skin blemished and improve pore blocking, the brand says.

Light-based moisturizers

Avène Hydrance Aqua Gel

To help prevent clogged pores, Henry suggests switching your moisturizer to a lighter option. She suggests this hydrating Aqua Gel moisturizer which is made to fortify the skin's barrier and plump skin. Henry finds this product to be a lightweight option that provides time-released hydration.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

Another lightweight gel-based moisturizer Henry recommends is this pick from Neutrogena. It is non-comedogenic (so it won't clog your pores) and is also packed with hyaluronic acid, which helps to keep your skin hydrated and supple.


L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum

Think of antioxidants as insurance for your sunscreen, Henry says. They're good for everyone, but benefit men a great deal, since their bodies don't produce as many antioxidants as women, she said. This serum contains 10% pure vitamin C and other ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which help the skin to tolerate the formula better.

Skin Better Alto Advanced Defense and Repair Serum

Henry calls this serum the "next level" of antioxidants. It protects the skin not only extrinsically but intrinsically too, by protecting the cells from damage caused by normal cellular functions.


Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Skin Nourishing Sunscreen Powder Brush

You should be using sunscreen all year long, but now that you'll likely be spending more time outdoors, you should use it more frequently. It's easy to lather it on in the mornings but you might not remember to reapply, so Henry recommends opting for a creative way to reapply, like this powder sunscreen. This pick from Hawaiian Tropic is a broad spectrum sunscreen that you can brush on (and will likely want to, since it smells good).

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30

This compact formula is easy to apply and is also mattifying, Henry said. It comes in three different shades that deliver an airbrush finish and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

During the summer months hyperpigmentation is common, so Henry recommends treating it preemptively. This is one of Henry's favorites and she loves that it contains vitamin C as well as salicylic acid, which helps it to penetrate the skin better.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer

Henry also recommends this moisturizer, which is formulated with soy extract. The ingredient has been used for decades to brighten the skin, she says.

Scalp care

Coola Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen

Don't forget — your scalp is getting some sun exposure, too! Henry recommends this non-greasy mist that will keep your scalp protected without weighing your hair down.

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense

Another affordable option Henry recommends is this spray from Banana Boat, which will also help protect your hair strands. It's a clear spray that is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

More Derm-approved skin care solutions

The 3rd hour of TODAY also previously tapped Dr. Daniel Sugai for some summer skin care solutions that you'll want in your beauty cabinet. Read on for all of the dermatologist-approved essentials you'll want to stock up on right now.


Cocokind Daily Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be a part of your skin care routine every day, regardless of the season. Even if you are indoors working behind a computer, sunscreen can help protect your skin from the blue light emitted from your screen. Sugai says this mineral sunscreen won't leave behind a white cast and protects skin from UVA and UVB rays, blue light, pollution and early signs of aging.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

This pick is for anyone with sensitive skin. If you're hitting the beach to soak up the last few days of summer, you'll want to lather on some full-body SPF. Sugai picked this mineral sunscreen from Blue Lizard that's perfect for your arms, legs and body since it's water resistant. Something cool about this sunscreen? When the UV light exposure is high, the sunscreen cap turns blue.


No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate

If you're trying to combat dark spots, pigmentation and sun damage, retinol should be in your beauty arsenal. Retinol is known for its anti-aging properties, which has generated a lot of buzz in the skin care community. Sugai says to look for a retinol concentration of 0.25% and up — this formula from No7 has a concentration of 0.3%. One myth about retinol you might not have known? You don't have to stop using it in the summer.

Vitamin C

RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Daily Serum

This serum is another skin savior that can help treat dark spots, pigmentation and sun damage. Sugai also recommends using a vitamin C serum into the fall to help protect your skin on sunny days, as well as from pollution. Just make sure to apply it after you cleanse your skin and before you apply sunscreen.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

Though it's a bit of a splurge, this vitamin C serum from SkinCeuticals can also help treat skin care concerns such as dark spots and pigmentation. Once it absorbs into the skin, it remains effective for up to 72 hours, according to the brand.


Vanicream Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser

If you hit the pool or took a dip in the ocean a few times this summer, your skin could probably use some love. For some, that means using different cleansers. If you're trying to remove heavy makeup or thick sunscreen, Sugai recommends double-cleansing, but most times giving your face a scrub once is good enough. Sugai recommends this cleanser for anyone who might have overexposed themselves to chlorinated, salty or hard water. The formula is suitable for anyone with dry skin and is also an affordable pick.


Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

With fall just around the corner, now is one of the most important times to be consistent with your skin care. Cooler temperatures means dry air, which makes locking in moisture (and keeping it in) essential. If you want to deliver that necessary hydration to your skin and also target a dull complexion and redness, Sugai says this cream from Kiehl's is a great option for your face.

Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream

When it comes to full body moisturizers, Sugai loves this cream from Eucerin. Rough and dry feet that have spent the summer in flip-flops or skin that has also been exposed to chlorinated or salty water will appreciate the hydration it delivers.

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