When you stumble upon a moisturizer that seamlessly tackles all of your skin's needs, it can be tempting to stick with it all year long. However, switching up your moisturizer during the summer is one of the best things you can do for your complexion (aside from wearing sunscreen, of course).
Skin naturally feels more moisturized in the summer since our sweat glands tend to increase oil production during the warm months, so ditching those heavy-duty moisturizers when it's hot as heck outside is important.
"In terms of consistencies, lotions and gels tend to dry faster and usually aren’t as heavy as creams," says Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
To help you navigate the process, Shop TODAY sought the expertise of renowned dermatologists and asked them to share a few of their favorite summer moisturizers. Plus, we shared a few of our own seasonal staples.
Dermatologist-approved lightweight moisturizers
Constant exposure to heat and sun during the summer months can cause sensitive skin to experience bouts of redness. This soothing nighttime moisturizer helps repair skin and tackles redness while you're sleeping.
"With licorice root extract as its key active ingredient, and its balance of humectants and sealants to provide a good amount of evening moisture replenishment, the formula has serious skin-soothing properties to provide relief while minimizing risk of irritation," says Dr. Orit Markowitz, associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine.
CeraVe's lightweight, hypoallergenic formula contains several hydrating and anti-inflammatory ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide. Even better, the night cream releases moisturizing ingredients for up to 24 hours of hydration, according to the brand. Plus, it gets Kaminska's seal of approval.
This bestseller's oil-free, non-comedogenic formula melts instantly into skin while providing lasting hydration.
“It's perfect for oily, dry and combination skin and leaves behind a nice, non-oily finish on the skin because it dries like a gel, but moisturizes like a cream," Kaminska says.
The star ingredient in Neutrogena's gel moisturizer is hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that attracts and locks in moisture.
"The ultra-light formula delivers hyaluronic acid to the skin to plump and hydrate. The gel base does not weigh the skin down. While it can be used all year, it is ideal for the humid months," adds Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's department of dermatology..
Pressed for time? Try a moisturizer that's already got built-in SPF. This light moisturizer offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays and won't clog pores thanks to its oil-free, non-comedogenic formula.
"It's incredibly light and perfect for summer. The matte finish is great considering it’s also a broad-spectrum sun protectant. The hyaluronic acid plus ceramides make this especially good for dry skin," Boston-based dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch says.
This gem provides a nice thin base layer when layering sunscreen on top of your daily moisturizer.
"It goes on super light with a dewy finish, hydrates really well and has a lovely texture," Hirsch says.
The antioxidants in this daily moisturizer offer 24-hour hydration and its lightweight formula is perfect for multiple skin types, including normal, dry, combination, oily and sensitive.
The amino-peptide complex in this whipped moisturizer fights pesky signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles while hyaluronic acid plumps up skin over time. The best part? It's so light that you'll barely notice you're wearing it.
"The whipped formula makes this moisturizer lighter in consistency than traditional creams. Because of its light and airy feel, it is easy to spread and does not leave skin feeling heavy or greasy," says Zeichner.
If you're already dealing with acne-prone skin, steer clear of rich moisturizers in the summer and opt for a lightweight formula like this non-comedogenic lotion that won't clog pores. The hydrating moisturizer is also filled with minerals, emollients and hyaluronic acid, which helps attract water to skin.
"It contains green tea, a soothing antioxidant that helps with any irritation that may be caused by acne treatments," says Markowitz.
If you're craving a sun-kissed summer glow, a lightweight moisturizer like this one Kaminska and Markowitz swear by is a seasonal skin care essential. The daily moisturizer's blue-green algae hydrates skin while cerium shields your complexion from blue light. It also includes a moisture-binding plant fermentation film that protects skin from pollution.
"The best part is that it also serves as a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect skin from harmful UV rays, plus it’s free of parabens, sulfates, oxybenzone and even synthetic fragrances that can irritate the skin," Markowitz notes.
Shop TODAY editor favorites
Page Ava Schwartz says this hyaluronic acid and ceramide-packed version of Vanicream is her favorite for her sensitive skin. It's free of fragrance and also formulated with ceramides, squalane and glycerin to provide ample hydration.
SEO intern Domonique Tolliver is a fan of this moisturizer from Clinique (and has added it to her list of things to hunt for during Fourth of July sales). Like the name implies, the brand says it provides hydration for a whopping 100 hours.
This is production coordinator Camryn Privette's favorite lightweight moisturizer for summer. She says it gives her a "great dewy glow and keeps her skin happy." Its key ingredients include shea butter, squalane, peptides, açai and niacinamide.
"I adore how dewy this makes my skin look and feel!" raves senior SEO editor Jess Bender. "My boyfriend also didn't have a proper skin care routine until I introduced him to this and now he swears by it." They're not the only ones that are fans. According to a study conducted by the brand, 100% of participants saw improvement in moisture and skin softness after just one use.
Commerce editor Julie Ricevuto says this moisturizer has changed her skin during summer months. "It's hydrating but doesn't clog my pores and I've noticed less blackheads than usual when I wear it. It feels weightless!" she raves.
According to the brand, it's suitable for not only all skin types but multiple skin concerns, including dryness, dullness, uneven texture and oiliness.
Associate SEO editor Fran Sales calls this broad-spectrum pick "no ordinary face sunscreen." She has combination skin that is oily around her forehead and T-zone but dry on her checks and around her nose. "It feels super hydrating, goes on smoothly and it sinks in pretty quickly but still gives my face a nice plumpness and glow," she says.
Commerce editor Vivien Moon has been using this moisturizer for the last month and calls it a "lovely addition" to her routine. The brand touts it as a two-in-one moisturizer and eye cream that is packed with powerhouse ingredients such as squalane, caffeine, green tea extract and glycerin.
"I typically cant be bothered to use a moisturizer in the warmer weather (bad, I know) but this is so soft and velvety that I actually enjoy using it and how soft it leaves my skin so it's a great pick for me personally in the summer. The whipped formula soothes my skin after a hot and sweaty day," Moon raves.
Photo editor Vivian Le likes this moisturizer because it has SPF 50 and leaves her skin "feeling glowy." It provides broad-spectrum protection and, according to the brand, smooths the look of wrinkles so it's perfect for wearing before makeup.