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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).
Hot, humid weather and rich moisturizers don't exactly work well together, so finding a formula that's light enough to prevent clogged pores and breakouts but strong enough to provide adequate hydration is a delicate balance.
Dermatologist-approved lightweight moisturizers
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," said Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
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.
Switching to a lighter daytime moisturizer helps you make room for essential warm weather products like sunscreen without leaving your skin feeling weighed down. As an added bonus, Pixi's hydration gel is full of nourishing ingredients like rejuvenating rosemary, soothing aloe vera and protective green tea.
"It's a very light gel-type moisturizer that is hydrating and suitable for all skin types," board-certified dermatologist and CEO/Founder of Curology David Lortscher said.
Why treat just one skin symptom (dryness) with your moisturizer when you can tackle several at once? This non-greasy nighttime moisturizer from Aveeno has a hypoallergenic formula that hydrates and treats with the help of hyaluronic acid and soy extract. The best part? It doesn't leave any residue behind, so you won't need to rinse off your lotion in the morning.
"This ultra-gentle moisturizer has a light consistency and delivers a soy complex to prevent and treat sun-related dark spots, which is a much larger issue in the summer than the winter," said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's department of dermatology.
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," said Dr. Orit Markowitz, associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine.
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," Zeichner said.
Switching up your moisturizer for summer doesn't have to break your budget. "This is a good option that's commonly found in drugstores. It is lightweight and formulated with water rather than oil," Lortscher said.
The daily moisturizer hydrates skin with a blend of cucumber and green mango extracts and the non-comedogenic gel formula won't clog pores. In other words, it will leave your skin feeling nice and refreshed!
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 said.
The star ingredient in this 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," Zeichner said.
When it comes to finding the perfect summer hydrator, try to adopt the following motto: The lighter, the better.
"I would recommend a lighter, gel-based moisturizer that will provide hydration without leaving skin feeling greasy," Lortscher said.
First Aid Beauty's gel moisturizer helps oily, acne-prone skin balance hydration with oil control with the help of an ingredient blend called FMLT SeboCure. Other powerhouse ingredients include refreshing zinc PCA, hydrating Salicornia Herbacea and pore-reducing lecithin.
If you prefer to layer your sunscreen on top of a daily moisturizer, this gem provides a nice thin base layer. "It goes on super light with a dewy finish, hydrates really well and has a lovely texture," Boston dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch said.
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.
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," Hirsch said.
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," Markowitz said.
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 said.
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