Smart Summer Moisturizer Picks

Prepare your skin with expert best picks for warmer temps.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 14, 2012

Skincare needs change with the seasons. So how should you transition your skincare routine? Jeanine Downie, MD, director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, N.J., and David Colbert, MD, founder and head physician, of the New York Dermatology Group in New York City, share some of their favorite skin-saving solutions and summer staples.

Downie’s top picks: Slathering on heavy creams in the summer that are designed to treat parched winter skin can be as uncomfortable as wearing flannel in July. Switch to lighter products with ingredients like aloe and jojoba.

Look for moisturizers that are described as milks or lotions. Gel formulas are also great for hot weather because they absorb quickly without leaving greasy residue. Try Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Daily Body Gel .

I think it's smart to replenish moisture with body washes that offer lightweight moisture. They might even be enough hydration for those with oilier skin. Dove Go Fresh Revive Body Wash  is a great option.

Lather up with an in-shower exfoliator for more stubborn cases of ashy, dull skin. Look for microbeads or exfoliators that soften skin while sloughing off flakes. Try Aveeno Positively Nourishing Smoothing Body Wash.

Add a salicylic acid body wash to your summer skin care routine if body breakouts are an issue. The acid can be too harsh on dry winter skin. I like Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, Pink Grapefruit.

Colbert's top picks:

The weather causes environmental and biological changes that affect your skin, which is why your winter products don't feel right. Summer is definitely the time to switch to less greasy formulas, from creams to lotions, for example.

Read the label. If one of the first two or three ingredients includes glycerin, lanolin, or petrolatum, it might suffocate your skin in warm months. I like lotions with either lactic or glycolic acid during warmer weather. These ingredients can be too harsh on dry, cracked winter skin but are excellent hydrators and exfoliators for summer. Try AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Body Lotion, especially on flaky legs. I also often suggest Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion because it has a light texture and doesn't feel greasy.

Soap is something I usually tell people to avoid in the winter. But in the summer, you can benefit from the right bar. The heat and sweat lead to breakouts and to bacteria breeding. So washing the oilier areas of your body can help keep your skin free of bumps.

Even if breakouts don't have you seeing red, heat and sweat can cause irritation. Try Eucerin Calming Itch-Relief Treatment Lotion if your skin is prone to getting angry. Its gentle formula soothes a range of summer-related skin issues.


The Truth About Cellulite

Wondering if those anti-cellulite lotions really work? No matter what lotion you use, no product can remove the lumps for good, dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD, says. But you can get better-looking skin.

"Most cellulite products work by either improving the skin to thicken the dermis and camouflage the fat or reducing fluid retention of the fat so it's less noticeable," Lupo says. Ingredients such as caffeine derivatives can help firm and smooth the skin if used regularly. The benefits end when you stop using the products. "I think the massaging required to apply the products is just as effective," Lupo says.

The opinions expressed in this section are the opinions of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.


Show Sources

Jeanine Downie, MD, author of Beautiful Skin of Color; director, Image Dermatology, Montclair, N.J.
David Colbert, MD, founder, head physician, New York Dermatology Group, New York City.
Mary Lupo, MD, dermatologist, professor of dermatology, Tulane University Medical School, New Orleans.

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