Editor’s Note: Clark’s Botanicals founder Francesco Clark created the cult skin care line after enduring a crippling spinal cord injury in 2002. With his central nervous system impaired, Francesco lost the ability not only to walk and feel, but also even to sweat. This lead to clogged pores and chronic breakouts. When neither over-the-counter nor prescription remedies worked, Francesco turned to his father, Dr. Harold Clark, a physician trained in both traditional Western medicine and homeopathy. Together, they developed botanical products that effectively rebalance skin. Francesco is also the author of Walking Papers: The Accident That Changed My Life and the Business That Got Me Back on My Feet (Hyperion) and serves as the National Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
As a skin care entrepreneur and former acne sufferer, skin is always top of mind for me, so I’m often surprised by the amount of people who are not prepared as the summer months approach. Summer is a very specific season for skin because more of it is exposed to the elements (tank tops and cutoffs!), while sweat and product buildup come into play. Yes, it’s important to order that green juice and fruit bowl at brunch instead of the huevos rancheros or to take some extra SoulCycle classes if you’re getting your body ready for summer, but it’s also important to switch up your skin care routine! Here are a few easy ways to make sure your skin is as healthy and glowing as your abs are toned and taut:
1. Switch out your skin care the way you switch out your wardrobe.
Come July, chances are you’ve long said good riddance to that floor-length puffy coat. When the weather heats up, your body needs different types of clothing to stay comfortable. The same goes for your skin care regimen. Replace your thick moisturizer with a lighter lotion or serum that contains antioxidants, which work to neutralize free radicals from sun exposure. Use a foaming cleanser that contains salicylic or glycolic acid, which will help remove sunscreen residue as well as dirt that can build up due to increased sweating. Facial mists are also a great summer product because they counteract the drying effects of saltwater, tap water and chlorine in pools.
We recommend: Clark’s Botanicals Cellular Lifting Moisture Mist
2. Exfoliate like your life depends on it!
In my opinion, exfoliation is a year-round responsibility (if you plan on having great skin, that is), but it becomes even more important during the summer, when your skin is constantly layered in a combination of sunscreen, skin care products, self-tanner and oil buildup. It’s important to keep in mind that your skin will most likely tolerate more active ingredients during the summer because it will be less dry and sensitive. Try a product with glycolic acid or retinoids a few times a week to remove dead skin on the face, and don’t forget the rest of your body! Use a dry brush from toes to neck to buff skin, and follow with a cool shower (hot water can irritate skin), gently cleansing with a massage glove. You’ll look red-carpet ready, even if your only destination is a backyard barbecue.
3. Sunscreen is your friend. (Duh!)
Hopefully we’re all past the stage of needing to be educated about sunscreen, but a little refresher never hurt anyone! Sunscreen should be worn all year long, but in the summer more parts of the body are exposed to the sun for longer periods of time, so it’s important to ramp up your routine. Even if your regular skin care or makeup features SPF in its formula, always start with a high SPF like 30 or 50 before applying anything else. Your face is an obvious target, but don’t forget spots around your face like ears, neck and décolletage. If you’re wearing a sleeveless dress or top, make sure your shoulders, arms and hands are protected—and the same goes for exposed legs and feet.
4. Bye-bye to bacne!
When the warm weather comes around, even the clearest complexions can become susceptible to breakouts. With all of that sweating and product buildup, even shoulders, chests and backs can experience flare-ups. Besides exfoliating and cleansing regularly (see above), make sure not to pick. Treat with products that have salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and try to wear breathable, natural fabrics like cotton and linen—tight clothing can cause even more flare-ups. Finally, steer clear of abrasive and detergent soaps as well as alcohol-based treatments, which can irritate the skin even more. Be gentle and, with any luck, those little bumps will head for the hills.
We recommend: Clark’s Botanicals Skin Clearing Face and Body Wash
5. You are what you eat, after all.
In the summer, staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables is more important than ever. Fruits and veggies have vitamins A, C and E, which act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, while water boosts energy and the overall appearance of the skin by flushing out impurities in your system.