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The summer can be a great time for our skin to soak in the vitamin D and get our radiant glow back. While the winter is known to be dry and cause countless issues for many of us, the warmer more humid weather can be the perfect time to replenish. However, there are still numerous challenges that the hot weather brings and to be mindful of as we head into the hot summer months. 

Toronto-based celebrity facialist, Vee Mistry of SKINBYVEE shared her top tips to protect your skin this summer to keep glowing year-round.

Cleansing is key

Starting right from the beginning, Mistry highlights the importance of starting strong with cleansing, citing it to be “the biggest part of every single person’s routine.” Because it is the foundational aspect of a strong skincare regimen, she notes that it must be paid close attention to when it comes to protecting your skin. 

“No matter who you are, what your budget is, or how much time you have, everybody has that moment to cleanse.” 

In the morning, she says, a cleansing oil or balm is ample to clear the skin of any overnight buildup, especially in the summer months when we are running hotter than usual. She adds that while sleep is the optimal state of rejuvenation for the skin, we want to ensure we are supporting that process in the morning by sloughing away the dead skin cells. 

The technique Mistry recommends is using a gentle oil or balm cleanser on dry skin (so you don’t dilute it) for a quick 15-20 second facial massage upwards and outwards on the face. This will ensure skin is prepped and primed for your morning skincare routine and that any products you use from there will be effective. 

At nighttime, she adds, the first aspect is to remove anything on the skin, whether it is SPF, makeup or pollution – or all three. Once you remove those with a cleansing oil or balm, similar to how you cleansed in the morning, the second step should be more treatment-specific. 

Mistry says “If you are prone to acne, cystic acne, bumpy textures, or blackheads, lean on an acid. If it’s really intense acne and congestion, lean on a BHA. If you just have the odd breakout here or there, you’ve got a little bit of pigmentation, and sun damage, or you just want to unify the complexion, lean more towards lactates.”

“These sugary-based hydrating types of acids will really help exfoliate but not over-exfoliate, but definitely able to bring that brightness to the skin,” Mistry adds.

She notes that there is a proper cleanser for every treatment and skin type, adding that you should be able to tell if you’re using the wrong formula. 

Mistry explains that “If after you’ve cleansed your skin, rinsed everything off and dried it, your skin feels tight and like all the life has been sucked out of you, you’re using the wrong cleanser. Your cleanser should never leave you feeling tight or stripped.”

Elemis Pro-Collagen Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm | $40

Elemis Pro-Collagen Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm
Pro-Collagen Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm.Photo by Elemis

Keep it cool

The best relief for hot weather? Cooling off! 

“This is my biggest thing. It’s my thing for every single person no matter who you are, or where in the world you live, but cleansing and rinsing that cleanser off with cold water will help cool, calm, and soothe the skin down,” Mistry says.

Not only can this help with sensitivities like rosacea, contact dermatitis and even acne, but cold water rinsing generally brings down the level of inflammation in the skin to bring a more balanced look.

Mistry acknowledges that for many years, people have been coming to her and claiming that warm water will open their pores and allow for a deeper clean. That is a myth, she says. 

“I always hear [from clients] that using hot or warm water opens the pores. No – your pores are not doors, they’re not flowers. They do not open and shut, they remain on your face.” 

She adds that the reason people sometimes think this is because they sometimes look more prominent than others. When they appear “open” it is because they’re filled with excess sebum and dead skin cells. Once that gathers in the follicle, it starts to push out the follicle walls, making the pores look more prominent, she explains. When they look less apparent, it is because they are free of that buildup. 

“When you cleanse with cold water, your skin will look a lot different. Your pores will look much cleaner, tighter, more refined. When you are hot water cleansing, it’s a one-stop shop for everything that is always going to work against you because it increases that inflammation. So it’s like putting heat upon heat. Any low-level inflammation conditions are just going to become heightened.” 

Mistry also adds that while cold water cleansing may feel best in the summer heat, it should be practiced year-round for optimal results. 

Another way to cool the skin down and get in a sculpting treatment is by using the benefits of cold in other ways. Mistry recently created a custom-designed set of cryo sticks, namely the SKINBYVEE Gua Sha Cryo Sticks, which combine the benefits of conventional gua sha with the benefits of cryotherapy by freezing and applying to the face. The benefits are vast, helping conditions like acne, congestion, posterior dermatitis, wrinkles, Rosacea, pigmentation and even TMJ. 

SKINBYVEE Gua Sha Cryo Sticks | $170

SKINBYVEE Gua Sha Cryo Sticks
SKINBYVEE Gua Sha Cryo Sticks.Photo by SKINBYVEE

Take advantage of the no-makeup makeup trend

Just because it’s hot out, doesn’t mean we don’t still want to wear makeup, especially when it comes to big events like weddings or summer parties. Mistry says this is the perfect time to lean into the no-makeup makeup trend and show off more of your natural glow. 

“These wonderful makeup brands bring in a component of skin care and lightness, allowing the skin to come through. I think we have left the Kim Kardashian heavy contouring palettes behind us, and we’re all starting to become more focused on that no-makeup makeup type of skin.” 

The best part? There are so many options to choose from in a variety of price points, says Mistry. While she isn’t a daily makeup user herself, she notes that brands like NUDESTIX, MERIT, Jones Road and Westman Atelier are all doing incredible things when it comes to providing lighter makeup options that often give additional skincare benefits. 

Mistry also notes that in the summer months to protect the skin from buildup as a result of layers of SPF, makeup and sweat mixing throughout the day, triple cleansing is a good option to get the skin feeling as clean as possible. 

“You start off with micellar water which has the combination of the oil and the water composition that lifts off the makeup. Once you’ve done that, and you’ve lifted that off, then you would go in with your oil or balm to make sure there is no more makeup left, and then you would go in with your treatment cleanser.” 

MERIT The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick | $38

MERIT The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick
MERIT The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick.Photo by MERIT

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation | $30

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation.Photo by Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

NUDESTIX Nudies Glow Highlighter Stick | $35

NUDESTIX Nudies Glow Highlighter Stick
NUDESTIX Nudies Glow Highlighter Stick.Photo by NUDESTIX

OLEHERIKSEN Banana Bright+ Vitamin CC Stick | $46

OLEHENRIKSEN’s Banana Bright+ Vitamin CC Sticks
OLEHENRIKSEN’s Banana Bright+ Vitamin CC Sticks.Photo by OLEHENRIKSEN


Put the prescription retinol away 

A controversial take: prescription retinol does not need to be an all-year affair. Mistry recommends tucking it away for the summer and using a lighter formula instead to protect your skin. Mistry notes that while most clients are good with SPF, even those who are very diligent can damage their skin if they continue to use the highly potent product in the summer months because of the increased sensitivity it gives the skin. The risks of using a prescription retinol in addition to sun exposure are bleak. 

“It’s going to sensitize your skin. Basically what’s happening is vitamin A is accelerating cell turnover, so you are going to be prone to burning and you are going to be prone to inflammation. That can be anywhere between a really red skin or you might see texture, but you’re definitely going to notice it’s irritated. The skin is going to feel hot, it’s like it’s on fire, and it’s burning. It’s going to feel really irritated and you’re going to feel like all you want to do is put something like a cold compress on the skin.” 

Mistry notes that you may also notice flaking in the skin and warns that third-degree burns are a very real possibility if you’re not careful. She also notes that dizziness, fever and sickness can be prevalent as well. While those are extreme side effects, Mistry says that people can, and have, experienced them as a result of not being careful in the sun while using retinol products. 

Swapping your prescription retinol for a lighter formula can be a great option for the summer months to continue with your skincare and reap the benefits without over-sensitizing the skin and providing additional benefits like hydration. 

As a general guideline, Mistry recommends putting away the prescription starting in April or May, depending on where you are, and picking it back up in September. In the meantime, she recommends replacement products like the Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Luminate Face Lotion or Age Intervention Retinol Plus

Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Luminate Face Lotion | $138

Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Luminate Face Lotion
Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Luminate Face Lotion.Photo by Jan Marini Skin Research

Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus | $118

Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus
Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus.Photo by Jan Marini

Stay hydrated 

Mistry takes a very holistic approach to skincare, looking at all the contributing factors that can impact what is happening on the surface. Because of this, she regards hydration as a key component of healthy skin. However, she doesn’t necessarily think there is a perfect amount for every person.

“There is too much emphasis put on having a certain amount of litres of water otherwise you’re not hydrated. No – drink as much water as your body needs. Your body is going to know when it’s dehydrated – your lips are going to be dry, your mouth is gonna be dry and your skin may even feel tighter. When you look at the texture of the skin, there are almost desert-like little cracks. It may not be that you’ve got flakiness, but the cracks will normally tell you your skin is dehydrated.” 

In the summer especially, hydration is even more crucial, not only because of the heat but also because of the lifestyle choices we tend to make as well. 

“In the summer, we’re living our best life and we want to be outdoors a little bit more. Maybe we’re doing more patio seasons, maybe we’re going to the cottage, or we’re going on summer holidays. We are typically going to be drinking more. The rule of thumb is one alcoholic beverage followed by one glass of water. it doesn’t mean that you are cancelling out the alcohol, you’re putting in an obstacle that will keep you as hydrated as possible and you’re keeping everything flushed out.” 

She also notes that it is important to understand how water is distributed so that you can work to keep the skin hydrated from both the inside and out. 

“The one thing you want to remember is when you drink water that is not sole hydration for your skin. Once you consume the water, it gets distributed to all your large organs first, and then our skin receives the remainder of it at the end. You still want to drink it but just remember that is not the only thing when we talk about how hydration for the skin.” 

She adds that from a cosmetic skincare perspective, she highly recommends sheet masks, especially a bio-cellulose mask which expedites hydration and can help heal skin after being out in the sun. In the warmer months, she says popping a mask in the fridge before using can be a great way to soothe the skin simultaneously. 

111SKIN – Y THEOREM Bio Cellulose Facial Mask | $185 

111SKIN - Y THEOREM Bio Cellulose Facial Mask
111SKIN – Y THEOREM Bio Cellulose Facial Mask.Photo by 111SKIN

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Biocellulose Brightening Treatment Mask | $46 

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Biocellulose Brightening Treatment Mask
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Biocellulose Brightening Treatment Mask.Photo by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare


Make SPF your best friend

It goes without saying but while SPF is recommended 365 days a year, in the heat of summer it is absolutely essential. While in the winter, a morning application may be enough, in the summer when the UV index is high, you must be re-applying regularly. 

“Always be wearing an SPF,” she says. “If you’re spending prolonged hours outside, then you want to reapply your SPF every 90 minutes.” While there is much debate over what kind of SPF is best, the most important aspect is finding one that works with your skin and that you are actually using every day. 

CeraVe Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 | $17

CeraVe Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30
CeraVe Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30.Photo by Amazon

NUDESTIX NUDESCREEN Daily Mineral Veil SPF 30 | $36

Nudestix Nudescreen Daily Mineral Veil
Nudestix Nudescreen Daily Mineral Veil.Photo by Nudestix

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 | $59

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50
SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50.Photo by SkinCeuticals

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