How to summer-proof your skin

The sun is shining, the weather’s warmed up – but you’re still slathering on your thick, winter face cream? Well, the news is, just like you swap your coats and cosy knits for linen and seersucker dresses come summer, so too should your lotions and potions have a seasonal switch-up.

Summer SkincarePhoto credit: @midnight.merlot

You don’t need to completely replace your skincare regime in the warmer months,’ advises TONIC15 founder and skincare expert Jin Kwon. ‘But the needs of skin in the summer are vastly different than what it calls for in winter. So naturally, a few of your cold-weather staples will need to be replaced when the sun starts to shine.’

While biting temperatures and central heating can often strip skin in the winter putting more focus on nourishing, unctuous textures that cosset and comfort skin, during the summer, skin faces other environmental onslaughts. The sun’s UVA rays can exacerbate ageing, while sticky heat can send sebum into overdrive resulting in blemishes and breakouts. The solution? A simple regime that focusses on lightweight, hydrating textures and, the K-beauty non-negotiable, sun protection. Here’s how to summer-proof your skin.

A fresh start
The combination of dead skin cells, daily dirt, sweat and sebum is like a feast for blemish-causing bacteria, so take things back to basics and ensure you’re exfoliating as a first step but it’s important to tread carefully. 

‘I find manual scrubs can exacerbate break-outs and are often too harsh on skin,’ says Jin. ‘Instead, opt for a formula that uses its ingredients to resurface skin, rather than gritty grains or manual exfoliants, which will give your complexion an easier ride. As you’re exposed to high-levels of sun in the summer months, if you’re a morning exfoliator, it’s best to incorporate this into your before-bed regime.’


The Make P:rem Radiance Me Mild Essential Peel has been formulated with Wintergreen Leaf Extract which is teeming with Salicylic Acid – a big-hitter when it comes to keeping blemishes at bay. Smooth it onto clean skin, allow it to sit for a minute or two and then gently rub in. You’ll notice it’ll start to satisfyingly ‘peel’ as it removes the surface layer of dead skin cells. While this formula is gentle, but mightily effective, it’s important not to over-exfoliate which can lead to skin irritation and sensitivity. Instead, use this 2-3 times a week after your evening cleanse. 

Full foam ahead
While we love a cleansing balm for our first cleanse – nothing melts away makeup like the I’m From Fig Cleansing Balm – in the summer, for our second cleanse, nothing gets skin feeling squeaky clean like a foaming face wash.


The Sioris Day By Day Cleansing gel is a brilliant option for the summer months,’ suggests Jin. It has a refreshing texture and gently rebalances the skin while also removing dirt, sweat and any makeup residue to ensure skin is properly cleansed.’

It’s been formulated with countless ingredients to summer-proof skin, notably Hottuynia Cordata Extract which helps regulate sebum production (remember, oil and bacteria equals catnip for spots) as well as Black Willow Bark which gently exfoliates without stripping skin. Finally Organic Fruit Water – derived from Green Plum or Yuzu – gives skin an instead nutrient-rich vitamin shot.

Tone it down
As mentioned, the key to summer skincare built around about cooling, soothing and refreshing skin and simple, stripped-back formulas that deliver effective ingredients without any excess. A product that does both is the Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner. A hydrating spritz-on tonic comprised of only five ingredients, it’s formulated with 91.9% Barberry Root Extract, celebrated for its anti-inflammatory, energising and nourishing properties. 


‘This toner is built around plant-based ingredients and is one of my summer must-haves,’ says Jin. ‘I either apply it in place of my usual toner – soaking a cotton pad and sweeping it over cleansed skin – or I spritz it straight on when my skin feels hot, red or irritated. It instantly cools, comforts and takes the heat out of skin.’ 

Get a Vit hit
While full-coverage foundation might be your winter go-to, it’s natural to want to plump for CC creams or water-light tinted moisturisers in summer when heavy formulations feel weighty on skin. But what to do if you’re feeling less than confident about your bare complexion? Vitamin C might just be the answer.

‘Helping to address hyperpigmentation, the new to TONIC15 By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 15% Ferulic Acid combines the complexion-correcting power of Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid – an ingredient that has skin-protective properties and treats sun damage,’ says Jin. ‘While the Vitamin C serum can be used either in your AM or PM regime, if you are using it first thing, SPF is a non-negotiable as Vitamin C can increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun.’

A light touch
One quick summer skin win is to trade out your heavy face cream for a whisper-light formula that still packs a hydration hit. ‘Look out for ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water to hydrate skin without weighing it down,’ advises Jin.

The Dear Klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream has an airy water-based texture that’s formulated with Jeju Green Tea Water and Advanced Liposomes that take moisture straight to the deeper layers of skin without weighing the surface down. Delivering a fresh, cooling sensation on the skin, it uses Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid to prevent moisture loss. Think of it as a cool, refreshing (alcohol-free) cocktail for heat-heavy, summer skin.   

Shield from the sun
We all know we should be wearing sun cream – yes, even in winter – but when it comes to formulas for your face, some can wreak havoc on the skin – clogging pores, leaving a white cast or even leading to breakouts and blemishes.


‘I’ve tried out so many SPFs over the years – Korean women are raised on them – and I keep coming back to the Dr. Ceuracle Cica Regen Anti-Sun Gel,’ says Jin. ‘It works for every skin types from dry to sensitive – thanks to the inclusion of a calming Centella complex – while it also wipes out a lot of skincare steps if you suffer from oily skin as it acts as an essence, moisturiser and sunscreen in one.’ 

It’s down to you when you apply it – some of the team use it in place of moisturiser, while for others, it’s their final layer. But if you’re spending any time in the sun this summer – and let’s be honest, we want to be outside AMAP (as much as possible) – this is by far the most important step in your skincare regime and your first line of defence against wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and dark marks.  

Always have an SOS
So, you’ve applied your sun care but still ended up with red, irritated, sensitised skin? Worry not, we have an answer. ‘I always take a tube of the AROMATICA Aloe Vera Gel with me when I travel,’ says Jin. ‘While it’s formulated with 95.2% Organic Aloe Vera Gel and is instantly cooling on the skin, I keep it in the fridge to up the skin-soothing effects. Not only does it help heal sunburn it can help moisturise the skin to prevent peeling and also makes a nourishing after-sun.’


And there you have it, a few simple summer skin switch-ups can make all of the difference to your complexion once the weather warms up. If you have any specific summer skincare concerns or questions, ask Jin and the team at

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