Summer is here! Any prep for the new season—like planning vacations, buying new swimsuits, and downloading beach reads—should also include a beauty overhaul. Since nothing pairs better with off-the-shoulder tops and sundresses than gorgeous, healthy skin, we spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum for expert advice on how to get just that.
But first, what do we mean by “glowy,” and how is it actually a sign of healthy skin?
“Glowy skin is supple, healthy, hydrated skin,” Dr. Nussbaum explains. “In the winter, dry skin tends to build up, giving a dull appearance on both our face and our body. The dry air and heat take the moisture out—and since skin is the ultimate barrier between yourself and the environment, glowing skin really just means that you have healthy skin.”
Roger that. Read on for her five top tips for revealing your inner glow.
1. Shorten your showers (and moisturise properly).
In the chilly months, your shower routine was likely long and hot, but that’s a big factor contributing to dry, not-so-pretty skin.
“Always take short showers,” Dr. Nussbaum recommends. “Five minutes maximum with lukewarm water, not hot. Long hot showers are the worst thing for dry skin!”
And don’t rush to soak up every drop of water from your skin right after, either.
“After you shower, pat the skin dry, don’t rub it, and moisturise immediately to lock in the moisture when your skin is basically still damp.”
2. Use the right body wash
It’s not just how you shower, she continues, but with what.
“First and foremost, always use a moisturising body wash with a good humectant,” she says. (A humectant draws the water in, attracting its molecules beneath the skin.) “You also want a good emollient, which moisturises and smooths the skin by spreading the molecules across the skin cells and in the cracks and creating a stronger bond between cells. You really want a mild body wash to gently cleanse without stripping the skin of oils.”
Her recommendation? Olay Ribbons Body Wash , which is made with a dual-stream technology that makes it proficient at both cleansing and moisturising.
“It’s proven to enhance the skin’s own natural moisturising factor. It basically helps the skin boost its own ability to increase hydration and moisture, not just by adding it externally.”
3. Choose your facial wisely.
So many of us turn to facials as a cure-all for dull, irritated, or otherwise angry skin, but Dr. Nussbaum reminds us to be careful in choosing an aesthetician.
“In the right hands, a facial can be great. In the wrong hands, it causes inflammation, scars, and marks. I don’t love facials for acne because I find a lot of aestheticians can cause scarring during the extractions, but if it’s for hydration or moisturising, I think they’re perfectly fine.”
4. Go easy on the exfoliating.
It may seem like a quick fix to scrub the dead skin right off your face, but don’t consider it a given.
“Anything that’s too harsh, such as a product with beads in it, can cause micro-tears in the skin and develop inflammation, redness, and irritation,” she cautions. Instead, Dr. Nussbaum suggests opting for chemical exfoliators with alpha- or beta-hydroxy.
5. Wear sunscreen.
We’ll never stop saying it: SPF is your best friend when it comes to keeping your skin supple.
“Sunscreen is super important,” reaffirms Dr. Nussbaum—but it’s not all created equal. “Even if makeup has sunscreen in it, it has to be 30 and above and it should be applied prior to going outside and re-applied every two hours, or sooner if you sweat or swim. Even if something is water-resistant, if you swim or get wet, it’s off, so you need to reapply.”
The good news is there are ways to avoid messing up your perfectly applied bronzer when you’re doing all that reapplying.
“There are powdery, mineral-based sunscreens that you can brush over your makeup as well as mists,” she suggests. Whatever form it takes, she prefers options made with zinc and titanium, as opposed to chemical-based sunscreens with avobenzone and oxybenzone. Make sure to look for broad-spectrum in order to cover both UVA and UVB rays.
This article first appeared on ELLE.