There’s no better way to spend your summer than enjoying time outdoors. But that also means more-than-normal amounts of sun exposure, which can harm the skin in more ways than one. That’s why doctors often recommend avoiding specific skin treatments, like some lasers and heavy resurfacing procedures in the summer, which can cause increased sun sensitivity and unwanted pigmentation. But, as Dr. Steven Weiner explains, there are those patients who follow a strict out-of-the-sun lifestyle and do lasers during the summer. “I’ll do mild, non-aggressive lasers in these patients, but there are other treatments we can do without worrying about side effects,” he adds. Of course, avoiding the sun after a laser or treatment is critical to limit potential issues.
These are the top 5 safe-for-all-skin-tones treatments to do this summer without worry.
1. Facials and light chemical peels
Dr. Weiner says a lot of facials are done in his office when the weather gets hot. These pore-cleansing treatments can be a godsend for those who suffer from clogged pores, oily skin, and breakouts once the temperatures rise. “Hydrafacials are one of the most requested treatments during the summer,” he adds.
If superficial chemical peels are a favorite exfoliating treatment during the winter and spring seasons, there’s no reason why you can’t do them come summer. “Light peels that use salicylic and glycolic acids, which patients tend to do well with, are best. There’s also no downtime,” Dr. Weiner says. Plus, all types of superficial peels leave all skin tones brighter and glowy. Of course, you’ll want to apply ample sunscreen for time spent outdoors.
2. Radiofrequency microneedling
One of the most popular skin rejuvenating treatments of the moment is radiofrequency (RF) microneedling, which safely drives tiny needles into the outer layers of the skin to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, scars, and uneven skin tone and texture. Creating microscopic injuries within the skin prompts the skin to stimulate new collagen for added skin firmness.
One of the many benefits of RF microneedling is that it can be done in the summer (and year-round) because, as Dr. Weiner explains, the delivery of heat is in the deeper dermis, not the epidermal-dermal junction. “Melanocytes live in the epidermal-dermal junction, which is where hyperpigmentation forms,” he says. RF microneedling is also safe for all skin types and tones, and if needed, your doctor can dial the settings down. “A lower setting and deeper needle depth make the treatment even safer on darker skin tones. And, for patients concerned about hyperpigmentation, we can treat them before and after with hydroquinone and Retin-A,” Dr. Weiner shares.
Not all RF microneedling treatments are the same; some are more intense than others. Of course, the stronger the device, the more downtime involved, which is at most some redness or inflammation.
3. Light lasers
According to Dr. Weiner, lighter lasers, including laser hair removal, are safer for lighter skin tones in the summer. However, if you treat the skin with a mild laser, it’s important to avoid exposing the skin to the sun for three weeks before and after, which can compromise the results. As far as darker skin goes, Dr. Weiner recommends avoiding lasers on darker skin types because there’s a higher risk of hyperpigmentation. “We can do a treatment like Tixeln (a fractional treatment that uses thermo mechanical ablation technology) on all skin types all summer long and adjust the machine to a lower setting for darker skin types. It does quite well without any side effects,” he explains. Other summer-safe lasers in Dr. Weiner’s toolbox are the 1920 thulium laser and the Halo laser. “Both are safe on all skin types as long as we adjust the setting for each patient’s skin type.”
4. Neuromodulators, fillers, and injectables
Neuromodulators, fillers, and injectables are considered seasonless treatments. “We do a lot of them in the summer because we can safely do them at any time,” Dr. Weiner says. So opting for a few injections during the summer won’t render the skin any more vulnerable to the effects of the sun.
If full-dose Botox isn’t your thing, consider Aquagold, a summer-friendly treatment Dr. Weiner says is effective for acne patients. Aquagold is a handheld microinjection microchannel device that delivers microinfused amounts of Botox or other infusions into the skin. It works for all skin tones with zero downtime or the need to stay out of the sun (except for the usual reasons doctors recommend limiting sun exposure).
5. Body sculpting treatments
If you want a head start on next summer’s beach body, now’s the time to start. Body contouring treatments like CoolSculpting and EmSculpt are non-invasive, so there’s no recovery period. “They can be done on the body any time of the year,” Dr. Weiner says. All body areas are fair game and save for some minimal swelling, redness, and tenderness, you should be able to don a bathing suit rather quickly. But here’s the caveat: the results are not immediate and can take a few months to surface, so plan accordingly.
Written by Elise Minton Tabin