Summer means days spent lounging on the beach (SPF mandatory!), a jam-packed social calendar, and late nights spent enjoying the warm weather ...and clogged pores. Sweating, layering up sunscreen, and increased oil production are pitfalls of the superior season, and can lead to skin that's rough, bumpy, and in need of some serious TLC. The antidote? Gentle but effective exfoliation to address congestion and refine texture, for skin that's basically brand new - just in time for winter to do its damage all over again!

My current skin sans makeup, looking the best it ever has!

Gently Does It: For Sensitive Skin

Hailing from the Gold Coast, Alpha-H gained cult status by pioneering skincare powered by glycolic acid. This potent ingredient has a smaller molecule size than other commonly-used acids making it ultra-effective, and because it’s water soluble it works on the skin at surface level: perfect for pigmentation, sun-damage, fine lines and rough texture. It also has a reputation for being aggressive, and usually isn’t the go-to for more sensitive skins. Enter: Alpha-H’s new Generation Glow. With a lower level of acids alongside postbiotics to support the skin’s microbiome and boost barrier function, this blend is gentle enough for daily use and somehow soothes and smoothes: a rare, but much appreciated combo. The texture is thicker than I expected, almost a light, milky lotion, and though the instructions warn a tingling sensation can occur, my sensitive skin felt, if anything, incredibly soothed. Results aren’t instant with this milder option, but the commitment pays off in the form of happy, glowy skin.

The All-In-One: For Most Skin Types

U Beauty Resurfacing Compound

If the triple-digit price tag raises an eyebrow, consider this: buzzy brand U Beauty’s Resurfacing Compound is a light, silky gel that can quite literally replace half of your skincare routine. It’s all-encompassing formula combines antioxidants, stabilized Vitamin C and E, peptides, amino acids, alpha hydroxy acids and a gentle form of retinol in a hydrating base of hyaluronic acid (phew!) to address just about every skin concern you can think of. The result? Skin that’s plump, dewy, and ridiculously glowy, with zero irritation. Be still, my heart. I will add a caveat though: start slowly. The packaging says to use twice daily, but I did experience some dryness and flaking doing so, and my skin generally handles acid well. Try using nightly, and go from there.

The Blemish Buster: For Oily And Acne Prone

Those with difficult skin (I feel your pain) will know that Summer often sends oil production into overdrive, leading to stubborn congestion and unwanted shine. Murad’s Daily Clarifying Peel contains a duo of ultra-effective exfoliants (glycolic and salicylic acids, to name drop) which sweep away dead skin cells before they can clog pores, as well as a retinoid to increase cell turnover and refine skin texture. Though the word ‘peel’ sounds intense, this bright blue, bi-phase liquid is designed for daily use to nip breakouts in the bud. With a light, silky texture and a medicinal scent that convinces you of it’s efficacy, this magic potion feels surprisingly soothing despite it’s powerful formula, and is your best bet for clear skin all Summer long.

The Big Guns: For Resilient Skin

Enbacci Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Scrub

Skin that’s dull, dry and not responding to more gentle exfoliants may need a more intense option. Designed to be used up to twice weekly, Enbacci’s Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Scrub mimics an in-salon treatment for immediate results (yes, please!). Environmentally-friendly alumina microbeads physically dislodge dead skin cells and smooth the skin’s surface, while shea butter and glycerin soften and soothe. While chemical exfoliants like glycolic and salicylic acid work gradually to refine and boost radiance, a physical scrub promises immediate results to bring skin out of hibernation. This one in particular feels surprisingly gentle due to the teeny-tiny rounded microbeads, and doesn’t scratch up your skin like old-school scrubs. Include this in your regular routine, or use once in a while to reboot lacklustre skin. As with any exfoliation option, be sure to use an SPF every day to protect your skin – rain, hail or shine!

Story by Karina Wharton.

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