Look and Feel Your Best All Summer Long

SUMMER IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SEASON. BIKINIS AND BARE feet are my go-to outdoor summer attire. Makeup is minimal, except for foundation, sun protection and waterproof mascara.

My family spends a lot of quality time in our backyard oasis— pool and hot tub—and we entertain outside at “Club Horton.” We also travel to our lakeside cottage in Canada.
I love water sports, including swimming, water skiing, and riding our Sea-Doo personal watercraft on Lake Ontario. My twins also love the water, as does our golden retriever, Gordy. Summer means we get to frolic.


When it comes to my health, I love getting creative in the kitchen and whipping up delicious, protein-packed smoothies. They’re a great way to stay energized throughout the day.

Drink lots of water and snack on hydrating foods. In summer, my family eats a lot of watermelon and cucumber each day. They’re excellent sources for water, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and K.

I am the master of healthy salads, and I always add seasonal fruits, fresh herbs, and my homemade dressings. My favorite is the 1-2-3 dressing which is one part granulated sugar, two parts red wine vinegar, and three parts vegetable oil. Shake immediately before using and discard after 24 hours. It’s light, complements any salad, and is so easy to make.

Dr. Horton making a salad. Photo: Amelia Plumb Photography


Sun is fun, but it can do a number on your skin, causing sunburn and ultraviolet DNA damage. Wear high SPF sunscreen and continuously reapply. Sun damage is cumulative and permanent. Although some treatments, such as intense pulsed light and medical-grade skin care can help rejuvenate skin, nothing compares to protecting yourself from harmful UV rays.

Use sun protection rather than strong chemical exfoliants and other potentially photosensitizing products. A good vitamin C serum (phloretin CF gel is my go-to) and broad-spectrum sunscreen are must-haves. Physical sunblocks containing titanium and zinc, such as Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF50 and Sunforgettable Brush-On SPF50 powder, are more effective than PABA-containing sprays

Skin can accumulate damage, but so can the lips and scalp. Protect your lips with SPF products and wear a hat. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas can happen anywhere on the face, neck and chest 30-plus years after sun exposure.


Focusing on sun protection creates a great canvas for laser skin rejuvenation in fall and winter. Do not seek a real tan if you plan to undergo sunspot and hyperpigmentation treatments.

I also visit my hairstylist and colorist for my seasonal hair refresh. I’m naturally blonde but like to go a little lighter in summer. Their treatments help prevent my hair from going brassy from chlorine.


Warm days and nights make summer a great time to work out. Consistent exercise releases endorphins, promotes a positive attitude, and maintains lean muscle tone.
I take advantage of the longer days by spending more time in the fresh air and getting much-needed vitamin D. I embrace outdoor workouts, including runs, hikes, and swims.

Dr. Horton jogging. Photo: Amelia Plumb Photography

Afterward, I enjoy getting deep tissue massages to restore healthy circulation for tired muscles and to relax and rejuvenate. I visit a spa at least monthly. Regular exercise, stretching, and massage are vital to prevent injuries.

With these tips in mind, you can stay beautiful and healthy all summer long. Now go outside, live your life to the fullest, and safely soak up that sunshine!

Karen M. Horton, MD, FACS

Dr. Karen Horton is an internationally Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, a fitness enthusiast, proud mom to fraternal twin girls, and devoted wife of nearly 3 decades. A surgeon’s daughter, she is proud to have built a successful, women-focused boutique private practice in Pacific Heights. Featuring a brand new Quad A-certified, fully equipped operating room, Dr. Horton offers her patients the highest level of aesthetic care, both surgical and non-surgical, in a modern, bright and discrete setting. She considers it an honor and a privilege to care for her patients! To learn more about Dr. Horton, visit www.drkarenhorton.com and follow her on social at @drkarenhorton.