Sun, sand, surf…..and acne. One of these things doesn’t belong with the others in your summer plans. Unfortunately, higher temperatures and higher humidity during the summer months cause acne breakouts, because your skin produces more oil (sebum) when it’s warm and humid out. You probably spend more time outdoors during the summer too, which exposes your skin to more irritants – like dirt, the sun and ultraviolet radiation, chlorine and other pool chemicals, and sweat. Altogether, the extra oil mixes with the dirt and debris on your face and clogs your pores. Your clogged pores trap bacteria inside, which leads to pimple and blackhead breakouts during summer.
Summer acne is common even for people who don’t normally experience breakouts. And people with acne-prone skin may have more breakouts when it’s hot and humid out. It’s not confined to your face either – contact acne develops when sweat, bacteria, and friction combine to cause breakouts. Contact acne can be triggered by sweating a lot outdoors, wearing tight clothing, and exercising outside during summer. It commonly occurs on areas of your body where sweat gathers and areas where your skin rubs together – like your neck, chest, upper back, and inner thighs.
Below, we’ve compiled a few tips to help keep your skin care routine on track this summer and reduce your chances of having a breakout.
1. Apply sunscreen daily. Sunscreen is the most important product in your skin care kit this summer. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause premature aging to your skin (photoaging). Sunlight also dries out your skin, which may sound like a good thing at first, because it leaches out the acne-inducing oils. But when your face is stripped of the oils it needs to keep your skin healthy, it overcompensates by producing even more sebum, which in turn leads to more acne. Use a light, oil-free sunscreen during the summer – and click here to read more tips on how to choose the right sunscreen.
During the summer, be aware that many acne medications may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. Slather on the sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and stay indoors during peak hours of UV radiation (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) to decrease skin irritation and inflammation.
2. Clean your face regularly. During the summer, use a light, water-based cleanser on your face every morning and night. It’s especially important to clean your face before bed – throughout the day, oils, sweat, dirt, environmental toxins, and bacteria build up on your skin. If you are going to be spending a lot of time outside, tuck a pack of cleanser wipes in your bag to quickly refresh your face midday.
3. Use the right moisturizer. You may have been using heavy cream or jelly-based moisturizer in the wintertime, to keep hydration locked into your skin and prevent winter dryness. During summer, when high humidity keeps more moisture circulating in the air, thick creams can weigh down your skin and clog pores. Instead, switch over to a light, oil-free moisturizer with added SPF. If your moisturizer is doubling as your sunscreen, re-apply it every two hours if you are outdoors in direct sunlight.
4. Wash your bedsheets regularly. Your skin leaves oils and bacteria on your sheets at night – even clean skin transfers oils onto the bedsheets. Sleeping for too long on unwashed bedsheets can transfer acne-causing dirt and bacteria back onto your skin. Switch out your pillowcases at least once a week, and your bedsheets at least once every two weeks.
5. Drink plenty of water. Glowing skin starts from the inside out. When you hydrate your body, you hydrate your skin too. And healthy, hydrated skin will be able to heal faster from acne breakouts.
If you have summer acne that you can’t control with at-home care, it may be time to see a dermatologist. At Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers, our licensed dermatologists are experts in the field of hair, nails, and skin, and they can work with you to discuss treatment options for managing acne. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.