Whether or not you actually have acne-prone skin, summertime can still find a way to wreak havoc on your complexion. What with all of the heat and the treats, it's good to know ways to prevent and heal summer breakouts. You know, just in case. So to find out some of the reasons why we may have acne flareups more often in the warmer months and how to keep those breakouts at bay, I emailed with Dr. Estee Williams, board-certified medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatologist; Amanda Hume, makeup artist and founder of Vert Beauty; and Lori Nestore, Co-President at Tu'el.
According to Dr. Williams, what really causes acne comes down to inflammation and hair follicles being plugged by dead skin. But this inflammation and clogged pores can be a result of "Too much sebum in the skin, a friendly bacteria called P. acnes, hormonal imbalance, genetics, diet, and even poor choice of cosmetics," she says. Because there are so many different causes, different treatments and preventatives will have different results. But if you only have flareups in the summer, or your usual breakouts become significantly worse during the summer, it could be due to something that might be somewhat easier to prevent and treat. So summer breakouts don't get the best of you, here are eight things you can do to prevent and heal them:
1. Wear Breathable Fabrics
According to Dr. Williams, "The main challenge of treating acne in the summer has to do with the heat and humidity that often trigger acne on the chest and back." To help avoid these body breakouts, she recommends wearing loose, breathable fabrics that won't hold sweat against the skin.
2. Choose The Right SPF
During the summer, a lot of emphasis is put on wearing enough sunscreen. But some types could actually cause you to break out more than usual. Dr. Williams suggests opting for an SPF that has ingredients such as vitamin B3 that will help to clear up acne while protecting against UV rays.
3. Skip Heavy Makeup
I'm all for a full beat, but Hume says it's better to stay away from heavy makeup during the summer. Because you tend to sweat more in the warmer months, she says to switch to a tinted moisturizer or BB cream that won't clog your pores like a full-coverage foundation might.
4. Limit The Ice Cream
According to Nestore, "dairy products can and often lead to acne and breakouts." If you tend to frequent ice-cream parlors and froyo shops in the summer and notice an increase in breakouts, try cutting back on the dairy to see if it helps.
5. Shower Immediately After Exercising
There are so many fun, summer activities to try. But many of them may leave you totally sweaty. So your sweat doesn't have a chance to sit too long on your skin and cause breakouts on your face and body, Dr. Williams recommends showering immediately after exercising.
6. Wash Your Face Every Night
And so any excess oils on your face don't have a chance to clog your pores and cause breakouts overnight, Hume says it's important to wash your face every night before bed. Nestore adds that it helps to clean deeper than you might normally since the hot weather sends oil glands into overdrive and can make it more difficult to keep your pores clear.
7. Use The Right Treatments
When treating your breakouts, certain ingredients may work better than others. Of course, it helps to know your skin and only use products that react well. Dr. Williams says to stay away from hydrocortisone creams as "They make things better in the short-term and then trigger an even worse rebound."
Hume recommends trying "products that contain neem and willow bark that are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal." And Nestore says, "If you have a tendency to sweat easily and break out, be sure not to use super acidic or alkaline products as that will make your skin more oily and unbalanced."
8. Talk To Your Dermatologist
If you're having trouble keeping your summer breakouts under control though, Dr. Williams says to talk to your dermatologist to find out what exactly is causing your acne and the best ways to treat it. Dermatologists have many more resources for treating breakouts including prescription medications, chemical peels, micro-needling, and light and laser treatments. So if things become a little out of hand, leave it to the professionals.