If you live in a humid climate, you can probably share our confusion and overwhelming sentiments for the triple digit temperatures, heatwaves, tropical storm, and sweating-the-moment-I-get-out-of-the-shower vibes that we have been having in New York City this summer. Now don’t get us wrong, we are here for businesses and restaurants opening up again. We love the repopulated social calendars, but the heat has us in a frenzy — particularly our acne, both body and facial.
Acne, at no time is pleasant, but it’s been particularly poor timing as we reenter the world. We are breaking out like crazy, and not the occasional zit or blemish that comes after a sweaty workout sesh or the drying of moisture that we see in the winter months. But big breakouts, on our chest, backs, face and hairline. So what is it about hot weather and summer months that has acne upside down? Glad you asked.
Why sweat and heat produces acne
Unfortunately, excessive heat, humidity and sweating clogs pores and leads to inflammation and breakouts. Sweat, oil, and debris, if left on the skin — from say a day out in the sun or after working out — can clog pores and become food for the acne-producing bacteria, leading to flare ups. In the summer months, acne can be really bad on the chest, back, face and even buttocks.
So what is the solution? Although you can’t stop sweating from actually happening, you can fine tune your routine to reduce the chance of breaking out. The biggest tip: change directly after any physical activity. We are all guilty of running errands or laying around post gym but doing so could actually cause the very bacteria build up that forms acne. If you are on the go and don’t have time for a shower, make sure you at least wash your face of the sweat and oil and swipe a wipe across your back and chest. Remember, prevention is key.
How to avoid summer acne
If you happen to have acne in the summer, we recommend using a chemical exfoliate product high in AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) a couple times a week. If your acne is not out of control, you can also spot treat with a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to increase cell turnover and heal existing breakouts. And be sure to hydrate a lot. Many skincare products out there can dry out the skin and the heat doesn’t make it any better, so being current with your hydration routine would be the most ideal.
But again, prevention is best when it comes to acne, especially in the summer. Developing a good summer routine, packed with non-comedogenic (non-scented) moisturizing products and oil-free SPF will help prevent acne. A daily acne wash with salicylic acid will help clean your pores and prevent them from clogging. Also, don’t forget to wash your hair often as the oil from hair can drip down into the face and body and cause breakouts as well.
If you’re dealing with acne scars, follow these tips.