Summer acne can be a real pain, but it may not be for the reasons you think. Acne is caused by bacteria, not by dirt. Unfortunately, the summer sun can make our skin create a breeding ground for acne bacteria. A little sun can help acne, but who only gets a little sun in the summertime? So what you can you do to control it? Here’s what you need to watch out for.
Ineffective OTC treatments
You must have the right treatment for your skin type and you have to use it for long enough for it to be effective. OTC treatments like Proactive may not work the way you expect if you’ve got excessively oily or dry skin. Unfortunately, most treatments require at least a month of constant usage before you can really see if it works for your skin or not. If you jump from product to product every few days, you’re not going to get anywhere!
Lack of moisture
While keeping your face clean of dirt is important, acne is more caused by oily skin. Acne bacteria love to live in the natural oils of the skin. So how do you keep your body from making excessive oil? Moisturise! You might think the greasy feeling of many moisturisers would work the same, but trust us, moisturised skin will stop a lot of acne from developing.
Summer weather gives us double trouble for a lack of moisture in our skin. The dry air caused by excessive AC can dry the skin, forcing oil production. Too much sweating outside can also wash away the oils of the skin and cause the body to create an excess to make up for it. So don’t be afraid of that moisturizer!
Not cleaning after sweating
Speaking of sweating, you can kill a lot of acne bacteria simply by taking a good shower or washing your face after you’ve been sweating outside. Your sweating will push a lot of acne bacteria to the surface, but if you let that sweat dry on your skin then it will migrate to the oil and back into your pores to cause pimples. Gently wash your face after you’ve come in from outside with a pH-balanced cleanser and don’t scrub too hard. You’re just trying to get the surface gunk off. It’ll come off easily. Incidentally, this is a good reason to avoid makeup when you’re outside and sweating.
Too much sun
Besides the sweating problem we’ve talked about, getting too much sun can cause acne. Have you ever gotten a sunburn and then had really bad acne in the same spot afterward? That’s what we’re talking about. A little sun can help clear up acne, but inflammation caused by too much sun exposure creates an open door for those nasty acne bacteria to get a foothold in your pores.
If you already have acne, limit your sun exposure to prevent darkening of your existing acne and inflaming your skin further. Even using high-spf sunscreen won’t help here. You’ll still have the sweating/drying/oil cycle we talked about earlier.
So, to summarise:
Regularly use moisturiser when you’re outside, preferably something that’s pH-balanced.
Make sure you’re using the right OTC treatment for your acne and that you use any treatment it for at least a month without mixing acne products
Clean off your sweat gently after staying outside, and avoid wearing makeup if you’re going to be outside in the summer sun.
If you already have acne, don’t stay out in the sun too long to avoid further irritation.
If you follow these tips, you can stop your acne from getting any worse and, with luck and consistent effort, clear up your current acne.