Summer skin care for acne prone skin
Beaming sun, sandy beaches, a beautiful tan and the acne on my back. Sound familiar? That’s right, acne is a lot more common than you think.
So many women can suffer from summer acne flare-ups on their face, upper back, breasts and even the buttocks. Many factors come into play such as excessive sweating, extreme exposure to sunlight and even sunscreen.
But first – what exactly is acne? What causes it?
The oil-producing glands on our skin also known as the sebaceous glands become oversensitive to a hormone naturally produced by our body called testosterone. Testosterone is found in both males and females and circulates our body through our blood vessels. This sensitivity causes the glands to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly and this ends up clogging the skin pores which then become breeding grounds for the P.Acnes bacteria. The acne bacterium known as Propionibacterium acnes (P.Acnes) healthily lives on everyone’s skin, usually causing no problems, but in those prone to acne, the buildup of oil creates an ideal environment in which these bacteria can multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red or pus-filled spots.
Why do summer acne breakouts occur?
Women are usually more inclined to use sunscreen, however, slathering on tons of oily sunscreen can lead to clogged up pores. This paired with the excessive sweat production due to the heat can create a perfect environment for P.Acnes to thrive leading to comedones. Direct sun exposure further aggravates the problem as the harsh UV rays of the sun irritate and inflame the skin further. Sun exposure causes two opposite effects on acne-prone skin. Initially, the sun dries out the skin. This drying effect and tanning give the impression of an improved complexion and reduced acne. Unfortunately, this honeymoon period will only last a few weeks at the most, because the sun also causes thickening of the outer surface of the skin. This causes pores to be clogged once more, leading to an accumulation of sebum and the appearance of pimples a few weeks later!
Let’s come to the most important part of the blog – how can we prevent summer acne breakouts?
Step 1: HYDRATE
Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate. I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking water and keeping your body hydrated. It has wonderful effects on our skin. Dehydrated skin increases the production of sebum, which makes acne worse – so get drinking... Water that is!
Step 2: COOL SHOWER
A cool shower can help decrease breakouts by not only cooling your skin down but also by physically washing away the excessive sweat. Hot showers after sun exposure can further dry your skin so make sure you turn down the temperature.
Step 3: CLEANSE
Cleanse your skin twice a day (morning and night) using lukewarm water and a cleanser that is gentle, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. Avoid using regular soap, which can dry out your skin promoting acne. Regular cleansing helps eliminate any excessive sebum on the skin’s surface. It is important to avoid rubbing your skin when cleansing it. Lather the cleanser onto your face, rinse adequately, so as not to leave any residue on your skin, and gently tap it dry with a towel. Limit the use of skin care products such as masks and scrubs to once or twice a week as excessive use of these products can lead to skin irritation and will contribute to ongoing acne. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer for oily skin. Dehydrated skin increases the production of sebum, which makes acne worse.
When your skin is prone to acne, the best care you can offer it is gentle care.
Step 4: SUN PROTECTION
Hats are not only great accessories but they also protect our face from direct sun exposure. It is a good idea to invest in a hat that can protect your face from the direct UV exposure.
Sunscreens are a must for everybody but especially if you are prone to acne. It is such an essential part of your daily skin care routine. You need to protect your skin from UV damage, which can make the situation worse and lead to even more serious skin conditions (please read our previous blog for more information). You must opt for at least SPF 30 with a lighter formula. Finding the right sunscreen can be a bit of trial and error, however, looking out for the following can help filter a few.
- It must have a light formula – not too oily
- It must be at least SPF 30
- Try to choose the alcohol-free sunscreens
- Sunscreens aim at sensitive skin are usually less harsh on the skin
STEP 5: MAKE UP
Avoiding make up is usually the best option but use only light make up if you absolutely need to. Always go for products that are non-comedogenic, oil and alcohol free.
STEP 6: CLOTHES
Always wear light cotton clothes made from breathable fabric. The clothes you wear must allow your skin to breathe and absorb any excess sweating.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT PICK THEM! Pimples and blackheads shouldn’t be picked at, scratched or pierced. Popping a pimple leads to inflammation and the spread of germs on neighboring skin. Moreover, picking at pimples increases the risk of scarring.