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Why Does My Acne Get Worse in the Summer?

July 1, 2024 by VitalSkin Dermatology

The first plane of the face of a teenager with acne

During the summer season, many individuals find themselves grappling with an unexpected and unwelcome guest – exacerbated acne breakouts. While acne can be a persistent concern throughout the year, the warm weather often brings about a surge in blemishes, leaving many wondering why their skin seems to rebel during this particular time. Understanding the underlying causes of summer acne equips you with ways to combat this frustrating condition.

Why Is Acne Worse in the Summer?

While some individuals may experience relief from acne during summer compared to winter, others flare. There are many reasons behind acne breakouts in the summer, with some of the most common including:

Excessive Sweating

One of the primary culprits behind summer acne is excessive sweating. As temperatures soar, our bodies naturally produce more sweat to regulate our internal temperature. However, this increased perspiration can wreak havoc on our skin, leading to clogged pores and blemishes.

When we sweat, the combination of dead skin cells, excess oil, and sweat creates a perfect breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. These bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment within our pores, leading to the development of inflammatory acne lesions, such as painful pimples and cystic acne.

Sunscreen and Moisturizers

While sunscreen and moisturizers are essential for protecting our skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and maintaining proper hydration, certain formulations can contribute to acne breakouts during the summer months.

Many sunscreens and moisturizers contain ingredients that can clog pores, trapping dirt, oil, and bacteria beneath the skin’s surface. This can lead to the formation of whiteheads, blackheads, and other types of acne lesions. To reduce breakouts, choosing sunscreens and moisturizers without heavy oils, butter, and fragrances is crucial.

Hormones and Genetics

While environmental factors play a significant role in summer acne, hormones and genetics can also exacerbate the condition. Individuals with hormonal imbalances or a genetic predisposition to acne may experience more severe breakouts during the summer months.

Hormonal fluctuations can stimulate the overproduction of sebum (oil) in the skin, leading to clogged pores. Furthermore, genetics can influence the sensitivity of our skin to summer environmental factors like increased sun exposure and ocean/pool water, making some individuals more prone to acne breakouts in the summer.

Treating Summer Acne

Combating summer acne requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both the underlying causes and the visible symptoms. By implementing the following strategies, you can effectively manage and prevent acne breakouts during the warmer months.

Cleansing Routine Adjustments

Adapting your cleansing routine to the summer season is crucial for maintaining clear, healthy skin. Opt for gentle, foaming cleansers that effectively remove excess oil, sweat, and impurities without stripping your skin of its natural moisture barrier.

It’s essential to cleanse your face and body promptly after sweating, as allowing sweat to linger on the skin can lead to clogged pores and bacterial overgrowth. However, be cautious of over-cleansing, as this can disrupt the skin’s delicate balance and potentially worsen acne.

Toners and Serums

Toners can be valuable additions to a summer skincare routine, as they help regulate oil production and restore the skin’s optimal pH balance. However, it’s crucial to choose toners that contain soothing and hydrating ingredients, as overly drying formulations can irritate acne-prone skin and worsen breakouts.

If traditional toners prove too harsh, consider incorporating a hydrating serum infused with salicylic acid or other oil-regulating ingredients. These serums can effectively control excess sebum while providing much-needed hydration.

Spot Treatments

While implementing a comprehensive skincare routine is crucial, sometimes targeted spot treatments are necessary to address stubborn blemishes. Look for benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid products, as these ingredients effectively clear up existing acne blemishes and prevent new ones from forming.

When to Seek an Acne Dermatologist

While at-home acne treatments can effectively manage summer acne, it’s important to consult with a dermatologist if your acne breakouts during the summer are severe or worsen despite diligent care.

Dermatologists are experts in skin health and can provide personalized treatment plans, including prescription medications, chemical peels, and other specialized treatments tailored to your specific skin goals. They can also help identify any underlying medical conditions contributing to your acne.

Clear Summer Acne with VitalSkin

By understanding why acne worsens during the summer months and implementing a comprehensive skincare routine, you can take control of your skin’s health and appearance. Remember, consistency and patience are key when addressing acne, as it may take several weeks or months to see significant improvements.

Embrace a proactive approach to summer acne and reach out to VitalSkin. With the right strategies and guidance from our board-certified dermatologists, you can enjoy a summer free of acne breakouts, allowing you to embrace the warm weather and all its joys confidently. Book an appointment at one of our locations today.

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