Until about three weeks ago, the skincare gods spared me because I never had recurring acne. Sure, I sometimes wake up with a pimple or a rash, but luckily it’s usually past dinner time. I attribute my generally fair skin to my regular use of sunscreen and my daily intake of obscene water (120 ounces). But that all changed when I started taking Zumba and HIIT classes outdoors and saw the community pool as my perfect home place to work. The mixture of sweat, tight clothing, and forgetting to reapply sunscreen throughout the day left my back riddled with pesky pimples. And worse, I developed chest acne that spread to my bra line. The timing couldn’t have been worse as I couldn’t wait to wear summer clothes and hang out with the newly opened businesses.
It turns out that I’m not the only one who experiences more body acne during the summer. “Excessive heat, humidity and sweating all contribute to the acne cascade by clogging our pores, leading to inflammation and rashes,” explains Dr Fatima Fahs, certified dermatologist and founder of Dermy Doc Box. “It tends to be the worst on the back, chest and even buttocks. “
If, like me, you tend to do well in the colder months, but then wake up in the summer, read on for some dermatologist-approved tips and tricks on how to deal with it. summer acne and prevent it completely.
Why sweat and heat can make you break out more
Not shocking to anyone, we tend to sweat more in the summer. The sweat itself does not create acne, but rather contributes to the clogging of the pores. “Sweat, oil, and debris, when left on the skin, can clog pores and become ‘food’ for acne-causing bacteria to ignite,” says Dr Jenny Liu, FAAD. Instead of focusing on not sweating (remember, this is your body regulating its temperature and is in fact a good thing), focus on optimizing your routine to reduce the risk of a breakout.
As tempting as it may be to relax or go shopping after training, you should always shower after any physical activity to avoid the build-up of bacteria that could cause acne. According to Dr. Fahs, “the clothes you wear, the time you shower or the body products you apply to your skin,” all of which influence the acne that could result from it.
After training, you might also find yourself flushed and flushed. Dr Orit Markowitz, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of OptiSkin, recommends carrying a small, cold cooler bag to hold moisturizer and sunscreen. “Often the breakouts and redness of the skin after training is due to overheating,” shares Dr. Markowitz. “After training, you should rinse your face and apply cold moisturizer and even cold sunscreen over it to keep things less overheated on your face, which in turn will prevent redness and acne. “
How to treat summer body acne
So, if you find yourself with an increase in body acne this time of year, how exactly should you go about treating it? Dr Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, cosmetic dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD, recommends using a chemical exfoliator that contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) a few times a week. You can also treat topically with salicylic acid (a type of BHA) or benzoyl peroxide to increase cell turnover, dissolve trapped sebum, and heal existing rashes.
It is important to use a moisturizer after any type of exfoliating product in order to restore moisture to your skin. Dr. Markowitz notes that “often the ingredients you use to manage acne tend to dry out the skin” and that “the goal is to manage the inflammatory process that leads to your acne, so hydration is crucial”. If your skin is too dry, it will become inflamed and cause it to produce more sebum, which in turn can lead to more clogged pores and therefore an increase in rashes. So while it’s tempting to be very aggressive with many anti-acne products and ingredients, don’t skip the moisturizer and SPF at the end of your routine.
If you have a particularly aggressive pimple that refuses to go away, Dr Liu suggests seeing a dermatologist for injections of steroids, such as cortisol, to reduce the pimple (but your provider can tell you if this is the best line for. conduct).
A summer body care routine to minimize acne
Since acne (especially common acne) develops when the pores are clogged with sebum, it is important to adapt a summer routine that minimizes excess sebum and prioritizes skin renewal. Dr. Fahs encourages his patients to use a non-comedogenic, lightweight moisturizer and oil-free sunscreen. She also emphasizes the risks of over-exfoliation. “Don’t cleanse too much or feel the need to use harsh scrubs and strong ingredients. Excessive cleaning can lead to irritation, which can make rashes worse.
It is also important to consider the clothes you are wearing. While dermatologists recommend looser fit options instead of tight clothing to avoid friction-induced acne (called acne-mechanics), it’s also best to invest in ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) clothing if you spend a lot of time outdoors – sun exposure can exacerbate acne-induced hyperpigmentation and lead to spots more extensive browns on your skin.
“The clothes, depending on the weave, will have an impact on how much sun we are exposed to, and if the weave is open and light you are actually not protected at all,” Dr Markowitz told TZR . Translation: Even if you wear clothes, it will not protect you from the sun. But some densely woven fabrics, like unbleached cotton, not only protect against UV damage, but are also breathable, which will reduce sweating and prevent the build-up of acne-causing bacteria. It is a win-win solution to prevent body acne in the summer.
Also, don’t forget to wash your hair. “The oil from our hair tends to contribute to rashes on the forehead and upper back,” says Dr. Fahs. “Make sure you are consistent with washing your hair, especially if it is sweaty, and avoid using occlusive conditioners and leave-in products on the hair if you are letting your hair air dry while by touching the skin on your back, [these] the products can contribute to the aggravation of acne.
Ultimately, to stay ahead of body acne and breakouts, opt for a “daily acne cleanser that contains salicylic acid to help cleanse the pores,” says Dr. Frank. . “Follow with an oil-free moisturizer, and if the skin needs a boost of hydration, add a hyaluronic serum. »Washing with salicylic acid will help exfoliate the skin and remove dead and trapped cells from the pores. Dr. Fahs also suggests using a benzoyl peroxide wash in the shower, especially after training. “Benzoyl peroxide will kill surface bacteria on the skin that often lead to acne breakouts, while reducing inflammatory acne,” she says.
If you are planning on being outdoors this summer (hello yes) and are prone to body acne, routine use of preventative measures like these, rather than just treating the rashes when they occur. appear, can help you achieve clear skin all over your body.
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