There really is never a good time to deal with breakouts, but it is especially frustrating when you have a vacation or wedding on the horizon. At this time of year with warm (and in some places, humid) temperatures, I find myself googling “how to prevent summer breakouts” so I can stop them in their tracks.
Kissed by the Sun. Bright. Natural. When we think of summer skin, these are the descriptors of the holy grail. But I bet I’m not the only one whose skin prognosis leans more towards “dryness with the possibility of breakouts”, thanks to the chlorine, UV rays, sweat and humidity that our skin is exposed to during these summer months. .
In an effort to figure out how to prevent summer breakouts (hopefully prior to breed their pimples), I hit my skin guru and dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce to Westlake Dermatology here in Austin. It came out with the most practical and useful guide ever to prevent and eliminate acne in adults.
Scroll on for your research-backed advice, and I’d love to hear in the comments what has worked for you when it comes to keeping skin clean during these hot summer days.
image: kristen kilpatrick
Why do summer breakouts occur?
Heat, sweat, and friction can lead to increased breakouts during hot months. Combine those factors with heavy makeup or occlusive skin care products and you have a recipe for new acne. Also, summer is a popular time to travel, so we end up exposing our skin to new environments and often skip or forget our usual skincare routine.
What ingredients should I use on my skin in summer to prevent acne?
For prevention, try switching to lighter coverage makeup and / or a sunscreen powder. Avoid moisturizers or heavy oils. And while you may be able to get away with it in the winter, don’t skip cleaning your face twice a day. If you know you are prone to acne, try adding a cleaner containing a low percentage of salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid It comes from the bark of willows and helps keep the skin clean.
Give us your best preventive Tomorrow skincare routine:
- Wash your face with mild cleanser (try one with a bit of mechanical exfoliation as a sugar scrub or use a Clarisonic brush if you are prone to acne).
- Apply a topical antioxidant that contains vitamin C, such as Skinceuticals Floretina or Revision Vitamin C 30% Lotion (Skip the ones that contain vitamin E for now, as they can be occlusive and lead to more breakouts.)
- Apply a light sunscreen designed for acne prone skin (such as Elta clear, which contains the B vitamin, niacinamide) followed by makeup, or apply your makeup first and then finish with a powdered sunscreen such as Colorscience Sunforgettable or Invincible Fixing Powder Supergoop.
And your best preventive night skincare routine:
If you’ve spent the day outside having fun in the sun, first remove your makeup / sunscreen / dirt / etc. with a soft cleansing wipe.
- Wash your face with mild cleanser.
- Consider applying to astringent if it is very greasy during the summer (but be careful not to overdo it and dry out the skin).
- Apply a light moisturizer that does not clog pores, such as one with green tea or even Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer (containing salicylic acid).
How should I treat acne if make escape?
If it’s a minor breakout, you can first try consistently cleansing twice a day, simplifying your skincare regimen and avoiding heavy or greasy makeup or topical products. If that doesn’t work, head to the nearest pharmacy to pick up a wash containing salicylic acid (or benzoyl peroxide if it is good to avoid sun exposure).
If you spend your days outdoors, avoid products that treat acne, but they increase your risk of sunburn. These include benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and retinoids. Give your new regimen time to work, at least a month, and if that fails, see a board-certified dermatologist for help because your acne may have a hormonal component or you may need a prescription topical medication to control it.
photo by kathryn worsham
Any dietary recommendations to stimulate clear skin in summer?
Summer is the best time to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are packed with antioxidants that are great for skin health. It is also a good time to cut down on excessive consumption of sugary starches and red meat, which may be contributing to breakouts. When you’re in the mood for a crunchy snack, opt for nuts instead of chips or crackers. Walnuts contain a number of good fats and minerals that also help reduce inflammation and fight acne.
When should you see a dermatologist for breakouts?
See your dermatologist if your breakouts are not responding to simple over-the-counter treatments, or if they are affecting new areas of the body, painful, or scarring. In-office treatment options include a prescription regimen tailored to your specific skincare needs, a series of chemical peels, extractions, injections into cystic bumps, and potentially even light and laser treatments.
Thank you Dr. Geddes-Bruce! Follow her on Instagram for more great skincare tips and tricks.
This post was originally published on July 9, 2020 and has since been updated.