As summer approaches, many people look forward to pool parties, beach vacations, outdoor concerts, and cookouts with friends. Unfortunately, acne also enjoys crashing your summertime party! The season's heat and humidity make it easy for debris to get trapped beneath your pores, even on your neck and back. Combine those elements with the sun's powerful UV rays, and you've got plenty of pimple‑producing potential.
But you don't have to let acne outbreaks affect your summer plans. Adopt a solid summer skincare routine and confidently rock makeup-free selfies, sleeveless tops, and backless dresses all season long.
Summer‑Specific Skincare Essentials
You may have to switch up your skincare routine a bit if you want a clear complexion this summer. Don’t overdo your time in the sun, and take care of your entire body ‑‑ not just your face. Check out our summer‑specific tips below to learn how to protect and pamper your skin this season.
How Does Sun Affect Acne?
Fun in the sun often leads to acne outbreaks, even though your skin may temporarily appear clear. UV rays cause inflammation on and below the skin's surface, which destroys cellular DNA.
The result? Cosmetic concerns such as premature aging, sun spots, and sunburn. You're even at risk for skin cancer if you spend too much time trying to fake a fab complexion with a deep tan. This is true whether you’re soaking up natural UV rays or laying under the bright lights of a tanning bed.
Be extra careful if you use over‑the‑counter acne products or prescription medications. Some of them make skin more sensitive than usual to the sun. In these situations, sun exposure may cause irritation, red patches, or major breakouts. Wear a hat or visor to shield your face, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Lifestyle Choices Play a Role
Let's be real: most of us don't look our best if we party all night, skimp on water consumption, or sleep in our makeup. It's especially important to remember this during the summer as you dash from event to event. The choices you make impact the appearance of your skin, so take extra care of yourself if acne is a concern. Get plenty of sleep, wash pillows and bedding regularly, and keep a stash of makeup remover on hand.
Also, you may want to swap your heavy winter bedding for lightweight summer sheets. A heavy comforter or flannel sheets can leave you waking up hot and sweaty. That’s bad news for your skin because bacteria loves warm, damp spaces. Dead skin also gets trapped in bedding and on pillows, so washing them regularly is a must; especially in the summer.
Try Dry Brushing
Depending on where you live, spring might be more like a second winter. That means your skin is likely dry and flaky, not soft and smooth, as summer approaches. Luckily, we know a hassle‑free way to boost the condition and appearance of your skin: Dry brushing!
Dry brushing helps promote blood circulation and gently exfoliates skin so you can showcase skin‑revealing summer attire without embarrassment. You brush before your shower, not during it, so hot water doesn’t strip away moisture.
Here's how you do it:
- Choose a stiff‑bristled brush with a long handle
- Start with your feet and brush toward your upper body
- Use long, circular strokes; don’t brush in an up‑and‑down motion
- Go easy on sensitive spots like your chest and abdomen
- Avoid skin that is cut, scraped, or sunburned
- Don’t overdo it ‑‑ you only need a few strokes for each area of your body
Shower after you dry brush so dead skin cells disappear down the drain then moisturize your brushed skin. It’s generally okay to brush dry skin once a day unless your skin becomes sore or irritated.
Identify Acne Outbreak Triggers
Each season comes with its own barriers to blemish‑free beauty, but it’s also important to identify year‑round acne triggers. This can help curb acne long before summer arrives.
By now you probably know what acne looks like, but do you know why you get it? Let's start with the basics and then dive into some common triggers for acne outbreaks.
What is Acne?
Your skin has small glands called sebaceous glands. These glands distribute an oily substance called sebum that lubricates the skin and its hair follicles. Acne occurs when these follicles, commonly called pores, become clogged with excess oil and dead skin.
There are numerous types of acne lesions, including:
You may experience one, several, or all of these acne types. Sometimes acne may disappear on its own, but the right treatment can decrease the severity of your skin condition and help you avoid future breakouts. Sounds good, right?
But you may still have some unanswered questions about acne. For example, why do you have more pimples than your friend who lives off pizza and soda or your cousin who sleeps in her makeup? Why does the cleanser that works for your neighbor not work for you? And what can you blame for bacne?
Is Acne Genetic?
Fighting frequent breakouts no matter what you do? Your genes might play a role.
Environmental factors and your lifestyle also affect your skin, but some people are more prone to breakouts than others. Does that mean you're guaranteed to have Dad's giant cysts or Mom's constellation of blackheads? No, it just means your odds of experiencing an outbreak are higher than someone with family members who do not have acne.
Don't disown your DNA just yet, though. Making healthy lifestyle choices and treating your face with acne‑fighting products may help reduce the severity of your acne.
Can Stress Affect Acne?
Bummed over a breakup or sacrificing sleep for late‑night study sessions? Take a look at your complexion. Stress can cause acne or make existing breakouts worse.
In addition to increasing your skin’s oil production, stress can also make inflammation worse, which can make acne more noticeable or painful. Try to take some time to relax each day, even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes of 'you' time.
How to Develop A Face‑Cleansing Routine That Works
During the quest for clear skin many people get a bit too excited about their face‑cleansing routines. The truth is that you only need to wash once or twice a day unless you're engaging in some serious sweat sessions on the regular. In fact, washing your face too much may actually cause skin to produce more oil than it already has been!
Choose a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer designed for your skin type, and remember that what works for your friends might not work for you. An exfoliating scrub may create a radiant complexion for folks with dry, flaky skin but result in rashes — and more acne — for people with sensitive skin. A heavy moisturizer soothes parched pores but weighs down oily skin. Find an all‑purpose skincare set or mix and match custom products based on your unique skin.
Dab, Don't Rub
Be gentle with your face! It's tempting to scrub away yesterday's eye shadow or wipe your face completely dry with a towel, but be careful. Rubbing and scrubbing can irritate your skin, which can create red patches or even make blemishes bleed. It can also make a sunburn look and feel worse!
Dab on makeup and moisturizer, then pat it gently into your skin. When it's time to dry your face, blot it or pat it dry rather than rubbing it with a towel.
Don't Sleep in Your Makeup
We already mentioned this earlier, but it's worth repeating: Never sleep in your makeup. Seriously, don't do it — even if you're just taking a quick nap on the beach or your back porch. Your skin cells need to breathe so they can repair and rebuild themselves during your peaceful slumber. That can't happen if you're snoozing in foundation and concealer.
You may also want to avoid wearing too much makeup during the daytime. Consider swapping heavy foundation and creamy concealer for a tinted moisturizer and shimmery bronzer. Finish your look with a coat or two of waterproof mascara and some moisturizing lip balm, and you’re set for summer fun!
Choose Noncomedogenic Products
Many cosmetics and other beauty products make skin worse by clogging pores and irritating skin, especially when you're sitting under the sweat‑inducing sun. This is true even when it comes to products designed to conceal blemishes.
To help prevent this issue, look for products that say noncomedogenic or nonacneogenic on the label. This goes for sunscreen too, as some sunscreens leave behind a thick, greasy film on your skin. Look for a lightweight sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
And remember, noncomedogenic products don’t cure acne. They are just less likely to be a contributing factor to acne forming on your face and body.
Clean Sunburned Skin Carefully
Put your regular skincare routine on hold if you’ve got sunburned skin. Soap can irritate sunburned skin, and you definitely shouldn’t use a dry brush, loofah, or washcloth.
Here are some ways to care for your skin when your sunburn is at its worst (usually the first couple days):
- Avoid hot water — use cool or lukewarm water instead
- Take baths, not showers
- Gently splash or pour water on your face and body
- Avoid soap, body wash, and other cleansers
- Moisturize with a gentle lotion
- Apply aloe vera and other skin‑soothing products
- Skip toner and astringent
- Avoid makeup
As your sunburn fades and the pain subsides, you can start gently washing your face and wearing makeup again.
Banish Body Breakouts
You've got the perfect outfit for that concert on the beach or the pool party at your BFF's house, but there's just one problem: You've got acne everywhere!
Acne can strike nearly anywhere on your body, from your face to your back. Some people even get pimples on their arms and legs. Sometimes tight clothing and rough razors create these issues, but body blemishes often come from sweat that gets trapped beneath your clothing. Sandy beaches can also trigger breakouts on sensitive skin.
Staying home all summer probably isn't your first choice, so you've got to get your body breakouts under control!
Wash Your Body with Acne Products
A deep‑cleaning wash, acne‑fighting bar of soap, and body pads are a few options for people who battle body breakouts. Use these products at least once a day, more often if needed.
As with your facial skincare routine, you should be gentle when you care for your body. Don't scrub or rub body blemishes, and be careful not to use scalding hot water. This can dry out your skin and make it itchy or flaky — and it won't make your pimples disappear.
Wear Loose Clothes
You may have worked hard for your summer body, but tight‑fitting crop tops and form‑fitting sundresses aren't a friend to your skin. When possible, wear loose, breathable clothing so blemish‑causing bacteria doesn't breed on your body.
Look for light linens and comfy cotton clothes if you’ve got outdoor plans. When possible, avoid clothing made from these materials:
These fabrics trap heat and sweat against your skin, upping your odds of battling body blemishes.
Got an outdoor event planned on a hot day? Bring a mini fan so you can cool down. You may even want to pack a change of clothes so you can swap sweat‑stained gear for something clean.
Another option is to bring a towel and blot your body dry a few times an hour. Body wipes are another great way to stay clean and dry in the hot summer sun.
Find Skincare Solutions for Every Complexion
Summer is your time to shine, and not because your T‑zone is oily. Follow the tips above, plus get healthy, radiant skin with help from pore‑pampering Proactiv products. We've got cleansers, toners, and moisturizers for every skin type and concern, whether you've got a raging case of bacne or a few pimples scattered across your forehead.