Use oil-free sunscreen.
In the summer months, people tend to cake on SPF, and rightfully so. However, the slabs of opaque lotion that we smear all over our face is often overly oily, meaning your skin can suffocate from dead skin cells and clogged pores. That doesn’t mean you have to walk around looking like a tomato all summer long; if you want to bypass the acne and sunburn simultaneously, opt for sunscreens without the oil. “I’d recommend always using mineral-based sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, for the best protection against the sun. Luckily, there are many new mineral formulas that are super light and also oil-free, so they will still provide broad-spectrum protection without causing acne,” said Dr. Christina L. Chung, director of the Drexel Dermatology Center for Transplant Patients. “Washing your face after sweating can help take off the layer of grease that clogs pores, but acne can also be triggered by mechanical trauma, so avoid washing your face too often or scrubbing too hard.” (Here are 13 face-washing mistakes you don’t realize you’re making).
Watch out for classic “summertime” foods.
We’re all guilty of this one; people often tend to increase the intake of sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, and snack foods during the summer months. A big (and not commonly known) reason people break out in the summer is actually because of their diet. These sugary or high-glycemic foods cause a spike in insulin levels, which in turn increase sebum production and further clogging of pores. According to Susan Ciminelli, celebrity facialist and specialist in holistic health and beauty, “It’s very common for people to start eating barbecue foods, fried foods, and corned foods. This type of diet can bog down your colon. When your colon is congested your skin will break out. People also drink sugary sodas and alcohol as well as eating ice cream and fruits. While fruits are healthy, there are some fruits that are naturally high in sugar like stone fruits, cherries, and peaches. An alternative to stone fruits would be berries because they don’t spike your blood sugar levels. Taking berries, freezing them, and then pureeing them will turn it into the consistency of ice cream and can be a healthier alternative.” Here are nine foods you should never, ever eat at a barbecue.
Gently experiment with acne-reducing chemicals.
Most of us are familiar with the classic salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide treatments scattered throughout the drugstore aisles, but don’t start tossing all of them into your cart right away. Some skin types are not compatible with these chemicals as it can incur further irritation and dry patches. The worst thing you can do is apply all of these at once. Instead, try experimenting with small dab of these over time to determine which solution works best for you. According to Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified NYC dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, “I recommend changing over to a light-based foaming cleanser with or without salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids depending on your skin type. Benzoyl peroxide cleansers can also be helpful by minimizing bacterial overgrowth as well as acting as an antibacterial agent. In the office, I often start a series of gentle superficial salicylic acid or other chemical peels once to twice a month to clear up dull dead skins while also drawing out excess oil, clearing out pores, and slowing down oil production.” Here are the acne treatments dermatologists use on themselves when they have a flare up.