Wear natural fibers.
The surging temperatures, a more active outdoor lifestyle, and occlusive clothing can result in lingering sweat, dirt, and friction that accumulates all over your body. As a result, there are overwhelmingly higher cases of body acne during the summer months compared to any other season. For those with overly enthusiastic sweat glands, shameful amounts of salt water exiting the pores are the bane of summer’s existence. Luckily, superfluous perspiration can be outplayed if we curate our summer wardrobes accordingly. According to Debra Jaliman, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Some ways to prevent acne in the summer are to wear natural fibers like cotton to avoid breakouts caused by sweating in areas like your chest or back.” A high quality, lightweight cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics, allowing airflow for drying out the dampness. Because cotton is a natural fiber, it will absorb moisture rather than repelling it. Avoid clothing with a polyester base fabric; although the man-made fabric is popular due to its durability, this durability also equals water resistance, which means zero absorption of perspiration. If the sweat has nowhere to go, the smelly secretion will stay on your skin and seep into your pores.
Most of us tend to reflect upon summer in a fond light: lazy beach days, a bounty of festivals, and endless sunshine. But with higher temperatures also comes Mother Nature’s side effect—an overwhelming aggrandization of acne.
Whoever started the supposedly comforting advice that you’ll grow out of acne after those awkward teenage years is pretty misinformed. Adult acne is a very common issue, and although there is a profusion of reasons why acne may appear, the season is oftentimes the biggest miscreant. (Here are seven other sneaky reasons you’re having an acne breakout).
There are a variety of reasons why acne does tend to worsen in the summer. According to a recent survey from Differin, 56 percent of women ages 25-34 admit to wearing makeup to the beach or pool in the summer to cover up their acne. But you shouldn’t have to shy away from the water because of your skin, which means it’s important to understand why we get acne in the first place.
According to Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified NYC dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, “The pore gets clogged with dead skin cells, and those with acne have “stickier” skin cells which promotes clogging. The body makes oil on the skin called sebum. Interestingly, those who are acne-prone have more viscous sebum compared to non-acne folks (think honey consistency compared to olive oil), which promotes further occlusion to the pore.”
Thanks to the glorious heat, sweat, and humidity that our body produces excessively during those hotter months, the skin cells become especially stickier; that awful conglomeration of dead skin cells and sebum becomes trapped inside the pore, creating an oxygen-free environment where a naturally occurring bacteria, called P. Acnes, multiplies rapidly and results in inflammation.
Although we can’t teach you how to control the weather, there are ways to regulate summer acne and thwart its pesky persistence. We spoke with several dermatologists throughout the country to compile the best methods to keep those summertime pimples at bay—read on for their hottest tips and tricks.