It’s stubborn and persistent and there’s no guarantee you’ll leave it behind with your teen years. And yes, acne can get worse in the summer. Often related to hormone activity such as that during adolescence and later, for menopausal women, acne can flare up when pores on your skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, creating a haven for bacteria. The combination creates the familiar red, inflamed skin patterns that may be dotted with blackheads and whiteheads.
It doesn’t matter if you’re still a teen or you’re coping with adult acne, the summer months can push acne production into overdrive. The good news is that you know how conditions will change, even if you’re not sure why you’re one of the unlucky affected by outbreaks.
We’ve prepared some tips on how to manage your acne all summer long, but when your home care routine isn’t enough, visit Jennifer A. Baron, MD in San Jose, California, for the help only a professional dermatologist provides. Dr. Baron reviews your skin care regimen and helps you to create a program that works to keep your skin clear, through the summer and beyond, including selections from Dr. Baron’s own skin care product line.
The acne formula
It’s not fully understood why some people have a problem with acne while others avoid it, but the recipe for acne outbreaks is clear.
Your skin constantly regenerates skin cells on the surface, shedding older cells to make room. That happens to everyone. We all have sebaceous glands, too, tasked with producing an oily substance that covers and protects skin over the entire body.
Problems start when sebaceous glands overproduce oily sebum to the point where it starts to form a sticky paste with those old skin cells that would otherwise fall away from your body. The paste then collects below the surface in skin pores and there it provides a food source for certain bacteria, leading to tiny, localized pockets of inflammation. That’s when you start to see red spots and pimples, along with blackheads and whiteheads.
Worse in the summer
Warmer temperatures and summer activities add some new wrinkles to the acne battle. First of all, your body cools down by releasing sweat meant to evaporate. Sweat, though, can wash away sebum, and your body may respond to perspiration by increasing sebum production.
You’re also diligently using sunscreens and moisturizers to protect your skin. Some of these products add to the greasy buildup on your skin, clogging more pores and setting off the acne cycle faster than in the winter months.
Managing summer acne
Try these tips to reduce and prevent summer acne outbreaks:
- Wash your skin gently to encourage epidermal turnover
- Shower as needed after sweating, but avoid hot water
- Foaming cleansers work better in the summer for some skin types
- Cleansers with salicylic acid are the choice for blackheads; use benzoyl peroxide for inflamed pimples
- Don’t overwash, which can dry out your skin
- Use oil-free sunscreens and other products that are non-comedogenic (won’t contribute to acne)
- Switch to lighter moisturizers in the summer
- Stay well-hydrated
It can take time for these steps to work, but if you see no improvement or if things are getting worse, make an appointment with Dr. Baron. We can add prescription medications to your routine, or advanced treatments with BroadBand Light (BBL)™ therapy. You can contact our office by phone at 408-418-8780 to schedule your consultation now.