Summer is a time for outdoor activities, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the warm weather. For many individuals, the season brings an unwelcome guest: ACNE! The combination of heat, humidity, and increased sweating can wreak havoc on our skin.
But fear not! With the right approach, a few simple tweaks to your skincare routine, and a visit to your favorite esthetician you can effectively treat summer acne and achieve clear, radiant skin all year long. Let’s go over some practical tips and strategies to help you combat those pesky summer breakouts.
- Cleanse with Care: Proper cleansing is the foundation of any skincare routine, especially during the summer months. Look for a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser that effectively removes excess oil, dirt, and sweat without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. Be sure to cleanse your face twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, to keep your pores clear and prevent acne-causing bacteria from thriving.
- Exfoliate Regularly: Exfoliation is crucial for sloughing off dead skin cells that can clog pores and contribute to acne formation. However, during the summer, it's essential to choose the right exfoliation method. Opting for gentle exfoliants like chemical exfoliators (such as AHAs or BHAs) in the summer is a good idea, rather than harsh physical scrubs, as they can irritate the skin. My favorite summer exfoliator is a dual cleanser & exfoliator, SkinMedica AHA / BHA Cleanser. It leaves my skin smooth, refreshed, and balanced. Regular exfoliation promotes cell turnover, unclogs pores, and helps fade acne scars, leaving your skin smooth and rejuvenated. We can help with summertime exfoliation and customize the best option for your skin type and daily habits. We also help with any necessary extractions in a safe manner, preventing unnecessary trauma to the skin.
- Hydration, Hydration, Hydration: Keeping your skin well-hydrated is vital, regardless of the season. While it may seem counterintuitive to moisturize when you're already sweating, a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, as they provide hydration without clogging pores. Proper hydration ensures your skin stays balanced, reducing the likelihood of excess oil production and subsequent breakouts. Using essential oils and other topical oils may sound like a great way to hydrate, but they can sensitize the skin and cause it to stop producing its own natural hydration, leading to accelerated aging of the skin. When in doubt, check with your esthetician to see what they recommend for your specific skin type. My favorite moisturizer lately is SkinMedica Rejuvenative Moisturizer, it hydrates my skin without feeling heavy or clogging my pores.
- Protection Matters: Protect your skin from the sun, it matters more than we may realize. Sun exposure can worsen acne and even cause hyperpigmentation, so don't skimp on that sunscreen. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher and make it a non-negotiable step in your daily skincare routine. Look for non-comedogenic or oil-free formulas to avoid clogging your pores. Two of my favorite sunscreens are SkinMedica’s Essential Defense Mineral Shield Tinted SPF and EltaMD UV Clear Facial SPF. Remember to reapply every two hours, especially if you're sweating or swimming. You cannot skip this step!
- Minimize Makeup: During the summer, it's good to let your skin breathe and minimize heavy makeup as much as possible. Thick foundations and creamy concealers can clog pores and trap sweat, exacerbating acne. Embracing a more natural look by using a lightweight, oil-free product, such as tinted moisturizers or mineral-based foundations. Give your skin occasional makeup-free days when you can, to allow skin to recover and breathe. Your skin will thank you!
- Hydrated from Within: Proper hydration isn't just about moisturizing your skin externally; it's also about staying hydrated internally. Which can be a challenge during the summer months here in Southern Texas, where I am. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush out toxins and keep your skin plump and healthy. Add a little lemon or your favorite citrus fruit to jazz up your water a bit and improve absorption. Avoid sugary beverages and excessive caffeine, as they can dehydrate your body and negatively impact your skin's condition. If you are on the go and need a hydration boost, I reach for Liquid I.V. because they have low sugar and sugar free options that balance your electrolytes without the all the extra sweetness.
- Summertime Nutrition: While your diet alone normally doesn't cause acne, certain foods can trigger or worsen breakouts in some individuals. During the summer, limit your consumption of sugary, greasy, processed foods, or fast foods as they can contribute to inflammation and skin issues. Instead, focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and healthy fats. Having a breakout? Try eating a green apple a day, yes it sounds strange but try it and let me know how it works out.
Seeing an esthetician for acne treatments is beneficial for several reasons. Why? We are licensed professionals, we studied skincare in depth and know how to treat skin and get the results you are looking for. We have the expertise in dealing with the many concerns you may have about your skin, especially acne. As licensed professionals we also offer medical grade skincare products that can affect below the skin and get you faster more effective results, versus over-the-counter products that only treat the surface of the skin.
Severe or persistent acne may require a collaborative approach between an esthetician and a dermatologist. After evaluation of your skin, if your acne is beyond our scope, we will refer you to a dermatologist, who specializes in skin health, conditions, and potential medical interventions and solutions.
Amy Alvarado, LME
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Edited by Linda Foresyth, LME @Lalifore