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How to Avoid Back-to-School Breakouts

August 01, 2017

Summer is a relaxing time of year filled with long afternoons by the pool, beautiful sunshine, backyard BBQs and outdoor concerts. But it also brings heat, humidity, sweat, clogged pores and you guessed it... acne.

If you're experiencing more acne breakouts than usual during this time of year, you're not alone! Many people see an increase in breakouts over the hot, humid summer months.

Acne is caused by a combination of dead skin cells, oil and bacteria that gets trapped in your pores and causes inflammation. In the summer, this is compounded by heat, more sweat than usual and the addition of sunscreens, which can further irritate your skin, depending on the type and brand you use.

Your diet during summer vacation can also affect your complexion. Increased consumption of sugary soft drinks, as well as fried and processed foods, can add to summer breakouts.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to combat acne during the summer months and get your skin back-to-school ready.

Use better sunscreen. 

In addition to the sweat and oil that summer heat brings to your pores, many people increase the amount and SPF of their daily sunscreen regimen. Wearing sunscreen every day (SPF30 or higher) is critical during the intense summer months, but to keep acne at bay, choose an oil-free, water-resistant sunscreen that protects your skin from harmful UV rays without irritating your pores.

Mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide are an excellent choice. Many oil-free varieties and brands offer broad-spectrum protection from the sun while remaining lightweight and easy to spread.

Wash off the sweat and chlorine. 

When you get out of the pool or ocean, don’t lounge around all day without washing your skin. It’s important to shower often to remove the chemicals, dirt, sweat, oil and sunscreen that accumulate on your face and body during summer activities.

In between showers, non-drying towelettes and facial wipes are an excellent way to freshen up your face on the go and periodically remove sweat, dirt and grease. They also help you stay cool in the summer heat!

Don't stop using your moisturizers. 

Just because it’s hot and humid outside doesn’t mean you don’t need a daily facial moisturizer. Making the transition from the outside heat to dehumidified, air-conditioned air inside can be especially drying to your skin.

Skin is naturally more oily during the summer, but a lightweight moisturizer should still be an important part of your daily routine. Oil-free moisturizers won’t add oil to your skin or make you look “greasy.” Paraben-free and fragrance-free moisturizers (and sunscreens) are the best choice.

If you’re using anti-oil or anti-acne products during the summer, applying a moisturizer — or even a moisturizing toner — every day can help bring balance and hydration back to your skin.

Wash your face!

Washing your face twice a day is imperative to maintaining good skin health. Routine washing removes the extra oil and dead skin cells that can cause inflammation.

Wash your face with warm water and a gentle cleanser. An exfoliating cleanser every few days can be a great way to get rid of toxins and impurities, but be careful not to scrub too hard because that can irritate your skin.

Maintain acne treatments. 

After cleansing your face each night, apply an acne treatment with salicylic acid to treat any pimples you have now and prevent future breakouts.

A mild chemical peel used once or twice a month to clear-up dead skin, slow oil production and clean out pores can also help slough off dead skin and heal existing acne lesions. Talk to your doctor to find an acne treatment that works best for you and your skin type.

Many products make skin more sensitive to sunlight, so apply treatments at night, especially during the summer.

If you have any questions about teenage breakouts, schedule a consultation with a U.S. Dermatology Partners dermatologist. Our professionals will be happy to help you get your skin clear and back-to-school ready. 

Topics: acne, acne treatment

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