Why Your Acne Is Getting So Much Worse in the Summer

Think the summer sun is great for your skin? Guess again. Once the summer heat is in full effect, you may notice a few changes in your skin that aren’t always for the better.

See, with warm weather comes, usually, breakouts. As Willowbrook, IL, dermatologist Jessie Cheung, MD, explains, acne can flare with hot, muggy weather. “We sweat to cool off, but irritants like dirt, dust and oil stick to the sweat and can cause clogged pores.” Because the bacteria that causes acne loves a super oily environment, like sweaty skin, the oil on skin coupled with bacteria create the perfect recipe for a pimple.

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The rise in temperatures causes more than normal amounts of oil to be made by the skin. When that oil gets lodged in the pore and is coupled with dirt, sunscreen and bacteria, you have the perfect breeding ground for a pimple.

As if the heat alone wasn’t enough to cause breakouts over the summer, if you’re loading up on sugar-laden drinks and foods, like margaritas and beer, you could be instigating pimples and not even realize it. “Sugary, high-glycemic foods are pro-inflammatory, which will lead to oil production,” says Dr. Cheung.

But not everyone breaks out over the summer. “We tend to see it more with high school and college athletes who flare up in the summer. They’re outside sweating off their sunblock and they get hit with the double whammy of clogged pores from sweat, oil and UV-induced skin inflammation, which all cause acne,” explains Dr. Cheung. But, if your skin is naturally oily and you battle an oily complexion year-round, chances are your skin will flare up over the summer.

So, how can you keep your complexion clear this summer? Easy. Switch up your skin care routine by swapping heavy products for light, breathable ones. “Incorporate an oil-free moisturizer, light exfoliation and topical antioxidants into what you use on your skin every day. A good physical sunblock and makeup that contains zinc are also helpful for acneic skin,” says Dr. Cheung.