For Allure, by Renee Jacques.
Sure, we all love summer--the weather, the clothes, the beach vacation fantasies--but for people with acne, this season can be both a blessing and a curse. The heat and humidity can totally trip up skin and you may be seeing more breakouts than usual. To fight back, you might decide to change up your skin care routine; not a bad idea as long as you're making the right choices with your skin-care switch-ups. We spoke with top dermatologists on the three biggest acne-care mistakes people make during the summer.
1. Skipping moisturizer.
You're hot, sweaty, and the thought of putting on moisturizer makes you squirm. You think it's just going to clog up your skin more, but you're wrong. "While warmer weather and humidity may help with skin hydration, people with extremely dry or sensitive skin may still require extra moisturizers," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Traveling and your office's sub-zero temperatures can make the problem worse. "Air conditioning and increased air travel during the summer can still dry the skin, and if you skip moisturizer completely, the oil glands may get confused and paradoxically make even more oil, which will then exacerbate acne," says Annie Chiu, a dermatologist in Hermosa Beach. Zeicher recommends switching to a gel moisturizer during the summer. "They don't weigh the skin down or feel heavy, but can still provide outstanding hydration," he says. He likes Neutrogena Hydroboost Water-Gel Moisturizer.
2. Getting too much sun (even with SPF).
You feel fine about spending hours of every sunny day in the summer out by the pool because you have sunscreen on, right? Wrong. "While it feels great to be outdoors in the sun as much as possible in the summer, too much of a good thing can wreak havoc on your acne," says Rebecca Tung, a dermatologist in La Grange Park, Illinois. "After being in the sun, people can notice a temporary improvement in their acne, but the sun's rays can actually inflame existing acne and certainly darken the appearance of current pimples and acne scars, making them more noticeable." Tung also says that if you use over-the-counter acne treatments containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide, irritation could be magnified if you overdo your time in the sun.
3. Not taking a shower after you've sweated.
You go to the beach, you sweat in the heat, you go home, and you just let the sweat dry up on your skin. Sound familiar? Yep, we're guilty of this too. Karen Hammerman, a dermatologist in New York City, says by doing this, we're basically creating a breeding ground for acne. "Sweat can irritate acne, so you should shower after working out or after you've been sweating," she says. "Pick a body wash with salicylic acid if you're prone to blackheads or one with benzoyl peroxide if you get inflamed pimples. By thoroughly washing away sweat as soon as possible, you can help reduce the severity of breakouts."
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