During the summer months many experience what is commonly known as “Summer Body Acne”. This is when the excessive heat, humidity and sweating clogs our pores with oil, feeding acne causing bacteria and leading to inflammation and breakouts. Most commonly these breakouts are noticeable on the back, chest and even buttocks.
If you tend to do okay during the colder months, but in summer tend to experience some Summer Body Acne, read on for tips and more information on how to manage and prevent it altogether
Why Does Heat and Sweat Make You Break Out More?
With higher temperatures during summer we naturally sweat more. While the sweat itself doesn’t create acne, it does contribute to the clogging of your pores on your face and rest of your body. This sweat, oil, and dirt, when left on the skin, clogs pores and feeds a nasty combination of acne causing bacteria that in return cause flare ups. Instead of focusing on not sweating (remember, it’s your body regulating its temperature and is actually a good thing), focus on optimizing your skin care routine to reduce the chance of breaking out
Try This Summer Body Care Routine
If you find yourself breaking out this summer with body acne, you might be asking how do you go about treating it? During the summer it’s important to change your skin care routine and adapt a regimen that helps to minimize excess oil production. It’s also important to remember to not over cleanse your skin by using numerous harsh scrubs containing strong ingredients. This over cleansing can lead to further irritation of your skin, which can make your body acne even worse.
Wash, Treat, Moisturize
Salicylic Acid – To avoid body acne and stay ahead of breakouts try a daily acne wash containing salicylic acid to help clean your pores. The salicylic acid will help exfoliate the skin and remove sebum from the pores and promote cellular turnover. Follow up your cleanser with a quality toner to help dry up any excess oil, and finish with an oil-free moisturizer.
AHAs & BHAs – Another option is using a high quality chemical exfoliant that contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) a couple of times a week. If you have specific acne areas, like on your back, which are prone to breakouts, you can treat them directly with a salicylic acid (a type of BHA) or benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide will remove any surface bacteria that can often lead to acne breakouts, while reducing inflammatory acne. These AHAs and BHAs will increase cellular turnover, and dissolve the trapped oil and sebum, and help heal any existing breakouts.
Moisturizer – After exfoliating your skin it’s important to use a high quality moisturizer to restore the hydration. Oftentimes the treatments you use and their ingredients have a tendency to dry out your skin. The goal should be to manage the inflammatory process that’s causing your acne and moisturizing is crucial step in the process. When your skin is too dry, it will often become inflamed and as a result prompt it to produce more oil, which in turn leads to more clogged pores and increased breakouts. So, while you might be tempted to be super aggressive with numerous acne-fighting products, don’t skip using a high quality moisturizer and remember to add a SPF at the end of your regimen too.
Hyaluronic Acid – If you feel your skin needs that extra boost of hydration try adding a Humectant like hyaluronic acid (HA). It offers hydration without the risk of clogging your pores when paired with clarifying products.
Steroid Treatments – If you have particularly aggressive form of body acne in specific areas that simply refuse to go away, seeing a dermatologist for steroid injections, like cortisol, could be beneficial. Talk to the experts at James Christian Cosmetics who will be able to tell you if that’s the best course of action.
Post Workout Shower
After your workouts you might be tempted to skip the shower in favour of lounging around with your gym buddies or grabbing that favourite after workout smoothie, however you should always remember to shower after any physical activity. This helps to prevent sweat, oil and bacteria from building up on your skin that could lead to body acne breakouts. The timing of your shower, products you use and order you apply them are also important. If you find yourself flushed and red after working out it could be due to your body overheating. Try rinsing your face and applying a cold moisturizer and cold sunscreen overtop of that to keep those acne prone areas from over heating, which will in turn prevent flushing and acne.
Choose Your Clothes Carefully
During the summer it’s important to consider the clothing you are wearing, especially if you are prone to body acne. Try to wear looser fitting clothing instead of tight clothes to avoid friction-induced acne (known as acne-mechanica). The type of fabric and weave will also impact the amount of sun and Ultra Violet Rays we are exposed to. So remember, just because you are wearing clothes, if the weave of the fabric is open and light, you’re actually not protecting your skin at all. Try wearing densely woven fabrics, like unbleached cotton, to help guard against UV damage. This type of clothing is still breathable, which in turn will help minimize sweating and prevent a buildup of acne-causing bacteria.
Up Your Water Intake
If you typically have oily skin, that does not necessarily mean that you have hydrated skin. In fact, if you are dehydrated it can lead to an increase in oil production and, in turn, more body acne breakouts. From an oily back to flaky elbows, the water intake, or lack thereof, shows up on the skin. While you should be staying hydrated year-round, the increased sweating in the summertime makes this particularly important.
Wash Your Hair
If you have longer hair that has a tendency to get in your face, the oil from it can contribute to breakouts on the forehead and upper back as it is constantly touching those areas. Always be consistent with washing your hair, especially after a workout or day in the sun, and avoid using leave-in products and conditioners if you are going to let your hair air dry. Often these products can contribute to body acne breakouts.
If you are planning on spending a lot of time outdoors this summer (heck yes) and are prone to body acne, using preventative measures like these consistently, rather than just treating breakouts when they appear, can help you achieve clear skin all over your body.
Want More Information?
We would love to sit down with you for a consultation, at which time we can recommend the best approach for your specific skincare needs.