As if acne weren’t annoying enough, it seems to get worse right around the time we want to go out and show off. We’re talking about summer, and it can be disheartening. Imagine preparing for an awesome day on the beach, complete with plans to take selfies that will be Instagram worthy, only to wake up that morning with a serious acne outbreak. Sure, outbreaks happen, but why do they seem to worsen in the summertime? It’s time we found out.
Before we get into why summer exacerbates your acne, we first need to understand what acne is and how it works. To put it simply, acne is the result of a buildup of oil, dirt, and bacteria. This buildup rests on top of your skin and clogs your pores. Without being able to escape, these clogged pores eventually turn into pimples and cysts, and this is what we consider to be acne.
Now, how does summer play a part in it? Summer months can be excruciating, especially on the skin. Due to the heat and the unforgiving sun, we sweat more profusely during the summer. As we start to sweat, our skin becomes a magnet for all types of dirt and bacteria. When we are out in the summer sun, any and all impurities in the air and on our hands stick to our skin and become trapped by the sweat. Let’s not forget about sunscreen either, which absolutely must be worn every time you step outside. However, it can add to the other messiness that clogs the pores. This buildup of gunk isn’t the only factor that leads to summer acne.
By just being out in the sun, especially when you are unprotected (i.e., not wearing sunscreen), your skin cells undergo a molecular change. Sun damaged skin occurs when the sun’s harmful UV rays interact with cells and essentially cook them. When you are getting that summer tan, you’re actually being fried by radiation. Tanning isn't even the worst of it. Sun damage also includes wrinkles and of course the development of acne.
So you have sweat, environmental impurities like dirt and bacteria, the application of sunscreen, and the rapid cell turnover caused by UV radiation. All of these things are at work everytime you go out, especially during the summer. With this continuous change in your skin’s health, it’s no wonder acne is much more common during the summer.
Some of these factors are not avoidable, like wearing sunscreen or sweating. However, there are a few measures you can take to help prevent summer acne and better heal from what has already developed.