Five Top Summer Acne Tips for Clear Skin

Jeff Hautala
By Jeff Hautala, Co-Founder of Exposed Skincare

Whether your summers are hot and dry or hot and humid 🌡️, summer acne is a strong possibility for anyone with acne skin. But just because it’s a common problem, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Just like regular acne, summer 👙 breakouts can be prevented, or at least reduced, with some prevention. Learn how to avoid acne in the summer with these easy tips.

Summer heat brings summer fun, but it also brings its own host of skin care problems.

Why Do I Get More Acne in the Summer?

To prevent summertime acne, it helps to understand where exactly it comes from. No matter what the season, acne is caused by inflammation 🔥, bacteria, and oil production, and in the summer, these factors can go into overdrive, causing an increase in acne.

Normally, acne begins with inflammation. In the summer ☀️, inflammation increases largely due to sunburn , which causes damage that the skin then tries to protect itself from through mild inflammation. This causes the pores to constrict, trapping oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria below the surface.

Also, there always needs to be a small amount of oiliness on the epidermal layer to help protect against irritation and microscopic invaders, but high summer temperatures melt this oil. It then pools in and clogs the pores, leading to more acne and more acne-causing bacteria, called P. acnes 🦠.

Tip #1—Choose the Right Sun Protection.

Sunscreen is the best and worst thing for acne, depending on what kind you use. Many people with acne avoid using sunscreen for fear that it would clog their pores, but sunscreen is just as important for acne-prone skin as it’s for clear skin, if not more so. Many acne treatment products actually make your body more susceptible to sunburn.

Choose Right for Your Skin Tone.

If you have dark-toned skin, avoid sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, as it may cause semi-permanent white spots.

No Extra Oiliness on Your Face Is Good.

Choosing a non-oily product should be obvious, as the last thing your skin needs is oily sunscreen that clogs your pores. Instead, look for water-based products that will keep your skin hydrated 💧 and protected without clogging it.

Apply Regularly.

Apply sunscreen every day, especially on your face. Do this even if you don’t think you’ll be outside for long or if it’s overcast. Sunburn causes irritation and inflammation 🔥, which in turn cause acne, and it’s best to avoid that if at all possible.

Tip #2—Wear Sheer, Oil-Free Makeup.

Makeup itself does not cause breakouts, not in any season. However, in heat 🌡️and humidity, adding layers of foundation, primer, blush, etc., could potentially clog pores.

If you choose to wear makeup in the summer, make sure it doesn’t contain oily ingredients, and won’t contribute to any clogged pores

The best way to prevent your makeup from causing an increase in acne is to use oil-free products. Instead, use water-based products or products with acne-fighting ingredients 💪.

Tip #3—Avoid Acne Caused by Chafing Clothes.

Wearing chafing clothes can cause a particular type of acne called “acne mechanica.”

Acne mechanica, also called “sports acne,” 🚴appears when something causes irritation and inflammation by rubbing against the skin. Body acne mechanica is also very common in the summer. Sweat gets into our clothing and then, together with the chafing and rubbing, we have all kinds of acne-causing friction. But how are you supposed to avoid this?

Well, you actually don’t want to avoid sweating in the summer, since it’s your body’s main way to avoid overheating, but you do want to try to prevent that sweat from causing acne.

The best way to do this is to change out of sweaty clothes as soon as you can, allowing your skin to dry slightly before getting dressed again. Also, rinse or wash your face with cool water 💧 to remove sweat and excessive oiliness. Alternatively, make sure to wear clothing that doesn’t chafe or fit very tightly.

Choose loose-fitting sports gear to avoid acne mechanica.

Tip #4—Find the Right Exfoliator for Your Skin Type

In this season, our skin can collect all kinds of pore-clogging buildup, making it essential to find a good exfoliator for your skin type.

Tea Tree Oil for Oily Skin

Tea tree oil dissolves excess oiliness clogging pores, and kills P. acnes 🦠. Always be sure to dilute it with a non-clogging carrier, such as jojoba oil.

Salicylic Acid for Dry Skin

Dry skin rarely experiences excess oiliness, no matter what the season or weather. However, dead skin cells still flake off after sunburn and clog the pores. The best exfoliator, then, would be a low concentration of salicylic acid, somewhere between 0.5% and 1%. An amount within this recommended range will gently remove clogs without stripping the skin of its protective oily layer.

Different Products for Combination Skin

The best way to exfoliate combination skin is to have a few different products on deck, and use whichever ones are most fitting for different areas of the face. If your forehead and nose are almost always very oily while your cheeks are often dry, you could exfoliate using tea tree oil on your forehead and nose 👃, and use salicylic acid on your cheeks.

Sulfur for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin can be oily, dry, or combination, but its defining feature is how easily it reacts to harsh ingredients. Sulfur is a great exfoliator for sensitive skin because it’s a gentle drying agent. Don’t wash or exfoliate your face too often, even though you might be tempted to in higher temperatures. Twice daily should be enough, unless you’re very active and sweaty.

Tip #5—Stick to a Good Routine.

For many people, summer ☀️ is a time when old routines go out the window. A change in routine can be good for the soul, but it can be a bad thing when it comes to acne care.

Always maintain your skin care routine, no matter what your sleep routine is like.

People tend to lump different routines together, so when we stop doing one, we typically stop doing several others. When the seasonal vacation approaches🏖️, it’s good to make a plan for how you’re going to stick to your acne treatment routine, even when your other routines are being disrupted.

Pair Your Routines.

One trick worth a shot is pairing your acne treatment routine with another routine you know you’ll do every night 🌙 and every morning, no matter what season it is. This could be taking medication, brushing your teeth, or even checking your phone. Just make a mental note, whenever you do one routine, it’s time to do your acne routine as well.

Reward Yourself for Sticking to a Routine.

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with any routine, then a reward system might be a good idea. Think of a small, but still enticing reward you can give yourself every time you stick to your acne care routine. Maybe you could keep the bathroom stocked with chocolates and give yourself small portions each time you successfully follow your morning and evening routines. This could help you to prevent breakouts due to erratic or insufficient skin care.

The Best Summer Acne Treatment

All of these summer acne tips are sound advice, but we have to add that if your pimples are particularly severe, it would be best to see a dermatologist 👩‍⚕️. Otherwise, make sure you’re using excellent quality products that treat your skin gently, irrespective of the season. The wrong products will make the pimples worse, so be sure to invest in a gentle cleanser with which to wash your face and body, (two different ones, if need be) .

Most of us with acne prone skin won’t be able to prevent breakouts entirely, so it’s important to know how to treat it. Acne in summertime is just regular acne that gets worse due to the increased temperature 🌡️ and harmful UV rays, so your normal treatment should be effective—unless it never worked all that well in the first place.

We recommend trying the gentle products 🏆 in our BasicExpanded, or Ultimate Kits. All of our products are made with the best scientific and natural ingredients to reduce acne on the face and body, without causing any irritation.

We utilize many of the ingredients listed in this article, also low-concentration benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria 🦠, witch hazel as a gentle exfoliator, and other soothing ingredients like aloe vera and green tea extract. High concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be too harsh, which can cause even more pimples. So, we keep the levels in our products safe and low.

Exposed acne products are gentle enough to work with your skin, but strong enough to get rid of stubborn acne.