Those gloriously long, sunny summer days have one nasty drawback: the breakouts that sweat and sweltering temps provoke. And as if facial acne isn’t bad enough when the last thing you want to do is cake on makeup, body bumps on the chest, back and bum often emerge just in time for swimsuit season.“Now that it’s summer, it’s time to put heavier products away and re-strategize your skincare,” says Doris Day, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Pimples take a few weeks to form under skin, so you want to start your clear skin habits now to enjoy clear skin all summer,” she adds.
Don’t wait until you break out
“You’ll chase zits all summer if you only treat after acne surfaces,” says Dr. Day. A healthy skin routine should include daily cleansing and exfoliation with a gentle manual scrub or product with an active ingredient like salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide. The same goes for body areas, which can tolerate higher concentrations. “Don’t stop products altogether when you’re clear. You can scale back a bit but still continue in order to maintain your results,” adds Day.
Mind your hair products
During the summer, we all sweat from our scalp more, and that drip transfers hair products to your skin. “I see a lot of acne around the face in patients when it’s hot, and this is a common cause of forehead breakouts,” says Day. Switch to more natural hair care, or skip styling products altogether if you’ll be sweating heavily. And applying acne treatments more generously to the edge of the face can also help, says Day.
Skip spandex, stick to cotton
Between biking, hiking, working out and running, we all tend to be more active during the warm weather months. Trendy synthetic fabrics like spandex that don’t allow skin to breathe can breed acne-causing bacteria on your body. “Stick to cotton and other natural fibers that absorb and aerate sweat to prevent your body from breaking out,” advises Day. Cotton is also your best bet for summer pajamas, as overnight sleep sweat can also cause body breakouts.
Wear less makeup
Thick foundation and sweat are a pimple-causing duo. Celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye recommends using a mattifying primer to help blur imperfections and combat shine followed by a light mineral powder or BB/CC cream for weightless coverage. If you need to mask a zit, spot treat instead of wearing a whole layer of full coverage all over. “Apply a powdered puff in a rocking motion on top of the bump and then tap concealer directly on top so that it has something to hold on to,” explains Kaye. Then set with a final rock of the puff.