How to Treat Your Skin During Summer

As summer approaches, many people look forward to pool parties, beach days, and outdoor hangouts with friends. Unfortunately, acne also enjoys crashing your summertime party... The season's heat and humidity make it easy for debris to get trapped beneath your pores. Combine those elements with the sun's powerful UV rays, and you've got plenty of pimple‑producing potential. But you don't have to let acne affect your summer plans — consider adopting a solid summertime skincare routine that will make you feel confident all season long.

What is acne?

Before getting into summer skincare tips for acne, let’s first examine what acne actually is. Your skin has small glands called sebaceous glands. These glands distribute sebum, your skin’s natural oil, across your body, which then lubricates your skin and hair follicles. Acne occurs when these follicles, also called pores, become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. There are numerous types of breakouts, including:

You may experience one, several, or all of these types of acne. Sometimes acne disappears on its own, but the right treatment can decrease the severity of your breakouts and help you avoid future ones.

Is acne genetic?

Are you fighting frequent breakouts no matter what you do? Your genes might play a role. Environmental factors and your lifestyle also affect your skin, but some people are more prone to breakouts than others. If your mom or dad suffered from acne, that means you may have higher odds of experiencing outbreaks. Don't disown your DNA just yet, though. Making healthy lifestyle choices and treating your face with acne‑fighting products may help reduce your acne’s severity.

Does the sun help acne?

Does tanning help acne? Does the sun make acne worse? Fun in the sun often irritates your breakouts, even though your skin may temporarily appear clear. That’s because UV rays cause inflammation on and below the skin's surface, which destroys cellular DNA. The result? Cosmetic concerns such as premature aging, sun spots, and sunburn (and sunburn with acne can be extremely uncomfortable).

The biggest risk if you spend too much time trying to fake a fab complexion with a deep tan? Skin cancer, and that’s the case whether you’re soaking up natural UV rays or lying under the bright lights of a tanning bed. While it’s true that the sun can boost your mood, you should still have your fun in the sun responsibly by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen and avoiding direct sunlight whenever possible.

Can stress affect acne?

Bummed over a breakup or sacrificing sleep for late‑night study sessions? Take a look at your complexion. Stress can cause acne or make existing breakouts worse.

In addition to increasing your skin’s oil production, stress can also make inflammation worse, making acne more noticeable or painful. Try to take some time to relax each day, even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes of 'you' time.

Summer Skincare Tips

You may have to switch up your skincare routine a bit if you want a clear complexion this summer. Don’t overdo your time in the sun, and take care of your entire body — not just your face. Check out our summer‑specific tips below to learn how to protect and pamper your skin this season.

Wear sunscreen

One of the most essential summer skincare tips is to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Apply it regularly, especially if you’re sweating or swimming. Be extra careful if you use over‑the‑counter acne products or prescription medications as some of them make the skin more sensitive to the sun than usual, which can cause irritation, red patches, or significant breakouts. So, along with applying sunscreen, stay in the shade when you can, and consider investing in a beach umbrella to deflect some of those harmful rays.

Choose noncomedogenic products

Many cosmetics and other beauty products make breakouts worse by clogging pores and irritating skin, especially when you're sitting under the sweat‑inducing sun. To keep skin healthy, look for products that say noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic on the label. This goes for sunscreen, too, as some sunscreens leave behind a thick, greasy film on your skin. Look for a lightweight sunscreen with a noncomedogenic label, just make sure it’s got an SPF of at least 30.

Develop an effective skincare routine

During the quest for clear skin, many people get a bit too excited about their face‑cleansing routines and wash their face too much. The truth is that you only need to wash twice a day, unless you're engaging in some serious sweat sessions. In fact, too much cleansing may actually cause your skin to produce more oil — the more you strip it of those natural oils, the more it will overproduce.

Choose a cleanser, toner, treatment, and moisturizer designed for your skin type, and remember that what works for your friends might not work for you. An exfoliating scrub may create a radiant complexion for folks with dry, flaky skin but result in rashes — and more acne — for people with sensitive skin. A heavy moisturizer soothes parched pores but weighs down oily skin.

Clean sunburned skin carefully

Put your regular skincare routine on hold if you’ve got sunburned skin. Soap can irritate sunburned skin, and you definitely shouldn’t use a dry brush, loofah, or washcloth.

Here are some ways to care for your skin when your sunburn is at its worst (usually the first couple of days):

  • Avoid hot water — use cool or lukewarm water instead
  • Take baths, not showers
  • Gently splash or pour water on your face and body
  • Avoid harsh soap, body wash, and cleansers
  • Moisturize with a gentle lotion
  • Apply aloe vera and other skin‑soothing products
  • Avoid makeup

As your sunburn fades and the pain subsides, you can start gently washing your face and wearing makeup again.

Don’t pick at dead skin

If you do get a sunburn, resist the temptation to pick at peeling skin, which can increase the risk of scarring because the skin doesn’t always peel evenly. It’s best to let nature take its course and let the dead skin exfoliate on its own.

Banish body breakouts

Acne can strike nearly anywhere on your body, from your face to your back. Some people even get pimples on their arms, legs or butts. Sometimes tight clothing and rough razors create these issues, but body blemishes often come from pores getting clogged and irritated because they’re trapped beneath your sweaty or tight clothing. Staying home all summer probably isn't your first choice, so you've got to get your body breakouts under control.

A deep‑cleaning wash and body pads with active, acne-fighting ingredients are good options for people who battle body breakouts. Use these products at least once a day, more often if needed. As with your facial skincare routine, you should be gentle when you care for your body. Don't scrub or rub body blemishes, and be careful not to use scalding hot water. This can dry out your skin and make it itchy or flaky — and it won't make your pimples disappear.

Wear loose clothing

You may have worked hard for your summer body, but tight‑fitting tops and form‑fitting sundresses aren't a friend to your skin. When possible, wear loose, breathable clothing, so blemish‑causing bacteria don’t breed on your body. Look for light linens and comfy cotton clothes if you’ve got outdoor plans. When possible, avoid clothing made from wool, flannel, polyester, rayon, or spandex. These fabrics trap heat and sweat against your skin, upping your odds of battling body blemishes.

Stay cool

Got an outdoor event planned on a hot day? Bring a mini fan so you can cool down. You may even want to pack a change of clothes so you can swap sweat‑stained gear for something clean. Body wipes, soothing facial spritzes, and cooling aerosol water mists are other great ways to stay cool in the hot summer sun.

Stay hydrated — inside and out

A bad sunburn can take a toll on your body from the inside out. Severe sunburns can cause vasodilation, which causes blood vessels to dilate and leads to water loss. Drinking enough water can help you prevent dehydration, fatigue, and even heat stroke. Water is good for your skin in general, so drink up! If you do get a sunburn, be sure to add some electrolytes to help you rehydrate faster.

Keep Your Face and Body Moisturized

Even though you’re sweating and probably feeling oilier than usual, it’s still important to apply a moisturizer as part of your morning and evening skincare routines. When you’re spending more time in the sun and air conditioning than usual, it can be more challenging to keep your skin moisturized and supple — and this goes for your entire body. Regularly apply a body lotion or cream to keep the skin from drying out.

Many people skip out on moisturizing their face because they think it will make their skin feel even more greasy and cause clogged pores and breakouts. Still, that’s no reason to skip this step altogether. Simply opt for a lightweight, noncomedogenic moisturizer like our Green Tea Moisturizer, to ensure your skin remains hydrated.

Don’t over exfoliate

Exfoliating is an excellent summer beauty tip as long as you don’t go overboard. While it’s essential to get rid of dry, dead skin cells (especially those from a faux tan), too much exfoliating leads to more sensitive skin. If you plan on spending the majority of your summer outside, you may want to hold off on exfoliating all together until fall.

Summer complexion perfection

Summer is your time to shine, and not because your T‑zone is oily. Follow the tips above, plus get healthy, radiant skin with help from pore‑pampering Proactiv products. We've got cleansers, toners, and moisturizers for every skin type, so you can sail through those summer days with confidence.