Managing Acne With Summer Humidity

The mid-Atlantic region is beautiful at any time of the year, but summer is especially lovely as the cherry blossoms give way to a verdant landscape. The lushness of this locale is largely due to the high humidity levels that accompany the summer months, which can make dealing with skin problems like acne just a little more difficult.

As a dermatologist, Allen A. Flood, MD, helps his patients on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., combat acne year-round, including measures that help offset problems the excessive humidity of summer can bring on.

If you struggle with your acne during the high humidity of summer, here are a few tips to keep the flare-ups to a minimum.

Why me?

To best manage acne, it’s helpful to understand what lies behind the condition. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people in any given year. And the condition isn’t the sole domain of pimply teenagers; adults can, and do, get acne during their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. And that’s because acne is, in large part, driven by hormones.

During puberty, when the hormone levels in preteens and teenagers are surging, both sexes experience an increase in production of androgens, which are hormones that are largely associated with male characteristics. These hormone causes your sebum (oil) production to accelerate and your pores to open wider. In normal amounts, sebum keeps your skin properly nourished. But when your oil glands are highly active, your pores are more prone to becoming clogged with dead skin cells and foreign matter, causing acne to develop.

When your hormones level out after puberty, many people say goodbye to acne; but some don’t. Adult acne largely affects women, who still undergo regular hormonal fluctuations during their reproductive years. But acne can, and does, strike adult men with regularity, meaning no one is truly immune from the condition, no matter what age you are.

In addition to hormones, you’re also fighting another considerable force when it comes to acne: genetics. If members of your immediate family struggle with acne, the odds are that you will, too.

The humidity factor

The reason we wanted to review the primary drivers behind acne is to make it clear that excessive humidity doesn’t cause acne, but it can aggravate your condition. Since acne flare-ups are brought on my clogged pores, it makes sense that keeping your pores free and clear is a great way to take the teeth out of this skin condition.

If you have acne, it’s important that you do all you can to keep your skin clean, which means that you should regularly clean your face to wash away dirt and old skin. It’s important that you use a mild cleanser because scrubbing existing acne with harsh cleaners only serves to irritate it, often making it worse. A gentle cleanser gets the job done nicely, especially if you establish a regular morning and evening routine.

Sweating it out

Many people respond to summer humidity by sweating, which helps cool off your body. By all means, we encourage you to remain active and sweat it out, just be mindful of your acne and try and keep the areas that are more prone to the condition dry and free from sweat buildup.

And if you’re using a towel to wipe your face, make sure it’s clean, and resist the urge to touch your face while you’re sweating, which can just spread oil and bacteria to other areas. It’s best to blot your sweaty skin with a dry cloth to lift the moisture away without smearing it around.

Ultimately, the best way to get rid of sweat is to rinse your face with a good splash of water.

Let it breathe

During the high humidity months of summer, you’d do well to keep your skin free of pore-clogging makeup and creams. While winter dries out your skin, the humidity of summer helps moisturize it, so you don’t need the added oils in your cosmetics. Switch up your skin care routine each season and try water-based products during the humid months to allow your skin room to sweat, breathe, and flush out any bacterial buildup that can lead to acne.

If you’d like to learn more about managing your acne during the humid months of summer, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool on this website to request an appointment.

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