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4 Reasons Your Body Acne Is Worse in Summertime

It’s definitely not your imagination: body acne tends to flare up as summer temperatures rise. Heat and humidity are a major cause, but other factors come into play. And while we can’t do much about the weather, we can take measures to help minimize the chances that breakouts become a summer bummer.

Here are the top four reasons body acne gets worse in the summertime.

People sitting by the pool in summertime when body acne can get worse

1. You’re hot and sweaty

When temperatures rise, our skin glands rev up to help cool down our body temperature. There are two types of these glands in the epidermis:

  • Sweat glands: dispersed throughout the body, they release sweat (made up of mostly water, plus salt and oil) onto the surface of the skin via coiled tubules.

  • Sebaceous glands: found everywhere, except on areas with thick skin (like palms of hands and soles of feet), they release oil into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair.


Sweat helps regulate body temperature through a process of evaporation — as the water in sweat turns from a liquid to a gas, heat is released, which in turn makes you feel cooler. Sebum slows down this process, which helps prolong the cooling effect. That’s why you also produce more oil in the summertime.

2. You’re using the wrong skincare

Remember acne 101: it all starts with clogged pores. But it’s not only dead skin and sebum that can plug a pore — it’s also occlusive products. Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Heavy, rich creams meant for dry winter skin

  • Comedogenic lotions, creams and sunscreens


If you’re breaking out in the summertime, make sure you’re changing your skincare routine to adapt to the seasons. And look for products that don’t clog pores.

3. You’re slacking off on showering

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: the buildup of products and sweat on the body encourages the growth of acne-causing bacteria. These habits can all lead to breakouts:

  • Not showering after exercise

  • Keeping your workout clothes on all day 

  • Not washing gear that comes in frequent contact with your skin

Stashing SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Body Spray in your gym bag is a great option when you’re on the go. The 360° sprayer reaches everywhere pimples might pop up — apply before and after working out, and after showering to keep pores clear.

4. You’re not drinking enough water

Believe it or not, your skin can be both oily and dehydrated — even in summertime. Excessive sweating can deplete moisture from the skin, which can weaken the skin barrier and make it more susceptible to acne and inflammation. Drinking plenty of water will help keep body skin healthy in any season.

To keep body acne in check all summer (and beyond!) try SLMD Skincare Body Acne System — a simple, 2-step routine that includes BP Body Wash and Salicylic Acid Body Spray. To target problem areas anywhere on the body, try patch masking with Clear Out — a purifying treatment mask packed with salicylic acid, sulfur and zinc oxide to exfoliate, control sebum, and kill acne-causing bacteria.

Man spritzing Salicylic Acid Body Spray by SLMD Skincare

Dr. Lee’s last word

Though body acne can appear anytime, we certainly see an uptick during the summer months. This is typically due to an increase in both sweat and sebum production, which can clog pores and breed bacteria. I advise patients to use stronger concentrations of proven acne-fighters like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to treat their body breakouts.

—Dr. Sandra Lee

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