If you’re acne-prone, springtime can be bittersweet: while warmer weather is a welcome change, the transition can cause turmoil for temperamental skin. Higher temperatures and humidity, combined with increased sun exposure, can lead to more clogged pores and active acne.
To help ease the seasonal transition, we asked Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) to share her top springtime tips for acne-prone skin.
- How does warmer weather affect acne-prone skin?
- Dr. Lee’s top tips for spring
- Dr. Lee’s last word
- Shop the article
How does warmer weather affect acne-prone skin?
According to Dr. Lee, seasonal changes can have a real impact on our skin, especially if you’re prone to breakouts. Warmer temperatures and more sun exposure can have several effects on acne — here’s a breakdown.
- Sweating: as temperatures rise, the skin releases sweat to help cool down the body. This can lead to dehydrated skin.
- Sebum: to help maintain balance, the sebaceous glands amp up oil production to lock in moisture and provide protection from oxidative stress. This can clog pores.
- Inflammation: increased UV exposure can provoke skin’s inflammatory response by creating free radical oxidation. This may make skin more sensitive to an imbalance of C. acnes bacteria.
- Melanin: when skin experiences radiation, melanocytes create more pigment to neutralize the damage. Healing skin also produces excess melanin (aka post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) — so spots can be even darker when exposed to UV rays.
Dr. Lee’s top tips for spring
Though everyone’s skin is different, Dr. Lee says that most of her acne-prone patients can benefit from a few skincare swaps and lifestyle changes to ease the transition from wintertime. If you’re already on a regular regimen like SLMD Acne System, keep it up — because consistency is important. Add in these suggestions and as always, listen to your skin.
Shedding winter dullness is a good thing — provided you don’t overdo it. A combination of oil soluble and water soluble exfoliants, like salicylic and glycolic acids, can help keep pores clear and remove dead cell buildup.
Choose products that are gentle to avoid damaging the skin barrier, which can make breakouts worse. Two SLMD Skincare products to try:
- Salicylic Acid Cleanser: wash your face morning and evening with warm water, and after working out, sweating, or wearing your mask for long periods of time.
- AHA/BHA Swipes: swipe on after cleansing, or if you can’t wash your face after working out or taking off your mask. Start slowly and watch for signs of over-exfoliating, like dryness or tightness.
#2 Mask up
If you tend to break out year-round, chances are you’ve been using a mask treatment all winter long. Come spring, you can increase your frequency to several times weekly, and add a body treatment if you’re starting to see some bacne (or buttne!) crop up. SLMD Clear Out Purifying Treatment Mask contains salicylic acid, sulfur and zinc oxide to unclog pores, inhibit bacteria and sebum, plus soothe skin.
If you’ve been doing a lot of that other kind of masking for work, make sure you’re keeping the mouth, nose and cheek area (aka the O-zone) clean. Try this viral maskne hack from Dr. Lee: spray SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray on the inside of your mask. Let it dry a moment before putting your mask on, and reapply periodically to help prevent the buildup of acne-causing bacteria.
#3 Wear sunscreen
Since you know it’s the number one thing you should include in your skincare routine, we’re positive you’ve been applying SPF every single day anyway, right? This is your friendly reminder that all skin types, and all skin tones, should be wearing sunscreen in all weather conditions, indoors or out — end of story.
But we get it — finding a sunscreen that works for acne-prone skin can be challenging. Many products can be occlusive, clogging pores and making breakouts worse.
At the same time, UV exposure creates excess inflammation, which can make your skin’s response to acne-causing bacteria more dramatic. That’s why Dr. Lee recommends using a non-comedogenic, broad-spectrum sunscreen like SLMD Dual Defender SPF 30.
#4 Plan ahead
Striking a balance between spending time in the fresh spring air and protecting skin from acne flares (not to mention photoaging) may take a bit of planning, but it’s definitely doable. Besides skincare, Dr. Lee has a few simple suggestions:
- Wear protective clothing. Hats, breathable cotton clothing and a chic pair of shades will prevent damaging rays from aggravating breakouts.
- Seek out shade. Spending time outside in indirect sunlight improves your mood (which in turn can help your breakouts), without subjecting skin to stress from UV rays.
- Opt for an updo. Keeping hair away from your face and neck not only keeps you cooler, but minimizes the chances that your hair products and oils might clog pores.
- Keep linens clean. If you’ve been hibernating a bit this winter, it’s time to launder all of those blankets, sheets and especially your pillowcases — which can all harbor acne-causing bacteria.
Dr. Lee’s last word
If you’ve got acne prone skin, the changing seasons can sometimes lead to more breakouts. Especially as we move from winter to spring, we start to see that sebum production kick in and many of my patients find that this leads to more acne. So it’s really important to keep up with your acne regimen, to start exfoliating and masking more, and to protect your fragile skin from the sun with a non-occlusive, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
—Dr. Sandra Lee