Recently, I was on vacation with a few girlfriends and my friend Brittany started complaining that her skin was breaking out. She was frustrated because hadn’t changed her skincare routine or her diet. After examining her skin the mirror, she shrugged and said “Oh well, hopefully the sun will help clear my skin.” She headed to the beach in hopes the sun would “dry out” her pimple. Brittany’s predicament got me thinking, does the sun actually help or hurt your skin? I did a little research and was surprised to find out that the summer sun can actually wreck havoc on your skin. Here’s what I found:
Too much sun can cause acne: It’s a myth that the sun can help cure acne. It seems like the sun clears skin because as the skin gets darker around pimples, it makes them stand out less (read more here). In reality, the sun actually makes acne worst. UV rays damage your skin and cause it to loose moisture. According to YouBeauty, the body tries to fix this by producing more of its own oils, which can result in more blackheads and pimples. Plus, the sunlight can cause inflammation, which can darken already existing acne scars.
Heat can irritate your skin: If you get over heat, you can develop heat or sweat rash. This is also known as miliaria, which is caused by the obstruction of sweat ducts. The result is small, itchy hives on the ski. This can happen when your body temperature rises and it’s especially common in hot, humid conditions. In order to avoid this, be sure to stay cool during the summer heat. Spend some time in the shade or try spritzing yourself with a cooling spray, like the Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Hydrating Aloe Spray($28).
Sweating can lead to clogged pores: Sweat itself does not cause acne. However, sweat can mix with natural body oils, product residue, and bacteria which can result breakouts and skin irritation. You don’t want to be sitting in the sun sweating for too long because this mixture can seriously clog your pores.
Certain sunscreens can cause acne: Yes, certain sunscreens can cause acne, but this isn’t an excuse to avoid wearing SPF. While some sunscreens can cause clogged pores, there are plenty of options that are safe for acne prone skin. Look for formulas that are “non-comedogenic” (this means the product is formulated not to clog pores). I’m a fan of the Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Illuminating Sunscreen SPF 36 ($34). It never clogs my pores and it even gives my skin a subtle shimmer.
Chlorine can cause dry skin and breakouts: Chlorine has antibacterial properties that can help clear bacteria related acne. However, you need to be careful because the chemical can be very drying to skin. Remember that when skin is too dry, the body produces extra oils to combat the problem. Thus, prolonged chlorine exposure can result in even more breakouts. After taking a dip in the pool, it’s best to rinse your face with fresh water to lessen the drying effect of the chlorine.
Beware of the AC: Even if you avoid the outdoors, your skin can still be at risk. The cold air from air conditioning can dry out your skin. You want to avoid sleeping near your AC so that cold air does not blow directly on your face while you sleep.
[Image: Always Judging]