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Skin Care

Summer Acne: 7 Questions For A Dermatologist

Acne is no doubt one of the most familiar skin diseases we come across. About every person has to encounter this ailment once in a lifetime. About 9.4 percent of the present population is suffering from acne. This is exacerbated by the relentless heat in the summer, leading to what we call summer acne or summertime breakout.

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What is acne?

Acne is a disease of the skin and has immense psychological associations in the life of an individual.

It can develop due to disturbances in the hormonal system, seasonal variations, overeating oily food, and having the worst skincare routine.

Can heat cause summer acne breakouts?

Yes, of course, heat is one of the leading causes of summer acne breakout. Summer acne usually results from the clogging up and bacterial colonization in the pores of the skin. In the summer season, we typically sweat a lot.

As a result of increased sweat production, the mixture of sebum and sweat gets clogged in skin pores. It is then attacked by the bacteria and acne results. The more the heat, the more a person sweat and breakout results(Narang et al. 2019).

Does summer heat make acne worse?

Heat is the main culprit behind the initial onset of summer acne and then worsens it—heat results in increased sweat production. The sweat gets mixed up with the sebum and dirt that clogs up your pores. Acne then appears as a result.

In short, heat and sweat are the culprits of your summertime acne breakout.

How do you prevent summer acne breakouts?

  1. Avoid exercising in a hot and humid environment
  2. Maintain a good skincare routine with frequent antibacterial facewash
  3. Wear loose clothes to keep your pores ventilated.
  4. Have good body hygiene to get rid of sweat, dirt, and bacteria.

What treatments do you recommend for summer acne?

summer acne woman

I usually recommend that my patients cure the breakouts naturally without any medication:

  1. Apply moisturizer
  2. Use oil-free sunscreen
  3. Gently scrub your face once a day
  4. Wear natural, breathable clean clothes
  5. Maintain good care of the skin (i.e. avoid dirty and humid areas)

If things get worse, I usually prescribe Isotretinoin and topical retinoids to help cope with the situation. You should always consult with your dermatologist first before making the drastic change to the drugs I mentioned.

How should you deal with a sunscreen acne allergy?

We all possess different skin tones, skin thickness, and sensitivity of the skin. Some people have skin that is highly sensitive to even minor sunlight, others can withstand heavy sunlight.

One of the main problems faced by people who use sunscreen is its hypersensitivity. There are certain ingredients that can cause summer acne:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Benzophenone
  • Cinnamates
  • Dibenzoyl methane

If somehow you develop a sunscreen allergy, it is essential to wash the area with cold water, take some antihistamines and apply moisturizer over the skin.

If you see no positive changes, contact your doctor who can prescribe steroids to cope. (Scheuer and Warshaw 2006)

How should we deal with summer maskne?

Wait, why did you change the topic to maskne? Well, with the pandemic still going on, it’s important to wear a mask to public spaces to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

Maskne is one of the significant dermatological problems faced by people in the recent pandemic.

The following routine should be adopted to prevent maskne(Teo 2021)

  1. Washing the face three to four times a day using benzoyl peroxide products.
  2. It is vital to apply a non-oil-based moisturizer to the skin. It will keep the skin pores open and prevent maskne.
  3. I personally recommend disposable masks as cloth masks are associated with more bacterial contamination and acne results.
  4. It is essential to contact your dermatologist and discuss your breakouts with them.

How does maskne happen?

Similar to summer acne, the main reason behind the development of maskne is the entrapment of heat and humidity from our nostrils, bacteria, and sebum on the skin. Our pores are clogged and attacked by bacterias resulting in acne. (Teo 2021)

References

Fox, Lizelle, Candice Csongradi, Marique Aucamp, Jeanetta du Plessis, and Minja Gerber. 2016. “Treatment Modalities for Acne.” Molecules  21 (8). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21081063.

Narang, I., K. Sardana, R. Bajpai, and V. K. Garg. 2019. “Seasonal Aggravation of Acne in Summers and the Effect of Temperature and Humidity in a Study in a Tropical Setting.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 18 (4). https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12777.

Sardana, K., R. C. Sharma, and R. Sarkar. 2002. “Seasonal Variation in Acne Vulgaris–Myth or Reality.” The Journal of Dermatology 29 (8). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1346-8138.2002.tb00313.x.

Scheuer, E., and E. Warshaw. 2006. “Sunscreen Allergy: A Review of Epidemiology, Clinical Characteristics, and Responsible Allergens.” Dermatitis: Contact, Atopic, Occupational, Drug: Official Journal of the American Contact Dermatitis Society, North American Contact Dermatitis Group 17 (1).

https://doi.org/10.2310/6620.2006.05017.

Teo, Wan-Lin. 2021. “Diagnostic and Management Considerations for ‘maskne’ in the Era of COVID-19.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 84 (2): 520.

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Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.D.
Dr. Ahmad Fayyaz Chaudhry earned his MBBS degree from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, in 2020. During graduation, he enrolled himself in the Dermatology Ward DHQ Hospital Faisalabad for all the necessary training required to pass the bachelor's exam and encounter dermatological diseases daily. Currently, he is posted as a House Physician in the Medical Unit 3 Allied Hospital Faisalabad, where he encounters all kinds of hepatic, cardiac, neurological, and dermatological diseases daily.

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