Why Teen Acne Worsens During the Summer

The summer can be rough on skin.  All of that sun feels great on your face, and the warm temperatures are much anticipated, but acne often kicks into high gear during this season.  While short periods of sun exposure may be beneficial for acne, most teens spend much more time than that outside during this season. Oil production ramps up when heat and humidity come into play, and teens prone to acne often see more breakouts as a result.  Those with comedonal acne especially may notice this.  Combine the increased risk of breakouts with irritation that comes from over-exposure to UV radiation, and you can see why proper summer skincare is so important.

No matter which type of acne your teen has, physical activity and sweat also can trigger breakouts.  Working out in the summer heat, especially with protective athletic gear like helmets, can result in an overgrowth of acne causing bacteria.  In addition, sweat causes dirt to stick to the skin by creating a moist surface to which it can cling.  It’s a good idea to remove oil by wiping it away quickly and to wear light, cotton clothing, which will absorb both oil and sweat.  Make sure that clothes fit loosely as well, since this can reduce the amount of sweating that occurs.  While teens shouldn’t shower too frequently so that skin does not become dry, a quick, cool rinse will clean the skin and help prevent a breakout.

Teens with acne might be afraid of using sunblock, thinking that it might make the situation worse, but skin protection is a must.  UV radiation can worsen breakouts, and the risk of skin cancer is always present.  Plus, acne medication can make skin more prone to irritation, inflammation, and burning.  When choosing a sunblock, there are a variety of products that are designed to be sheer and less oily.  Products that serve as a physical sunscreen, such as those containing zinc oxide also work well, as chemical sunscreens can cause heat reactions on the skin.

So what causes teen acne in the first place?  If a teen’s parents had acne at around their age, the likelihood of having it increases.  Hormones are also a major factor since excess hormones cause oil glands to become overactive, producing more oil than is needed.  This leads to pores being blocked with skin cells as well as an overgrowth of bacteria.  The blocked pores form a pimple as a result of inflammation or infection, and cysts form under the skin’s surface when painful bumps are produced deep inside the pores.

If your teen is experiencing acne, there are additional ways to prepare for the summer that will decrease the likelihood of having more breakouts.  These include using a cleanser that is gentle on skin yet effective at removing oil, since an increase in oil production is one of the factors leading to worsened acne during this season.  It is also important to remember not to wash the face too much, or skin can become irritated from the removal of too much oil.  During the summer especially it is important to strike a balance between removing oil and sweat and not irritating the skin by excess washing and scrubbing.  Consider using blotting papers in between washes to keep skin clean.

Even though the summer can be rough on skin, keep in mind that there are simple ways to combat the excess oil production that leads to breakouts and to cope with the excess sweating that comes with physical activity and sports.  Most importantly, remember that teens might think that sunblock will exacerbate the situation, but it is important to protect the skin from the sun and to avoid burns and other irritation that actually will result in a worsening of acne.

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