Don’t sweat it! – How to fight frustrating Summer acne breakouts

acne mechanicaIt’s kind of ironic isn’t it? The summer season is the time of the year when we want/need to bare the most skin, yet can also be the time when some of us suffer the most with acne breakouts.

For those who may have suffered with more acne breakouts lately than usual, perhaps the current glorious weather sweeping across the UK could be to blame.

Heat and humidity result in more sweating so the body can try to remain in a cool state. Unfortunately, this excessive sweating, together with strenuous outside activities air pollutants, dirt, debris, etc. in the air can result in clogged pores on the face, and this is when the blackheads and acne breakouts wreak havoc for our skin.

Acne is caused when the skin produces too much oil, leading to skin pores becoming clogged with bacteria. Though many first believed sweating could aid clearing out these pores, it was eventually discovered that oil pores and sweat glands are independent of one another – thereby one having no benefit to the other. It is in fact the case that sweating leads to more acne by providing a sticky, moist surface for dirt and debris to cling to.

However, the active amongst us may be at an even further risk of acne during the hot summer months. Acne mechanica is a term probably unfamiliarly to most, but it is a form of acne caused by friction, pressure or rubbing from clothing against a particularly sweaty part of the body. It is the trapped heat against the body for long periods of time that leads to this type of acne.

Sports equipment is a common culprit for acne mechanica, and this is why many teenage boys are likely to suffer. Football or hockey pads, sweatbands, helmets, etc. traps sweat and heat against the skin, leading to acne.

It is not just sporty teenagers who are prone to acne mechanica though – Soldiers are another group often suffering with this type of acne. Carrying around heavy equipment, weapons and everything else, puts enormous pressure and friction on the skin, causing breakouts. Any soldier who is based out in hot, humid environments is even more at risk of this form of acne.

So what can be done in the summer months when it is hot and humid, and a higher risk of acne?

.  Consider benzoyl peroxide-containing acne treatments

The majority of acne mechanica cases respond effectively to treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, found in certain body washes, over-the counter acne treatments, as well as highly popular prescription treatments for acne such as Duac Once Daily Gel and Epiduo Gel. In fact, almost every kind of acne treatment recommended by dermatologists will utilise benzoyl peroxide as its primary active ingredient because it is a proven and effective tool at treating acne. After application, the benzoyl peroxide will enter the skin and its free radical oxygen and benzoic acid will combines forces to kill off the acne-causing bacteria.

. Shower frequently

It is obvious that most of us will spend more time outdoors when it is warm. Make sure to shower following excessive sweating and although it may be tempting to have a long soak in the bath after a sweat-filled day outdoors, avoid this as that can actually provoke acne, and stick to having a shower. This will effectively clear away dead skin cells and flush them away from the body. Remember to not shower too frequently though as this can have an adverse effect on the body, and two minutes should be all you need to rinse off.

. Avoid scrubbing

Scrubbing the skin can bring on a high risk of an acne breakout. Therefore, both in and out of the shower, try not to scrub your skin and face. Use a towel to delicately pat yourself dry and simply let the air dry off the skin as much as possible, as this enables essential oils to remain on the skin.

. Choose clothing wisely

It is important to wear light clothing that is loose fitting to lessen the friction against the skin and to ensure the body is kept cool and less likely to sweat. Light cotton, silk, and linen are advisable whilst synthetic fabric appears to be disastrous in respect to acne mechanica as it traps heat against the skin.  Sporty individuals should be cautious that their uniform will probably be made from synthetic fabric. Therefore, it is beneficial to wear a cotton t-shirt underneath the uniform. This is vital under athletic pads to help reduce friction. Athletes should also shower straight after their activities to wash away all that sweat.

. Eat healthily

Greasy foods loaded with fat can release free radicals and other damaging chemicals into the body, causing an accumulation of oil and bacteria. With this in mind, make sure to have a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, which are both fantastic for the skin as they released antioxidants that can fight the free radicals and reduce the risk of acne.

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