More Sun Exposure, More Acne?

Summertime means less clothing, more beach time and that genuine bronzed glow you’ve yearned for all winter. As long as you apply sunscreen, there’s no harm in enjoying the warm weather, right? Wrong. An increase in sun exposure and sunblock usage can lead to more breakouts. Before you slather on the SPF and step outside, here’s what you need to know.

Four main factors contribute to acne: follicle blockage, superfluous sebum secretion from the sebaceous glands (also known as an overproduction of oil), bacteria buildup, and skin irritation and inflammation. You may suffer from acne-prone skin thanks to genetics, but likely you’re unknowingly using SPF with pore-clogging ingredients, then exposing your skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can inflame and further irritate it. Here’s how to avoid breakouts this summer season.

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Ditch these comedogenic ingredients:

Petroleum-based

Mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum are petroleum-based ingredients known as petrochemicals that are designed to “lock-in” moisture by creating a seal between skin cells. While petrochemicals help your skin maintain moisture, the barrier they create also traps sweat under the skin’s surface, which may lead to irritation that results in a breakout. Instead, search for sunblock with moisturizing jojoba, sunflower, or grapeseed.

Oils and Heavy Butters

While botanicals and essential oils like soybean oil and cocoa butter can make for great moisturizers, their potency and heaviness can clog pores and cause irritation, which may lead to blackheads and acne outbreaks. Instead, opt for sun protection labeled “non-comedogenic” to ensure the absence of pore-clogging ingredients.

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Moisturize Parched Skin

Excessive sun exposure can dehydrate your skin, and alert your oil-producing sebaceous glands to overcompensate to correct moisture imbalance. To avoid this, use a moisturizing sunscreen while in the sun, and a lightweight moisturizer once you’re back inside.

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More Sun Exposure, More Acne? Photographed by Jessica Toscano