You’re probably breaking out right now. For your sake, I really hope you’re not, but if you’re like me, my boyfriend, seven of my friends, two of my co-workers, and the girl I overheard in the elevator this morning, then you’re currently breaking out. And unless you’ve been sleeping on a pizza for a week—which, let’s be honest, who leaves a pizza uneaten for more than five seconds—you probably don’t know why. Rather than troll the internet for some magical answer (it’s not Mercury in retrograde; just don’t), I asked dermatologist Mona Gohara to tell me why now, more than ever, you could be breaking out. And, unsurprisingly, her reasons have nothing to do with our solar system.
THE REASON: It’s hot as hell.
Sure, sure, everyone knows that summer and sweat can be the enemies of good skin. But it’s not just the sun that causes problems—it’s the humidity. “Humidity is essentially this blanket of moisture that locks everything into your face like a mask,” says Gohara, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “So all the sweat and oils on your skin mix with your makeup to form this thick coating that the humidity then seals in, and that’s a recipe for clogged pores.” Good thing the nation has been facing tremendously dangerous and insane heat advisories for a month! Yay, Earth!
Lock the doors, hide under your bed, and never go outside. Wait, does that help? If that doesn’t sound like your idea of a fun summer time, then just make sure to switch your foundation to thin layers of tinted moisture in breathable formulas. My favorites are Joer Matte Moisture Tint Tinted Moisturizer for oily skin or BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Cream for dry skin.
THE REASON: You essentially live outdoors.
You jog outside, walk the dog outside, go to happy hour with your friends outside…and so does your face. And though there’s nothing inherently wrong with hanging outdoors during all waking hours of the summer, it does mean your skin is consistently working on overdrive to create oil. “Whether you like it or not, heat causes increased oil production in the skin, so when you’re outside for prolonged periods in the summer, your face produces more oil,” says Gohara. And, unless you’re washing your face every single time you come back indoors, that additional oil can mean more zits and whiteheads for you.
“Cleanse your face whenever possible with something light and non-drying,” says Gohara, who warns that washing your face too frequently can “strip away its natural oils and cause even more oil production.” Yeah, I know; our bodies are fickle, fickle things. Her suggestion: micellar waters, like Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, which are filled with tiny magnets called micelles that literally pull dirt, gunk, and grime from your pores while hydrating your face. They don’t require water, either, so you have literally no excuses not to use them.
THE REASON: You’re having too much fun.
Every party needs a pooper, and that pooper is your skin. “In the summer, people tend to stay out late, get less sleep, chug sugary drinks and snacks, and do all of the fun stuff that your body hates,” says Gohara, listing everything worth living for. But when you don’t get enough sleep, “your cortisone levels increase and cause an inflammatory state in your body where eczema and acne are more likely,” she says. And if that’s not enough to make you want to kick a wall, upping your sugar intake (hello, margaritas) “increases your glycemic index, which leads to more blemishes,” says Gohara, the mother of sad facts.
Wait 60 years until you grow too old to have fun. Or, you know, deal with it and accept that last night’s bender is likely going to give you a few clogged pores. You can help mitigate the effects, though, with a light fruit facial peel, like Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Brightening Peel, which will “help exfoliate and resurface the skin to keep pores from getting clogged,” says Gohara. And maybe drink some more water, too. It never hurts.