Summer Humidity Woes? Here’s Some “No Sweat” Tips

If you’ve experienced summer in the Midwest, you know how sticky and icky those summer days with high humidity, or moisture content in the air, can be.

Besides the bad hair days (that’s a whole other blog post), high humidity makes you sweat. Your body needs to sweat to stay cool, but sweat can do a number on your skin, unfortunately.

If your skin is acne-prone and breakouts are popping, the combination of sweat and clogged pores is a likely culprit. The moisture in the air – there’s the humidity factor – causes skin pores to open and makes them susceptible to gathering dirt, oil and allergens.

Then, when sweat then mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores and cause pimples to form leading to a condition that has been dubbed “tropical acne.”

When acne breakouts flare, our board-certified dermatologists recommend cleansers with hydroxys – like Gly/Sal pads with glycolic acid and salicylic acid that clean skin in one quick swipe with exfoliating agents that can reduce skin debris and help unclog pores.

Other tips to keep your acne at bay include:

  • Blotting – not wiping – sweat from your skin with a clean towel or cloth. Wiping sweat off can irritate skin, which can lead to a breakout.
  • Washing sweaty clothes, headbands, towels, and hats before wearing them again.
  • Using non-comedogenic products on your face, neck, back, and chest. Looks for labels that say “oil free” or “won’t clog pores.”\
  • Making an appointment with your Midwest Dermatology physician to determine if a prescription medication might be the answer. Sometimes adding topical or oral antibiotics, dermatologist-approved cleansers and exfoliators, or even medical aesthetic treatments like super-exfoliating HydraFacials, may be the answer.

Another muggy day nemesis that shows up along with humidity spikes is when sweat ducts close up. This can lead to moisture becoming trapped under the skin, resulting in heat rash (also called prickly heat) and other heat-related illnesses.

How do you know if the ducts have closed? Well, bumps and blisters are the first sign of this condition. To prevent pores from clogging, you should look for skin cleansers to help calm your skin and pores down; limit sweat-producing activities; and see your Midwest Dermatology physician if a rash occurs.

Other tips to prevent sweat leading to heat rash include:

    • Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothes made of cotton.
    • Exercise outdoors during the coolest parts of the day or move your workout indoors where you can be in air-conditioning.
    • Try to keep your skin cool by using fans, cool showers, and air-conditioning when possible.

Humidity isn’t fun, but hey, at least it’s not frigid, dry air giving you problems. We’ve got nothing to fix the frizz, but by following a few preventive tips and seeing your Midwest Dermatology provider if a breakout does occur, you can still enjoy this warm summer weather with healthy skin!