Sweating can affect your skin, so learning how to handle it should be an important part of your skin care regime, a Baylor College of Medicine aesthetician says.
"Sweating is an important bodily function that cools you down, expels toxins through your skin and provides that famous post-workout glow," said Kim Chang, from Baylor's Department of Dermatology. "Learning how to factor in this function into your daily skin care routine can yield great results."
The most important steps to any skin care routine are cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating and protecting, Chang said in a Baylor news release.
For cleaning, swap products with creamy, thicker textures for those with foamy textures. Creamy, thicker textures products have extra moisturizing that isn't necessary during the summer.
Athletes, people who work outside and others who sweat a lot can use exfoliants, such as diatomaceous earth or jojoba beads.
While hydration is essential for healthy skin, on sweaty summer days heavier moisturizers can be switched for serums like vitamin C or hyaluronic acid. You could also try lighter moisturizers, such as water-based gel or oil-free products.
"Many people forgo makeup during summer as it can cause breakouts when they sweat, but looking for products that have tinting properties to them, like some sunscreens, can be a good workaround," Chang said.
Using sunscreen is key to avoiding sunburn and decreasing your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher, be water-resistant and provide broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays).
Water-resistant sunscreens allow sweat to roll off the sunscreen without removing it and prevent burning in the eyes. When outdoors, sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours.
"If you are working in an office or not really spending a lot of time in the sun, you can follow your normal skin routine, but the more you sweat, the more modifications are needed," Chang said.
Sweat can cause discomfort to people who recently underwent or are going through certain skin procedures or regimens.
Treatments such as microneedling, laser resurfacing or chemical peels may leave acids on the skin that can cause burning when sweat is produced. Products with retinol and Retin-A can also lead to a burning sensation in combination with sweat. Products with benzoyl peroxide or lactic or glycolic acids to treat acne can also cause discomfort when exposed to sweat.
"It's important to know that some discomfort when you sweat during or after some skin care products or procedures is common," Chang said. "If the discomfort becomes intolerable, you should seek out help from your dermatologist."
There are many other ways to protect the skin. Chang recommends the use of UV-resistant clothing and wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Weather apps provide information on when UV exposure is high and should alert you when to be especially careful. A balanced diet can help prevent skin inflammation or breakouts that cause people to use more products during the summer. When the weather is warm, less is more.
"The skin is the largest organ in the body and there are so many ways we can take care of it," Chang said. "When we know how to do so, we can enjoy our summers without worry."
For more on skin care, head to the American Academy of Dermatology.
SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, press release, Aug. 10, 2022