Our skin changes with the arrival of the summer season. Higher temperatures and higher humidity relieve some of the havoc that the cold, dry winter months have wreaked on our skin. Unfortunately, the change to warmer weather can also bring with it new problems: more break-outs. Break-outs are always annoying, but they are downright infuriating when you are already busy battling excessive sweat, grimy city smog and the merciless UV-rays. Treatments for break-outs are abundant at every local drugstore, but the summer harbors special challenges for Asian skin that require us to take a careful look at what anti-break-out products we use how and when.
Many of us know the 3 key areas that need to be addressed to manage break-outs effectively: exfoliate (keep the pores clear!), fight acne bacteria and calm inflammation.
Many of us know the 3 key areas that need to be addressed to manage break-outs effectively: exfoliate (keep the pores clear!), fight acne bacteria and calm inflammation. Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide are the most widely-recommended prescription-free solutions to battle break-outs. Salicylic Acid exfoliates the top layer of the skin and especially around the orifice of the pores, thus helping to unclog pores and to keep them clear. In that sense, Salicylic Acid plays a key role in preventing breakouts long before they even become noticeable to the eyes or touch. Also, Salicylic Acid helps reduce some of the inflammation related to break-outs. Salicylic Acid, however, has no effect on bacterial proliferation. Benzoyl Peroxide on the other hand, destroys acne-causing bacteria, but does nothing for pore exfoliation. Therefore, it is good idea to incorporate both ingredients in your skincare program. Problems however: 1) Both can irritate and make the skin more sensitive to the sun. 2) Darker skin-types, which include Asian skin, sometimes react to these ingredients by developing dark spots in combination with sun-exposure.
The key is knowing when to use which ingredient, in order to minimize the possibility of a reaction.
- Use a medicated product only in 1 step within your routine. In other words, if you are using a medicated lotion, don’t use a medicated cleanser. The increase to UV-exposure can really exaggerate a lot of the side effects that these medicated products harbor, so being cautious is key. I generally encourage people to use a medicated leave-on product at night rather than a medicated cleanser. Active ingredients are more effective when left on the skin rather than washed off, plus, a lotion enables you to treat break-out prone areas only and avoid contact with more delicate parts, like the eye area.
- Do not use Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide at the same time. Rather use one in the morning, and the other at night. During the day, I suggest applying a spot treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide only on the pimples, and not on large areas of the face. That way you minimize the possibility of a sun-induced reaction. At night, you can apply a lotion with Salicylic Acid on the break-out-prone areas like chin, cheeks or forehead. Because you are not exposed to the sun, chances of a sun-induced reaction are minimized.
- When excessive oiliness is a problem, a clay mask treatment once or twice a week can help balance the skin and draw impurities out of the pores.
- Lastly, when you are using medicated products, it is absolutely necessary to use a good broad-spectrum sunscreen. Allow products and spot-treatments to absorb and penetrate before applying an oil-free sunscreen all over your face.
Get ready for a break-out-free summer!
If you get a chance, check out the skin care line Yoshika started with her Asian sisters www.juaraskincare.com.