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Is Sweat Breaking You Out? Here Are 5 Ways to Deal.

girl sweating after working out I Dermstore Blog

Summer fun never disappoints—to make you sweat like crazy! Even in milder climates around the country or the world, those scorching temperatures require your body to release toxins via your pores, producing sweat that’s attempting to cool you down fast. Though it’s your body’s natural reaction to ensure you’re not overheated, all of that excess moisture can mean double-duty cleanup for your pores.

Sweat in itself is not ‘bad’ for the skin if it is wicked or evaporated away. However, if it sits on the skin, especially if it remains in contact with the skin via sweat-soaked clothes, it can be problematic and cause an obstruction of the sweat pore. This blockage may occur when the bacteria within sweat mingles with dead skin cells and creates a plug of debris,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, MD. Not only can this sweat-induced blockage result in acne breakout, too much sweat can also trigger a number of other skin conditions too, like skin rash, according to Dr. Laughlin.

The good news? Cleaning up your face and body after a day spent poolside, beachside or the gym is easy. It just requires a few simple steps:

  1. 1. Give your face a quick splash of cool water.
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    1. Give your face a quick splash of cool water.

    In a rush before heading off to a rooftop happy hour or don’t have time to grab your facial cleanser? Dr. Laughlin notes that even a quick splash of cool water, followed by patting your face dry with a towel (or even paper towels, if that’s all you have nearby) can stop your pores from getting clogged. No bathroom nearby and your skin is feeling overly sticky? Dr. Laughlin says to add a face mist or a thermal spray water to your beach bag to come to your rescue when you’re in a pinch.

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  2. 2. Keep disposable face cloths or wipes handy.
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    2. Keep disposable face cloths or wipes handy.

    If you have plans to grab a green smoothie post-outdoor bootcamp with your friends, don’t forget to pack a cleansing wipe for your gym bag. Dr. Laughlin notes these come in handy when you want to cleanse the sweat from your face, neck, back and chest. For a no-frills simple buy, consider wipes containing mild and soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera, and you won’t have to think twice about your face beaming any redder than it already is.

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  3. 3. If you're prone to acne, consider tossing a medicated cleanser in your purse.
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    3. If you're prone to acne, consider tossing a medicated cleanser in your purse.

    Prone to breakouts no matter the season? We feel ya. There’s nothing more disappointing than hoping you’ll be able to go makeup-free to a summer cookout and then waking up to a sweat-induced zit. Dr. Laughlin says to be careful when choosing a cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin, as stripping off too many layers can lead to overproduction of sebum and clog your pores even more. In addition to talking to a dermatologist, Dr. Laughlin suggests using a medicated cleanser to defend your skin against acne-causing bacteria.

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  4. 4. Give your skin a thorough cleanse at night.
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    4. Give your skin a thorough cleanse at night.

    No matter if you have oily, combination, dry, aging or acne-prone, Dr. Laughlin notes that everyone should give their skin a thorough cleanse before bedtime, especially during the summer time. Consider double-cleansing your face to get rid of makeup, excess oil, sweat and other pore-clogging debris at night, or using a cleansing device to ensure a deeper cleanse.

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  5. 5. Once a week, use a chemical exfoliator.
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    5. Once a week, use a chemical exfoliator.

    Though Dr. Laughlin notes it’s wise to book an appointment with your dermatologist before deciding the best exfoliator for your skin, most skin types would benefit from a once-a-week chemical exfoliator to purify your pores from the residues your sweat leaves behind.


    READERS—Do you have other pore-cleansing hacks to share? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Writer and Editor

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar is a travel and lifestyle journalist who contributes to a myriad of publications—from Travel + Leisure and Vogue to Glamour and countless others. She's a digital nomad who works from every corner of the globe, scoping out the best coffee, collecting artisan crafts and testing every beauty product she can find. You can find a collection of her work at