Bye Bye Bacne: This Bedtime Hack Will Change Your Skin
This story originally appeared on Allure.
There's a certain tragedy to the fact that summer, the most skin-baring season of all, is also the season when many of us struggle most with body acne. In addition to sunscreen (a year-round must) and the body's naturally amped-up oil production in the warmer months, sweat is also a major factor in those pesky back and chest zits. There's a lot you can do during the day to help stave off acne-causing bacteria (showering nightly, changing out of sweaty clothes, using body washes with pimple-fighting salicylic acid). But if you live somewhere where central air-conditioning isn't the standard (looking at you, New York City), sweaty nights may be a whole separate battle.
It's not necessarily sweat's fault that your back is reliving puberty. "Sweating itself is not necessarily associated with acne flares. Sweat mixed with dirt, oil, and makeup, on the other hand, can block pores and cause breakouts," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. So the real trouble with sweating at night, aside from the obvious ewwfactor, isn't that you're sweating but rather that the sweat is trapped against your skin by your pj's and sheets. "Wet fabrics that stick to the skin promote bacterial growth that can cause skin infections like folliculitis or fungal infections like ring worm. Also, wet fabrics can trap dirt and oil and promote acne breakouts," says Zeichner.
Luckily, there's a solution, and it's probably already in your gym bag. "Moisture-wicking fabrics help move sweat away from skin, keeping skin and clothing dry," Zeichner says. That's right, the same clothing that keeps you dry during an elliptical session can also keep you comfy at night. While some companies, like Sheex, make moisture-wicking (and cooling—a bonus for anyone dealing with hot flashes) sleepwear and even sheets, you can also opt for any moisture-wicking workoutwear you already own. Just make sure that any sweat-absorbing clothes you hit the sheets in make a stop in the wash before you slip back into them to ditch that acne-causing bacteria and oil.