Skin Science

How to Prevent Summer Breakouts

How to keep your skin clear when the weather warms up.

Dylan Mustapich

Esthetician at Atolla

Dylan Mustapich

Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.



While there are many great things about summer, for some it can also be a season interrupted by breakout after breakout. Many of us are aware that we generally break out more during the warmer months but are unsure as to why.

While there are many great things about summer, for some it can also be a season interrupted by breakout after breakout. Many of us are aware that we generally break out more during the warmer months but are unsure as to why. 

Why do breakouts happen more in the summer?

Spending time in the hot, humid weather means more sweat and oil accumulation on the skin. This clogs our pores and creates a breeding ground for bad bacteria, sometimes resulting in warm weather breakouts. If you live in a city with poor air quality you can add urban grime and pollution to the mix as well. We also have a tendency to touch our face more when we feel like it’s too sweaty or oily, which introduces additional bacteria to the skin and may result in irritation from constant rubbing. Many go overboard when treating summer breakouts, taking an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that can further damage the skin barrier. This results in our skin producing more oil to try and compensate, making matters even worse.


During the winter months it may have made sense to use a facial oil or rich moisturizer to protect your skin from the elements, but for summer your skin may actually benefit from using lighter-weight products. Swapping a facial oil for a water-based serum and going with a lighter moisturizer could prevent these warm weather breakouts from making an appearance.

While cleansing your skin should always be included in your routine, it becomes even more important during the summer months. Producing more sweat and oil can create an environment where breakout-causing bacteria is able to thrive. Because of this, it is imperative that we regularly cleanse our skin to remove breakout-causing bacteria, pore-clogging buildup, and makeup. People that are able to cleanse once a day in the winter may find that they need to add a second cleanse to prevent summer breakouts. A daily cleanser with an AHA exfoliant like Lactic Acid can help remove dead skin cells, preventing them from clogging pores and contributing to breakouts.


The only BHA, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble, which means it’s able to exfoliate within pores to clear out excess oil and sebum. This means less clogged pores that can potentially lead to breakouts. In addition, Ingredients like Centella and Aloe are able to reduce the inflammation that often accompanies breakouts. Resulting pigmentation concerns like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be treated with Vitamin C, which can help skin tone appear more even when used consistently.

Spot Treatments

Sometimes when dealing with a stubborn summer breakout, you need to pull out the big guns. This comes in the form of spot treatments, designed to target breakouts without requiring a full-face application. These come in many forms including:

Benzoyl Peroxide – An ingredient that releases oxygen on the skin to destroy bacteria. It’s also able to treat inflammation and open up pores, making it a good first choice for treating active breakouts.

Tea Tree Oil – An essential oil with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sulfur – A natural mineral with an unmistakable smell, Sulfur can help decrease acne bacteria and remove excess oil from the skin. Sulfur allergies are relatively common, so always patch test to make sure you can tolerate this ingredient.

When using Atolla, you’re able to tailor your customized skincare routine to the seasons through monthly check-ins. The result is a routine packed with complimentary ingredients and designed specifically for your summer skin. This summer we have a lot to celebrate, let's not let pesky warm weather breakouts get in the way.

Simplify your skincare with a custom, complementary routine.