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Cleansing more vital during summer

By Al Varela

Deal Al: Now that it's summertime, I have more blackheads. Although I wash my face daily, I can't get rid of them. Could the warm temperatures be contributing to my problem? I also have white bumps in the neck area under the ear. Are these two problems related?

There is a misconception that just because the summer months inspire a lighter lifestyle-- eating lighter foods, wearing less clothes and floating in water, that we don't need to worry about skin care. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

In fact, I can't emphasize enough the importance of the cleansing process during the summer. Summer's heat, with it's increased sun exposure and perspiration, means that we truly have to take care of our skin a lot more.

Our skin produces more sebum or oil, in the hot weather. When the sebum comes to the surface of the skin it oxidizes and forms what we know as a blackhead. There are some lucky people who produce sebum that does not turn black. Instead of a blackhead, they end up with just a white bump.

We need to allow the pores to open up so that the excess sebum, dirt and pollution that are inevitable when we are outdoors, are allowed to come out. Our pores naturally expand with the heat or any form of exercising. This means we have to get in there and cleanse them to ensure that all these "bad things" are removed.

It is important to take your cleanser and work it into the skin with only your hands and fingertips. Don't use buff puffs or anything that is going to be abrasive. Rinse off or towel off the cleanser well. I don't recommend using tissue, because tissues are made from wood byproducts that can irritate the skin. This cleansing process should be repeated.

Next, after drying your skin, apply a toner that does not contain alcohol and finally moisturize your skin using a moisturizer appropriate for your skin type. You may need to exfoliate or masque more during the summer months. However, this is just to supplement your cleansing ritual. And always make sure your skin is well hydrated since the sun causes the skin to be more dry. Drink that water!

Sometimes it takes a little elbow grease to keep the oils from getting the best of you.

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