Summer is here, which means it’s that time of year when we bust out our cute sunnies. Since June is also Acne Awareness Month, we wanted to know if our favorite pair of sunglasses can lead to unwanted breakouts or if they can make our existing acne worse.
It’s no secret that we sweat more in the summertime, and when we add makeup to the mix, it can all stick to our sunnies and possibly cause acne. To figure out if sunglasses can really lead to breakouts, we asked Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at NYC’s Mount Sinai Hospital. He told HelloGiggles: "In some cases, sunglasses can lead to acne breakouts. Friction, along with a buildup of oil and dirt in the area where the glasses touch the skin, can lead to inflammation and block pores, which in turn may lead to an acne breakout."
He explained that there are ways to keep this from happening or to avoid it completely. And while some of it might seem like common sense — like the fact that you should clean your sunglasses regularly — he made some helpful points. "Make sure that your glasses properly fit to minimize rubbing against the skin. Clean your glasses regularly to remove dirt and oil, which may accumulate on the surface. If you are wearing makeup or sweating a lot, you may need to clean your glasses more than once per day."
Dave Allison, founder of sunglasses brand Sunday Somewhere, offered specific tips on keeping our shades clean to help the fight against acne. He suggested that we not only clean the lenses but also wipe our frame and nose area with a soft cloth to remove oil and debris. He also recommended that we should “wash the entire frame with mild soap and water to remove any dead skin cells and oil left over after cleaning the frame with a soft cloth.”
Allison also advises to store glasses in its container, which will help prevent future or existing breakouts. He explained: "When not wearing your frames, ensure that you keep them inside their box to avoid any environmental dust and dirt building up on them. Also, avoid wearing the frames on your head as hair produces oils throughout the day that mix with the hair product that can transfer to your frames and eventually to acne-prone areas."
So what should you do if you already have pimples due to wearing sunglasses? Dr. Zeichner offered a few solutions, including key acne-fighting ingredients. “For over-the-counter, look for acne treatment products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.”
He added: "Benzoyl peroxide helps reduce levels of acne-causing bacteria on the skin that promote inflammation and lead to breakouts. Salicylic acid helps keep the pores clear and dries out pimples that have already formed. If your acne is not improving in two to four weeks of regularly using an over-the-counter acne medication, visit a board-certified dermatologist for a personalized regimen."
Dr. Zeichner also shared a few products you can easily pick up at the drugstore to help with breakouts, including the Dove Exfoliating Beauty Bar. It offers gentle manual exfoliation to keep pores clear, while respecting the skin barrier. It is a great daily option for people who suffer from occasional breakouts. Also, the St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Scrub. If you have very oily skin and frequent breakouts, this scrub combines manual exfoliation with salicylic acid. Lastly, a spot treatment with a salicylic acid gel in the area that your glasses touch the skin can help prevent breakouts.”
When it comes to wearing both makeup and sunglasses, Dr. Zeichner suggested we be mindful of the products we use so that we can prevent or help current breakouts. "If you are going to use makeup, look for one that contains salicylic acid at a low concentration to keep pores clear. For example, Neutrogena Acne Clearing Makeup. As an alternative, look for mineral-based or powder foundations."
Hopefully, these tips help you out if you’re dealing with pesky breakouts due to sunglasses. Because one thing is for sure: We are not giving up our sunnies this time of year.