If simply standing outdoors is leaving your face covered in a layer of moisture, and you've been experiencing an increased number of breakouts over the past few weeks, rest assured, it's perfectly normal.
Our skin prefers a balance of humid and arid climates, says Dr Ghada Ashour, specialist dermatologist at Medcare Hospital in Dubai. While that means a lack of humidity in the air can dry out the skin, too much can leave it feeling clammy or oily and lead to an increase in breakouts.
“Sweat evaporates more slowly because of the humidity levels in the air, and sebaceous glands work overtime due to the heat. This combination leads to clogged pores and pimples,” she explains.
Another reason humidity can lead to breakouts is that too much moisture in the air clogs the pores, and dust and bacteria tend to settle on sticky skin, resulting in acne, infections and irritations.
"People with existing acne may have their skin worsened by too much humidity. Meanwhile, sweat rash, often diagnosed in warm climates with excess humidity, is another common uncomfortable skin condition," says Ashour.
Sweat rash, caused by clogged sweat glands, can be avoided by wearing cotton clothes, taking daily showers with warm water and drying the skin gently after exercise.
Here are some other tips to soothe skin irritated by humid weather:
Keep your skin clean
Dr Amanjot Kaur, specialist dermatologist at RAK Hospital, says basic hygiene is necessary. She recommends washing your face twice a day, using gentle moisturisers and sunscreen, and ensuring hands are clean before touching the face.
“For the body, taking a bath once a day is a must, preferably after sweaty activities like exercising. Drying gently but completely before wearing clothes to avoid trapping moisture is recommended. Wear freshly washed loose cotton or linen clothes and open footwear to avoid fungal infections.”
Avoid too much time outdoors
If you're finding that the humid weather is affecting your skin in a negative manner, Ashour recommends staying in an air-conditioned space as much as possible. "Use a dehumidifier and ensure your home is well-ventilated. Try to reduce indoor plants if the humidity level in your living space is already too high."
Choose your skincare products wisely
Wondering what products are best for skin affected by humidity? Kaur says a gel-based lightweight moisturiser can help reduce dehydration of the skin and regulate its natural oil production. She also recommends using a moisturiser with SPF in the morning, and a water and sweat-resistant gel-based sunscreen (applied every three to four hours during the day, even if it's cloudy).
Avoid heavy make-up
Heavy, full coverage make-up can block the pores or worsen acne, says Ashour. "It is always better to choose water-based, non-comedogenic products," she says.
Meanwhile, Kaur recommends using powder or lotion-based cosmetics, rather than cream or mousse-based make-up products. "If using heavy make-up during humid conditions, remove it as soon as you get home using micellar water."
Watch your diet
You are what you eat, and your diet can contribute to the quality of your skin. Dermatologists recommend drinking at least two litres of water every day and including plenty of fruit and vegetables in your daily intake.
"Keep a water bottle wherever you go and keep sipping. Drinking water infused with mint, lemon and cucumber overnight, to hydrate your skin and also get micronutrients, is recommended," says Kaur.