We all love a bit of summer fun in the sun. But what do you do when all of that summer fun starts taking its toll on your skin? It’s just a simple fact that the sun can have a damaging effect on our skin and cause various skin problems. We understand the frustration and we’ve got you covered. Here are the most common summer skin problems and how to fix them to get your skin glowing as bright as the summer sun.
We’re no stranger to acne breakouts, but did you know that simply being out in the sun increases your chances of having an outbreak? Several factors contribute to an outbreak like sweating due to the heat, your pores being open thanks to the high temperatures, and of course the dirt and oil on your hands from being outside. When you combine these three things, you have the perfect recipe for an acne outbreak. When you’re outside and you touch your sweaty face, those germs and bacteria are sure to stick, and since your pores are open, those impurities flood your pores, get trapped inside and become acne.
How to fix it: To fix summer acne be mindful of your skin. Be sure to wash your hands and face regularly to keep from transferring bacteria from your hands to your face and clogging your pores. You should also stay hydrated, as this can help to prevent the buildup of dirt and oil underneath the skin. Also, be sure to wash sweaty clothes and accessories before wearing them again. Remember, sweat helps oils and dirt stick around, so washing them will lower your chances of getting an outbreak. Finally, when applying moisturizer, opt for oil-free products and products that don’t clog pores Here are a few other acne treatment options for you to explore.
2) Dry Skin
The sun is very good at wicking away moisture from surfaces and that includes our skin. This is why we often feel dry and brittle after spending some time in the sun.
How to fix it: Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized will battle the sun’s drying effect. When swimming, the moment you leave the water, take a shower and shampoo your hair to rid your body and hair of any impurities and chemicals that may further dry your skin. Blot yourself dry and apply a generous amount of moisturizer. This will help your skin lock in the moisture as you go on about your day. As a preventative measure, you can use a moisturizing sunscreen that’ll not only protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but it’ll also moisturize your skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple.
Folliculitis is a condition in which hair follicles become infected. Appearing as pimples, these infected follicles become itchy and sore to the touch.
How to fix it: Folliculitis can be treated at home if the symptoms are mild. Applying a warm, wet cloth to the area can help relieve the symptoms and possibly drain the bumps. You can also use hydrocortisone creams to relieve the itching. For more immediate relief, you can purchase over-the-counter antibiotics to help the infection clear up. If symptoms are more severe, doctors can provide medication. It would also be wise to refrain from shaving or do anything that may further irritate the skin.
Melasma is another skin condition brought on by overexposure of the sun. Melasma is the term for the brown or grey “sun spots” that appear on your face and neck. Oftentimes, the sun’s harmful UV rays affect the pigmentation in our skin called melanin. Melanin is responsible for protecting our skin from the sun, so when we get too much of it, melanin kicks into overdrive and floods certain areas, causing that area to appear darker.
How to fix it: Melasma can easily be treated with a cream called hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a skin-bleaching agent that lightens the skin when applied routinely. Read about other melasma treatment options here.
5) Prickly Heat (Heat Rash)
Do you ever get that prickly, itchy feeling when you’re hot and wearing tight clothes? This is called prickly heat and it occurs when your sweat glands are blocked for an extended period of time. The trapped sweat builds up and creates a rash along with small bumps. Eventually, the bumps will burst, giving way to locked in sweat and cause the prickly sensation.
How to fix it: Wearing loose, breathable clothing can help you to completely avoid experiencing prickly heat. Minimizing your sweat can also help. To do this, refrain from going out on extremely hot days, and when partaking in activities that will make you sweat, be sure to do so in a cool area.
6) Hives From Sun Allergy
Believe it or not, some people can develop an allergy to the sun. For some, the allergy is natural, but for many, it is often a reaction brought on by a particular medication they are taking. A mild allergy may result in hives, a breakout of severely itchy bumps and red, dry, scaly skin.
How to fix it: Sun allergy hives typically go away on their own, but a cool compress and medications like antihistamines can help to alleviate symptoms. If you know your medication may cause hives, avoid direct sunlight, wear sunscreen and wear protective clothing including sun hats and glasses.
Sunburn is probably the single most common skin condition experienced during the summer. It occurs when we spend too much time absorbing harmful UV rays. These rays, over time, essentially cook our skin and will cause our DNA to mutate which opens the door for skin cancer.
How to fix it: First and foremost, you should make wearing sunscreen a habit. Every time you go outside, apply sunscreen. Sunscreen not only limits your chances of being sunburned, but it also protects you from developing skin cancer. You can learn more about sunscreen here.
Once you have been sunburnt, however, you can apply aloe vera gel, or other commercial ointments containing aloe, to the sunburnt area. This will soothe the burning sensation and speed up recovery. If the pain is too much to bear, you can take simple painkillers to relieve the pain.
8) Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Rashes
Nothing is more irritating than getting poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash. These plants produce an oily substance called urushiol.
How to fix it: Because it's an oil compound, people often have a hard time treating the allergic reaction. Your best bet is to avoid these plants. Familiarize yourself with them and be sure to avoid areas that they are known to grow.
If you do end up with poisonous plant rash, apply rubbing alcohol to the rash to minimize discomfort. The alcohol will neutralize the oils allowing you to wash it away. Though, if the rash covers a large part of your body, you can take a cool bath or an oatmeal bath to soothe the burn and apply medicated ointments to promote recovery.
These skin problems don’t have to bum out your summer. If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, our experts at The Dermatology Group are here to offer you advice, resources, and any treatment options you may need. Give us a call today!