With the onset of summer months come picnics, trips to the beach or the pool and a plethora of summer skin problems. The best way to quickly treat and prevent these summer skin issues is to use the best sun protection available. In fact; according to the FDA reports, even winter skiers and fall hikers should be wary of the sun as the number of cases of sunburns, heat rashes and other skin problems are actually on the rise in these months as well. Additionally, warmer climate also brings out bugs, fungi, poison ivy and other elements that cause skin problems. In this brief guide, we will study a number of ways to counter them.
Sun Safety: The best way to prevent summer skin problems
The last 3 decades have seen a spike in the cases of skin cancer. Research has now proven that even on cloudy days, the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun are at work. Not only do they lead to skin pigmentation, premature aging, and other relatively minor skin ailments; they are also proven to lead to skin tumors. The worst part regarding UV radiation is that it is completely invisible. Hence, people tend to think that at the most, UV rays only lead to tanning and sunburn. However; the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) along with the EPA(The Environmental Protection Agency) and NCSCP (National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention) are working together to spread the word on sun safety.
Accordingly, the 4 basic rules to prevent summer skin problems caused by the sun include the Slip, Slap, Slop and Wrap techniques.
- Slip- Slip on a long sleeved shirt.
- Slap- Slap on a wide brimmed hat.
- Slop- Slop on sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 or more.
- Wrap- Wrap yourself with sunglasses.
Up until the recent past; people mistakenly believed that sun damage and related minor and major summer skin problems were limited only to people of certain race and skin colors. Today; it has been established that no matter what your skin color, we are all prone to sun damage. However, people with following features are even more likely to suffer:
- Pale skin.
- Having blond or red hair.
- Those who have already been treated for summer skin problems before.
- Those with family members prone to skin issues.
Additionally, people taking certain medicines are also more likely to get more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
Hives and Heat Rashes: Staying cool is the key to prevention
Experts also warn that people prone to summer skin problems must try and avoid the midday sun, especially the time between 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest and the UV damage is highest. Even if you are indoors, you must stay as cool as possible, particularly if you are prone to hives, heat rashes, skin sores and dry and chapped lips. This can be done by:
- Taking cool baths.
- Avoiding strenuous activities to prevent sweating and doing them during the cooler hours.
- Dressing in lightweight reflective clothes.
- Drinking plenty of fluids (while avoiding alcoholic beverages, tea and coffee).
- Spending time in air conditioned places as far as possible.
- Applying cool powders to prevent heat rashes. Make sure that the products you use are free of dyes, perfumes and other ingredients that further irritate the skin.
- Eating smaller portions of protein rich foods. Also eating plenty of cooling vegetables and fruits like cucumbers, melons, salads etc.
It is very important to watch out for signs of sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat strokes particularly after having spent time in the sun. Sunburn is a common summer skin problem characterized by red, inflamed skin, blisters, swelling, nausea and fever. Sometimes, the skin blisters also erupt and break requiring antibiotic or steroidal creams for healing. Severe cases of these summer skin problems must be brought to the immediate attention of a doctor.
Bug Bites: A common summer skin problem
Another common issues arising due to the summer heat is bug bites. Summer is a prime time for all the creepy crawlers to come out and multiply. Naturally, skin itchiness is a common symptom of these which may be also accompanied by blisters, bumps, redness, oozing, flaking etc.
The best way to prevent and treat bug bites is:
- Use insect repellent sprays, lotions.
- Wear light colored clothes.
- Grow herbs and plants that repel insects: these are rosemary, basil, catnip, rose germanium etc.
- Apply calendula, aloe vera based lotions.
- Take antihistamine to counter itchiness, swelling, pain, inflammation etc.
Watch out for tick bites if you are living in tick infested woody areas. See a doctor immediately if you develop fever, muscle aches, extreme fatigue etc following a tick bite. Ticks can cause dangerous diseases like Lyme’s, Rocky Mountain fever, tularemia etc.
Poison Ivy rashes
Rashes resulting from playing outside in the grass in summer often result in poison ivy rashes. They usually appear in the form of red, blistered warm patches on parts of the skin that has come in contact with the creepers. The best way to counter this summer skin problem is to wash hands and legs and apply calamine lotion or OTC hydrocortisone cream on the rash. Secondly, one must take oral antihistamine to reduce swelling.
Athlete’s Foot and Jock Itch
Fungal skin infections also increase during the warm and humid months. The best way of treating these summer skin problems is to use antifungal skin creams, powders and lotions while keeping the skin clean, cool and dry as far as possible. In extreme cases, these summer skin issues might need prescription antifungal medicines for resolution.
These are few of the important summer skin problems as well as ways and remedies for treating and preventing them.