Summer is Right Around the Corner. Here are 10 Summer Skin Problems and How to Prevent Them

Are you looking forward to hiking and biking through your favorite park this summer? Are you counting down the days until your next trip to the beach? Or are you dreaming about finally checking off those backyard projects?

While you may be looking forward to long summer days, lots of things can wreak havoc on your skin if you’re not careful. In this blog, Oswald Mikell, MD, of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry discusses ten common skin problems people experience in the summer and how you can protect yourself.

1. Sunburn

Sunburn is possibly the most common summer skin concern. Even if you wear sunscreen and reapply it regularly, chances are good you’ve still gotten a painful, red burn at one time or another. 

Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day to protect your skin. Furthermore, consider wearing clothing with UV-blocking properties and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face. If you do notice a sunburn, stay out of the sun as it heals. More sun exposure can heighten skin damage.

2. Heat rash

When sweat glands get clogged, sweat can’t escape your body. It will build up under your skin, and an itchy rash of tiny bumps can form. This skin problem is sometimes called prickly heat, because skin feels prickly when the bumps burst.

You can help prevent getting a heat rash by avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day. Furthermore, wear cool, loose-fitting clothing, and if you do sweat, wipe it away to keep your skin as dry as possible. To lower your body temperature, consider taking cool showers.

3. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an infection that forms in hair follicles. Folliculitis looks like pimples, but the bumps are often tender or itchy. It’s a common skin condition in the summer, because pore-clogging bacteria thrive on sweaty skin.

Showering as soon as you can after you sweat is the best way to prevent folliculitis. Don’t rewear sweaty clothing. To reduce buildup in pores, consider using a noncomedogenic sunscreen on your whole body.

4. Eczema flare-ups

Eczema is a chronic condition that causes patches of itchy, red, cracked skin to develop. Summer weather may make eczema flare-ups more likely. Hotter temperatures can irritate skin, and sweat can quickly collect in the bends of elbows and knees, which are areas eczema commonly appears.

To reduce the risk of eczema flare-ups in the summer, strive to maintain a moderate body temperature. Regularly rinse sweat from your skin with clean water, keep your skin moisturized throughout the season, and change into fresh clothing often.

5. Acne breakouts

Acne forms when pores in your skin get clogged with oil and bacteria. When it’s hot outside, your body can sweat more. Sweaty skin is more likely to collect oil and bacteria buildup, making acne breakouts a real possibility.

If you have acne-prone skin, take extra precautions to avoid sweating excessively. Pat your skin gently to remove sweat rather than rub it off, as this can irritate your skin more. And always wash sweaty clothing, hats, and towels before using them again.

6. Poison ivy rash

Poison ivy is a plant with an oily resin that generates an itchy skin rash. It’s a common problem for anyone who spends time hiking, biking, or enjoying the outdoors. Poison oak and poison sumac are other common plants that can cause itchy, painful rashes.

Learn to identify the leaves of poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Once you recognize the leaves, you can avoid them. If you do come in contact with leaves, wash your clothing and skin as soon as possible. Hydrocortisone ointment can soothe itchy skin and promote healing.

7. Bug bites

Spending more time outdoors in the summer means increased exposure to bugs. Female mosquitoes bite, leaving a bit of saliva in your skin and stimulating your body’s histamine response. The red, itchy bump is your body’s reaction to the bite.

Wearing bug repellant and protective clothing ― such as long sleeves and pants ― can prevent insects from reaching your skin and attacking. But if you do suffer a bite, don’t scratch it. Scratching an itchy bite can irritate your skin, increase damage, and slow healing time.

8. Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common type of fungal infection that makes skin between your toes itchy and uncomfortable. It can happen any time of the year, but it often develops if you have sweaty feet in warm, damp environments.

Avoid getting athlete’s foot by making sure your feet are dry and protected. Consider using an antifungal powder in your shoes and between your toes. Furthermore, change your socks if you sweat through them and don’t wear wet shoes. 

9. Melasma

Melasma is a skin condition that causes discolored patches to appear. It primarily affects the face, and patches are often grey or brown in color. People with melasma generally have it year-round, but sun exposure can make patches darker.

Limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen and a hat when you go outside are the best ways to control melasma. If you’re bothered by severe melasma, talk with Dr. Mikell about other treatment options, such as topical medications.

10. Skin cancer

If you’re spending time in the sun this summer, it could increase your risk for developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it develops when harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger abnormal skin cell growth. 

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to stay in the shade when the sun is the strongest, from 10am-4pm. Protect your skin with sunscreen and cover up with clothing and a broad-brimmed hat. 

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends doing a self-exam to check for signs of skin cancer once a month. At Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, we offer comprehensive skin cancer care, from evaluations to the best in treatment options.

This summer, let us help you take care of your skin. To learn more about preventing sun damage, rashes, and other problems, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today.

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