The summer months, if you’re lucky, are for extra time with friends and fun in the sun. Unfortunately, that same summer sun can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving you feeling somewhat miserable and irritated. The good news? With a little extra TLC, you can stay on top of your summer skin woes, minimize the negative impact of sun exposure, treat symptoms of sun-damaged skin, and continue on with your fun plans.
DRY SKIN IRRITATIONS
While it’s true that the air outdoors is likely very humid, you can still get dry skin. The sun itself has a drying effect, as does spending time in the pool (think chemicals) and dry air-conditioned environments.
You can rehydrate (or prevent dryness) by showering as soon as you get out of the pool, by wearing sunscreen with at least 30+ SPF, and by using regular moisturizers after showers and throughout the day. Make sure your baths and showers are warm – not too hot – and that you are using mild cleansers that aren’t labeled as “antibacterial.
This is the most gentle approach with the least likelihood of causing you to experience drying. For a more advanced approach, a trip to your medical aesthetics clinic may be in order. Consider a custom spa facial with intense rejuvenation or superfood treatments.
Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Limit the amount of coffee and tea you are drinking and increase your intake of coconut water, fresh juices, lemon, orange, cucumber, and other water-heavy fruits and veggies – in addition to drinking water, of course.
Did you call it “prickly heat” when you were a kid? Heat rashes are actually caused when your sweat glands feel overworked and end up clogging. The sweat gets stuck under the surface of your skin and causes a rash with those telltale itchy (prickly) bumps.
Cool compresses work well to soothe the rash itself, but relief is transient. You can also combine 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of water and dab it on with a cotton ball; just make sure to rinse it off after about 10 minutes.
You can also prevent heat rashes by wearing lighter, looser clothing items, exercising during cooler times of the day, and by keeping your skin cooler throughout the day. Avoid heavy body creams and butters as they may block your sweat glands as well.
No one loves acne, especially in the summer. The sweat your body produces gets mixed in with the bacteria and oil that is already on the surface of your skin and (if you’re already prone to acne) this creates the perfect storm. Suddenly, you find yourself counting dots and breaking out the heavy concealers before every night out.
To prevent acne, make sure you are blotting your skin with a clean towel when you are sweating or after swimming. Don’t rub or use harsh materials; blotting is less irritating to your skin. Make sure you are also washing your hats, towels, and even headbands on a regular basis so you aren’t putting sweaty, oily, bacteria-laden clothes back into your skin.
If your skin was super irritated this summer, consider visiting for a facial or a chemical peel for a deep cleanse and to improve the appearance of any scarring. Your local medical aesthetics clinic can also help you treat persistent acne if you’ve been suffering for a long time.
Folliculitis, an annoying and somewhat painful condition occurs when your hair follicles get infected. The infection looks a bit like a pimple and can be very tender. They’re most common on the face, under the armpits, on the chest, and on the thigh area.
You can treat folliculitis by rinsing the area with a mixture that is one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and two parts water. Use a clean cloth to apply it to the infected follicle and avoid picking at it or popping it like a pimple; doing so will just increase your risk of infection.
You can prevent folliculitis by making sure your shaving and waxing routines are completed using the cleanest materials possible. Follow up every session with a soothing gel that closes your hair follicle after irritation, especially if you wax. Never shave over bumps on your skin on purpose; if you do, make sure you change your razor after the next shave.
If folliculitis is a regular, ongoing issue, it may be better to just aim for electrolysis or laser hair removal. A facial is also a great option for rejuvenating and correcting skin irritation after a bout of folliculitis on the face or to keep it healthy and prevent future infections.
Melasma is a very common condition that causes brown or gray-brown patches on your face or anywhere else on the body. It’s incredibly common during pregnancy, as it can be triggered by hormones, but can also be caused by sun damage.
The number one method of prevention is the avid use of SPF on a daily basis, in your moisturizer and in your make-up products. You should also wear a hat for additional protection. Microneedling treatments and chemical peels are some of the best treatments for eliminating this type of hyperpigmentation and other types of sun damage.
While it’s possible, very few people are actually allergic to the sun itself. What they do react to is a combination of certain medications and their exposure to the sun, which can cause hives, itchy skin, and even blisters.
It is incredibly important to check any medications you may be taking (especially antibiotics) to find out if there are warnings about sun exposure. Your best bet is to simply avoid exposure to the sun. If you absolutely must go out, wear sunscreen and clothing items that will cover your skin.
If you do find yourself sunburned, consult your doctor. You may need to stop the medication that interacted with the sun or need additional treatment to stop the hives and irritation. Once your skin has healed, facials, micro-needling, and peels are all great options for reviving your skin, healing some of the sun damage, and rehydrating your skin.
The summer sun can be incredibly harsh on your skin, but that’s no reason to avoid time outdoors with family and loved ones. Do your best to incorporate some preventative treatments into your routine and seek the advice of your favorite skin care professional should you start to notice skin damage or discolorations. The sooner you catch skin issues and begin to treat them, the less resistant they will be.