Summer Skin Problems And Their Remedies
Summer is here and is accompanied by several skin problems. So, how do we ensure it stays protected, hydrated and infection-free? This article looks at remedies for many summer skin problems.
By Dr. Rinky Kapoor
Aravind Swamy, a senior executive with and advertising agency, hates summer. The reason is every time, when the season arrives, he suffers from a bout of prickly heat. Although, he takes many precautions like wearing full sleeved clothes, hats, applying sunscreen whenever he steps outdoors, yet he cannot escape prickly heat.
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If you suffer from prickly heat like Aravind or any other common skin problems in summer, this article looks at some summer skin problems and their remedies.
Summer skin problems and their remedies
1. Prickly heat: (Ghamori)
When one suffers from prickly heat, an intense itchy prickly rash develops in all body parts, which are covered by clothing, due to blockage of sweat glands. If severe, it can cause heat stroke which can turn serious as the body is unable to control its temperature.
Prevention and Treatment
- Avoid direct exposure to hot humid conditions and try to stay away from strenuous physical activity.
- Keep the affected area cool and dry with a fan, a cool shower or in air-conditioning.
- Wear loose cotton clothing and avoid oil-based products.
- Calamine lotion and /or a doctor prescribed mild steroid cream can relieve itching and irritation. Prickly heat powders also soothe the skin.
- Oatmeal baths, applying Multani mitti, sandalwood or Neem paste followed by washing it off with cool water can be done at home.
- Keep well hydrated with fresh fruit juices, water, glucose or Vitamin C drink. Avoid cold drinks as they cause more dehydration.
2. Pimples and oily skin
The sebum (oil) produced by oil glands, a collection of the dead skin cells and dirt blocking the pores is the perfect recipe for pimples. Also, if you are putting makeup with brushes and sponges which are not cleaned well, and not applying the right kind of makeup, you are inviting breakouts on your skin.
Prevention and treatment
- Wash face clean thrice a day using an anti-acne face wash that contains ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, mild micro-sponge beads, tea tree oil, neem, or other such anti-acne compounds which give deep pore cleansing.
- Keep makeup application tools clean. Use non-acnegenic makeup products.
- Cut down on sugared, processed dairy and fried fast food eatables.
- Keep oil blotting sheets or anti-acne pads handy.
- Anti-acne masks like black mud face packs, fullers’ earth face packs have their benefits too.
- Doctor prescribed anti-acne medication may be needed in severe cases, to help reduce the oiliness of your skin, followed by latest laser procedures to get rid of unsightly acne scars.
3. Suntan and pigmentation
Suntan is the body's defence against strong sunlight. But longer or stronger sun exposure can cause redness, peeling and itchy skin causing sunburn, and eventually, lead to a more permanent problem of pigmentation.
Prevention and treatment
- Apply a broad spectrum UVA, B and C blocking sunscreen that suits your skin type. It should be SPF 30 and above, water and sweat resistant. a proper sunscreen needs to be applied 20 minutes before stepping out into the sun and reapplied every 3 hours if you are out in the sun for that long or more. Sunscreens help limit sun damage, freckles, sun spots, wrinkles, pigmentation and skin cancer. A dermatologist can advise best on the right type of sunscreen for your skin.
- Use umbrellas, caps, wide-brimmed hats, loose light coloured, long sleeved cotton clothing etc. for sun protection.
- Good quality UV blocking eye shades are a must for eye protection.
- Drink lots of water and keep hydrated.
- Post-sun exposure DNA repair creams are available now, good for people working long hours in the sun. Applying aloe vera or calamine lotion can help soothe burned areas.
- If travelling by cars, use sun shields on window screens.
- Oral antioxidants and 1000mgs of Vitamin C daily will also help.
- To undo the effects of tanning, seek procedures like facials, laser skin rejuvenation, chemical peels or Microdermabrasion, as advised by your dermatologist.
4. Bacterial and fungal skin infections
This is common in people using public transport and moving in crowded places as these infections are contagious. Bacterial infections like boils, folliculitis, and fungal infections of underarms, waistline and groins occur due to a combination of heat, humidity, wearing tight clothes, obesity, and unclean environment.
Prevention and treatment
- Keep your hands clean and washed most of the times, or use a hand sanitizer.
- Use loose clothes, avoid using swimming pools which are not properly disinfected, prevent cuts when shaving.
- Avoid overcrowded areas. Take a shower once you reach home with an antibacterial soap. Use anti-fungal powders in the body folds, especially in Diabetics
- Consult a Dermatologist if the infections do not resolve.
- Treat all infected contacts in the family or workplace else recurrence is the norm.
5. Sun allergy
Reddish, itchy hives on the skin are suggestive of sun allergy. Some people develop polymorphous light eruption wherein the skin reacts with redness and itching every time there is sun exposure at the same place always. In case of allergy, the skin will react every time there is sun exposure. This is difficult to treat. Prevention is the same as mentioned in the last section.
Hot, summer days are here again and with it, comes the inevitable skin problems. So, what do we do? The ClipBook below looks at summer skin problems and their remedies.
6. Unmanageable hair
In summer, hair becomes static, dry, brittle and frizzy as humidity and heat damage the cuticle (outer layer) of hair. Scalp tends to get stickier because of excessive sweating.
Prevention and treatment
Wash hair 2-3 times a week to keep it clean and less greasy. Use a mild shampoo followed by a good conditioner. Use anti-dandruff shampoo once a week if prone to dandruff. Leave in conditioners help protect the hair by sealing in the moisture and protecting hair from sun and pollution.
Apple cider vinegar diluted and poured on hair after shampooing can help to restore the shine.
If leaving the hair open, use hair conditioners/serums containing sunscreen, after hair wash. Ideally, hair tied up helps as the hair may get greasy due to sweat and get rough due to the heat.
So, the answer lies in keeping yourself well hydrated, protecting your skin from sun overexposure and reducing conditions amenable to infections.
The author is Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics.
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