Summer is right around the corner! We don’t know about you, but we’re counting down the days until we can get outside and enjoy the sun and warm weather. While you might be looking forward to these activities, it’s important to gear up and protect your skin. Summer can be a time when skin problems flare-up. Here are the most common summer skin problems, and some tips for how to prevent or deal with them.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the skin to burn, leading to pain, swelling, and blistering. To avoid sunburn, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, reapply sunscreen every two hours, seek shade, and wear protective clothing. If you happen to get a sunburn, apply aloe vera gel to the affected area and drink plenty of fluids.
Insects can bite and sting, leaving behind a red, itchy bump in most cases. To avoid bug bites, use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants. If you do get bit, apply a cold compress and an anti-itch cream to the affected area. If you're in pain or develop other symptoms, you should visit a doctor who can take a look at your bite and prescribe over-the-counter medication.
Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples to form on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders. Acne can be caused by a number of factors, such as hormones, stress, and diet — but also sweat. When you're sweaty from exercise or just being in the humid heat, your sweat mixes with the oils and bacteria on your skin, which then clogs your pores. To limit your chance of acne, try to keep your skin clean and dry, don't touch your face, and use non-comedogenic products.
Heat rash, also called prickly heat, is a common summer skin problem. It occurs when sweat ducts become blocked, causing sweat to accumulate on the skin’s surface. It can turn into a red, itchy rash. To prevent heat rash, stay cool and dry, and try your best to stay away from hot, humid environments. And of course, drink plenty of fluids.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It causes itching, redness, and scaling. To ward off athlete’s foot, keep your feet clean and dry, and wear socks and shoes that allow your feet to breathe. If you already have athlete’s foot, use an over-the-counter antifungal medication to treat the infection, and don't share shoes or towels with others.
Swimmer's ear, also called otitis external, is an infection of the outer ear canal. It can cause the skin of the inner ear to be painful, itchy, and ooze discharge. To counter swimmer's ear, use earplugs when swimming, and keep your ears dry by using a cotton ball to clean them after swimming. If you develop swimmer's ear, visit your doctor and use over-the-counter ear drops to treat the infection.
Some people are allergic to the sun. The symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and blisters. Check with your doctor if your current prescriptions have a history of causing reactions when out in the sun. If so, your best bet is to protect yourself from the sun and stay out of it as much as possible.
Folliculitis is a skin infection that affects the hair follicles. It can cause red, pus-filled bumps to form on the skin. To prevent folliculitis, keep your skin clean and dry, don't shave if you have razor burn or cuts on your skin, and wear loose-fitting clothing. If you already have folliculitis, use an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to treat the infection.
Poison ivy is a plant that causes an itchy, red rash in most people who come into contact with it. To avoid poison ivy, stay on trails when hiking and wear long pants and sleeves. If you do come into contact with the plant, wash the affected area with soap and cool water as soon as possible and remove your clothing. If the rash develops blisters, seek medical attention.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It occurs when abnormal cells form in the skin and can lead to tumors. To steer clear of skin cancer, follow the same suggestions as preventing a sunburn — use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, seek shade, wear protective clothing, and avoid tanning beds. If you notice any changes in your skin, including new growths, lumps, or changes in the color or shape of existing moles, visit a skin cancer dermatologist. It is much better to catch skin cancer at the onset than wait until it has spread.
Schedule an Appointment for Summer Skin Problems
These are some of the most common summer skin problems. By knowing how to prevent them, you can enjoy summer without having to worry about your skin. And if you do develop a skin problem, don't hesitate to seek medical help at Complete Family Dermatology. Our board-certified dermatologist and team of physician assistants will be happy to help you clear up your skin conditions. Contact us at 402-423-1111. We're here for the whole family!
12 Summer Skin Problems You Can Prevent
, American Academy of Dermatology Association.