How to Prevent Summertime Skin Damage

Do you want to soak in the sun this summer without experiencing any skin issues? Here's how!

Every year, as summer rolls around, you probably imagine yourself transforming into a glowing bronze goddess. Or, for those of you with fairer skin tones, you just picture glowing, dewy, plump skin. Are you looking forward to a camping trip and lots of hiking? What about biking around the park? A summer by the water? It’s thought that the cool salty ocean waves will wash away any impurities and the sun's rays will bring life to the pale sunken wintertime skin. 

Yet, as you return from your summertime vacation in paradise, you may find that if you haven’t taken the correct precautions, you’re met with something entirely unexpected and unwelcome. You could find yourself, in arguably the most beautiful and happy season of the year, with red, flaking skin, blisters, rashes, sun spots, breakouts, flare ups and longer down the line, premature wrinkles. 

While there are benefits for your skin in this new climate, you could miss them if you don’t take care of your skin properly. This summer, let us help you take care of your skin to ensure this doesn’t happen. Read on to find out what you can do – even now, as you begin to spend more time outdoors. 

Sunburn

Young boy with sunscreen on his shoulder in the shape of a sun
Is there a group of people that shouldn’t use sunscreen? In case you’re wondering, the answer is no. 

Sunburn is probably the most common summer skin concern. Chances are, even those of you who swear by sunscreen have probably suffered a red, painful burn at one point in their lives. On your list of 5 things you never leave the home without, sunscreen should come in at #1. To make sure you don’t forget it, keep a bottle around that you can mix in with your moisturizer as you do your daily skincare routine. And, of course, keep a travel bottle in all of your bags and car compartments. 

You are going to want to re-apply that bad-boy every couple of hours because one application simply won’t cut it. Don’t forget the lips, feet, and ears. It’s easy to forget the little places, but essentially anywhere that there’s skin, you can burn. As a rule of thumb, if it’s not covered by clothing, it should be coated. And, if you're in the water all day, where the sunbeams reflect off the surface and magnify, your chances of burning increase. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, for the sunscreen to actually have an effect, you are going to want to make sure that you are using SPF 30 or higher. Not only will this one product prevent a world of pain, but there’s a consensus in the world of dermatology that SPF is the most important anti-aging tool you can use. Leaving your skin unprotected from UV rays can lead to skin issues like hyperpigmentation, inflammation, fine lines - and worst case scenario - skin cancer. 

With new and improved formulations of sunscreens, from mineral wear options to those offering a faux glow, long gone are the days of greasy, pore-clogging masks that leave a white cast. So, whether you choose a modern sunscreen with all the bells and whistles or stick to a revamped classic, there is no excuse for not protecting your skin. 

Heat Rash

Three people hiking in the heat of summer
Prepare for more hikes and walks, but also more skin-on-skin friction this summer!

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat or miliaria,  is a summertime sidekick to sunburn and it isn’t just for babies. Those elevated temperatures have you sweating like a pig, and if your sweat ducts get clogged, you are in a world of trouble. 

The sweat becomes trapped under the skin and like a sunburn, results in red, inflamed skin. However, unlike a sunburn, the area affected does not have to be exposed to the sun and is often accompanied by an itching, burning sensation. Hot, humid weather is the prime culprit. However, in the spirit of summertime activities, we’re not going to tell you not to join in on a volleyball game or not to go on a bike ride. Instead, in order to decrease your chances of acquiring a heat rash while still having your summer fun, take our advice:

  • Wear loose clothing
  • Wipe away sweat
  • Cool off by a fan (if possible)
  • Change out of sweaty clothes
  • Wear deodorant in the underarms and skin folds (e.g. groin folds, thighs, under breasts, etc.) 

With these tricks in mind, you can plan your events ahead to make sure you're prepared to fight off a heat rash. 

Folliculitis

In the name of sweaty skin and clogged pores, there is another common summertime skin condition called folliculitis, an infection that forms in hair follicles. Upon first glance, folliculitis looks like your common case of an acne breakout. However, the folliculitis bumps are often tender or itchy. In the summer, when you're enjoying yourself out by the pool, it’s easy to come by pore-clogging bacteria and fungi that thrive on your perspiring skin. 

In fact, you’ve probably had it at some point and just thought it was a pimple. Most times, the infection clears on its own with no complications. But, to avoid a bump on your skin - and to your ego - during a time when you’re exposing more skin than usual, here are some guidelines to help avoid folliculitis:

  • Shower as soon as you can after you sweat
  • Don’t rewear sweaty clothing
  • Use non comedogenic sunscreen 
  • Avoid tight clothing, especially rough fabric (e.g. jeans)
  • Avoid sharing personal products, such as razors and towels

The word infection can be unsettling, but contracting a folliculitis bump is par for the course during summer and nothing to excruciate over. 

Acne Breakouts

Woman on a floaty in the ocean during summer
There’s a fine line between sweating and glowing, and the difference is acne. Try to keep your pores unclogged this summer!

As the temperature begins to warm up, you are going to want to pull out your favorite swimsuit and tank top for your summertime attire. However, pimples don’t go so well with your favorite summertime look, and they certainly don’t pair well with the season of sweat and makeup-free skin. With more sweating, comes more clogged pores and a greater chance of breaking out. Also, with COVID still floating around,  you may not be able to ditch your mask entirely this summer, and so mascne may be out for vengeance for the third year in a row.  

The mixture of sweat, grime, products, and mask-induced friction that layer onto the skin during the summer months is a recipe for acne, essentially. All of these factors combined come to produce an obstruction in the pores and the development of microcomedones - or very tiny acne blemishes - where bacteria can inhabit, thrive, and inflame. So, how might you avoid this or at the very least, mitigate it? Here’s how:

  • Always wear a clean mask
  • Don’t pop your pimples – as much as you want to
  • Shower and wash your face 1-2 times a day
  • Switch to a lighter, water-based moisturizer
  • Use a foam cleanser
  • Oil-free, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free sunscreen 

If after pulling out all the stops your acne isn’t going away, consult an expert for help. Don’t waste a fortune on products that promise to remove acne, but that don’t remove yours. 

With summer right around the corner, feel prepared to battle the most common skin issues posing a threat in warmer climates using these guidelines.  And, as always, don’t forget to enjoy yourself – we know we will!

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