Long summer days and warm nights bring out the best in terms of lifestyle and living, but the hot weather, swimming and certain products can leave you skin looking and feeling worse for wear. Here are some common summer skin problems and ways to solve them.
If your skin has seen too much sun, provide instant relief with a cooling, soothing lotion containing menthol – an ingredient which provides relief to burnt skin – or aloe vera. Avoid formulations that contain alcohol as they will sting and dry out your skin.
Keeping your skin hydrated will also help prevent peeling and flaking. Keep sunburnt skin cool with a cold compress and, if you’ve developed blisters, keep the area clean and dry. Soak in a bath of cool or lukewarm water with a few drops of oil, such as rosehip oil, to further ease the pain and aid healing.
Avoid the sun until your skin has healed completely, as sunburnt skin is more sensitive.
Even if you don’t usually suffer from body acne breakouts can flare up in summer because increased perspiration, excess oil and grime can lead to clogged pores.
Combat body acne by washing with a body cleanser that contains salicylic acid to unblock pores and dry up excess oil. To rapidly reduce the redness, size and swelling of unsightly blemishes apply a blemish gel to the area.
Avoid wearing tight clothing that holds heat and moisture close to your skin. Change into fresh clothing after exercise. Use an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen.
Spending time in the sun and swimming in the sea or chlorinated water will promptly sap moisture from your skin. Hydrate parched skin from the inside out by consuming plenty of water. Apply moisturising lotion as often as possible.
After swimming, rinse your body with fresh water to avoid salt or chlorine build-up. Use a gentle body wash so to not strip natural oils from your skin.
After bathing, towel-dry and moisturise with a rich lotion while skin is still damp.
Don’t let the bugs bite. If you’re in a bug-prone environment use insect repellent on exposed skin. Help calm and heal bites with an ice pack and apply aloe vera for minor bites or creams from your pharmacy for stronger reactions.
Nothing ruins the look of clean-shaven skin like ingrown hairs. Wash the affected area with an anti-fungal body wash to help calm inflammation.
Every other day gently use a loofah or exfoliating glove – either dry or in the shower – to help dislodge trapped hairs and prevent their return. To avoid more ingrown hairs, shave in the bath or shower while the water plumps up the hairs, making them easier to cut.
Use razors that are designed for a close shave and change blades regularly as a dull blade is more likely to cause ingrown hairs.
Hot and humid weather is a breeding ground for sweat rash. Also known as heat rash or prickly heat, this common condition occurs when dead skin cells or bacteria block the sweat glands. The trapped sweat leads to irritation, itching and an unsightly, sore red rash. This rash is commonly found where the skin rubs together: under the arms, the back of the knees, the groin and under the breasts.
Stay cool and dry where possible and when sweating, make sure you are wearing loose, light clothing.
Use an exfoliating scrub at least twice a week in the shower to slough off dead skin cells. If you develop sweat rash apply a soothing lotion that contains camphor or menthol. You can also take a lukewarm bath with a handful of colloidal (milled) oatmeal or a product that contains oatmeal.
Freckles, age spots and other darkened patches of skin, called hyperpigmentation, can become darker or more pronounced when skin is exposed to the sun because of excess melanin.
To avoid this, minimise your sun exposure during peak sunlight hours, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high SPF and cover up as much as possible.
Keep in mind that some medications, including hormonal supplements, antibiotics and the pill, can increase photosensitivity and have been linked to increased pigmentation.
Rosacea can be triggered by stress, environmental factors, anxiety and even some foods and alcohol. Heat from sunlight and even sunburn can also trigger the condition.
Rosacea usually begins with a “flushed” look on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Over time the redness becomes more frequent and noticeable and small dilated blood vessels and red acne-like bumps appear.
If you’re prone to redness it’s important, particularly during the summer months, to be aware of your particular triggers and always use non-irritating products. Try to keep your face cool and avoid peak sun exposure, warm rooms and hot showers.