Summertime fun in the sun also brings humidity, grime, and sweat -- a perfect storm for summer skin problems.
Rashes, fungal infections, and razor bumps are just some of the many heat-associated pitfalls of an otherwise enjoyable season. To help you maintain clear, healthy skin through the warm weather, let's examine the causes of these common issues and what you can do to prevent an uncomfortable summer.
Common Summer Skin Problems
While increased exercise, vitamin D, and fresh air are great health benefits of summer, sweat-inducing activities combined with scorching temperatures can lead to skin maladies such as athlete's foot, yeast infections (also known as tinea versicolor), folliculitis, and heat rash.
Many of these conditions can be resolved with a visit to the dermatologist and the proper application of antibacterial or antifungal medications, but these can be expensive and time-consuming, not to mention uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are plenty of preventive measures that can reduce your risk of a heat-related skin condition.
Prevention and Protection
The most important step you can take to avoid summer skin problems is to keep your skin clean and dry. Frequent bathing will remove dirt and sweat, the prime breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria. Make sure to keep skin folds, such as between the toes and under the arms, especially clean.
Keeping your skin clean and dry also includes making good clothing choices. Avoid damp, sweaty clothing -- tight, spandex-based items like leggings and bathing suits, for example -- for long periods of time. Bring clothes to change into when you go to the beach, and try to rinse off before putting them on.
Here are a few other preventive measures to keep in mind:
- Know the hottest time of the day in your region, and try to avoid being outside or in direct sunlight during those hours to help prevent sun allergy, heat rash, and sunburn.
- Bacteria in under-chlorinated pools can ruin summer fun. Talk to the pool's owner about their chlorination practices before diving in.
- Whether you're in a pool or fresh water, consider wearing aquatic shoes, a long-sleeved spandex suit, and a swim cap to fully protect your skin.
- Know the difference between sunscreen and sunblock, and ask your dermatologist what SPF is best for your skin type. Make sure to apply your chosen sun protection at least 15 minutes before going outside, and use waterproof sunblock before and after swimming to protect against sunburn.
If you're experiencing a skin problem with severe, uncomfortable, or lasting symptoms, be sure to speak with your dermatologist -- your acne or itchy rash could be something more than just an unsightly annoyance. Otherwise, being smart about staying clean, dry, and protected from the sun should help you maintain beautiful, healthy summer skin.