Summer officially “kicked off” on June 21, and even though this season tends to be a scorcher, families are likely to spend more time together outside during this time of the year. Whether you are going on a summer vacation, attending a sporting event, or taking part in a beach day; the more time you spend outside, the more you will be likely to increase your risk of developing a myriad of skin conditions and rashes.
Keep reading to learn more about how to prevent and treat the following common summertime skin issues.
Do you ever notice that spending long periods of time in the sun creates brown or blueish-gray patches or spots that look like large freckles on your skin? This condition is known as melasma. People who develop this will notice these patches on their cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, and chin. Melasma is caused by the overproduction of cells that are responsible for your skin’s pigment. To treat melasma, your dermatologist may prescribe a cream that includes a retinoid, corticosteroid to reduce inflammation, and hydroquinone to even out your skin tone. The best way to prevent melasma is to limit your time in the sun and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher throughout the day.
Prickly Heat Rash
When moisture gets trapped under your skin, your sweat ducts can become clogged. This may result in an irritating rash called prickly heat, or miliaria. You may experience itching, large patches of red skin, and small blisters. You may also notice that your skin feels prickly or has a sensation of stinging. You can soothe irritated and itchy skin by applying over-the-counter topical solutions like calamine lotion, a cortisone cream, or an antihistamine spray. To prevent prickly heat, it’s important to change into dry clothing immediately following an activity in which your body produces sweat, or you get wet. It’s also recommended that you limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its UV rays are the strongest.
Sunburn & Sun Poisoning
Perhaps this is the most common of skin conditions when it comes to unprotected overexposure to the sun. Not only does sunburn cause painful blisters, skin damage, dark spots, dry skin, and wrinkles, it can drastically increase your chances of developing skin cancer. If your sunburn is severe, you may also develop symptoms such as dizziness, dehydration, fever, chills, swelling, and nausea. To treat sunburn, you may need to ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain, use cool compresses, apply aloe vera on affected areas, and stay hydrated. Be sure to stay out of the sun, especially when healing from a sunburn. The best way to prevent a sunburn is to avoid tanning beds, cover up in protective clothing, and wear sunscreen every single day – even on gloomy, overcast, and rainy days.
When your hair follicles become damaged, you may be prone to developing folliculitis. Heat and moisture are the two most common damagers of hair follicles and can lead to a breeding ground for infection. When you have folliculitis, you will likely notice acne-like breakouts that are itchy and may have red rings around them. If you are unsure of whether or not you have folliculitis, or another type of infection, it’s best to visit your dermatologist to have a skin exam. From there, you may be advised to use a medication or antibiotic for treatment. To prevent folliculitis, try not to wear tight clothes while working out and sweating, wash your bathing suit or after each use and let it dry before wearing it again, and take extra care when shaving.
You might not think about dry skin during the most humid time of the year, however, going from hot outside air to cool indoor air, and spending a lot of time in the ocean or pool can cause your skin to become dry and agitated. If you are experiencing dry skin, try taking lukewarm showers or baths, use a mild, gentle soap to wash yourself, and coat your skin with a soothing, fragrance-free moisturizer. Additionally, shower, dry off, and put on fresh, dry clothes after spending a few hours swimming in the pool. If you don’t have a shower available, bring some bottled water to wipe yourself down or rinse off after pool time. Shower or rinse off after a beach outing too. The combination of heat, sand, and salt water can dry out your skin and cause itchiness and irritation.
Most of these issues do resolve on their own with proper home care, however, if you experience any of the above conditions and are unsure of next steps on how to establish a proper treatment regime, contact your dermatologist for a comprehensive skin examination.
Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers provides a full spectrum of dermatology and skin care services, and its team of physicians, APRNs, and PAs are experts in diagnosing and treating skin cancers with the latest technological options. Dr. K. Wade Foster is fellowship-trained in Mohs surgery, the most effective technique for most types of skin cancers, with minimal scarring or risk.
FLDSCC brings an unmatched level of services to all our patients, and we are confident in our approach to treat skin cancer most effectively and efficiently. Fortunately, skin cancer treatment, specifically melanoma, has a very favorable outcome since if it is detected early, it’s almost always treatable.
For more information about services that Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers provides, or to make an appointment for a skin exam, visit www.fldscc.com or contact us at 863.293.2147.