top tips to fix your summer skin problemsSunspots, Sunburn, leathery & dry skin?
As with any season, our skin changes to adapt. Summer brings about major weather changes and, of course, we have the Sun. During the warmer months, it's super important we spend time looking after our skin and bodies, the last thing anyone wants is dehydrated, sunburnt, blistering skin! We asked our expert dermatologist Dr Kathleen Eusebio-Alpapara how best to manage the top 9 skin problems many of us experience during summer.
Problem: The sun made my skin leathery. It's also burned and peeling.
If the sun is already making your skin leathery, then you have had too much-unprotected exposure so your skin is prematurely ageing. Leathery skin may also be caused by untreated irritated skin. Sunburned skin can start to feel leathery once your skin reaches that dreaded peeling stage. Below are some tips to help.
- Apply Sunscreen to protect your skin from further sun damage.
- Slip, Slop, Slap - and apply a generously. Use a sunscreen that's at least SPF 30, and don't forget to re-apply every one to two hours if you're planning to be in the sun all day, especially during those lazy beach days.
- Use sunscreens with filters that have broad-spectrum SPF against UVA and UVB rays.
- Maintain skin moisture by using a moisturiser for smooth skin. Moisturisers with soothing agents like glycerin and aloe vera gel, a natural humectant can help give your skin some relief.
- Exfoliate gently, treat those sunburns like actual burns and do not forcefully peel your skin off.
- Use protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat.
Problem: I have sunspots and discolouration.
We call this photoaged skin, so the damage the sun does to skin. Sunspots can appear on sun-exposed body parts after long exposure to the sun.
Tips to help with sunspots
- Use products that inhibit pigment production like vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic acid, citric acid) at night for skin darkening.
- Protect your skin. Stock up on the best sunscreen the suits you! Apply a generous amount on the exposed areas. Under direct sunlight, do not forget to re-apply every 2 hours, especially during summer.
What can I do to help premature ageing and leathery, wrinkled skin?
Remember, prevention is always better than a cure when it comes to premature ageing. because the damage is irreversible. Dermatologist Dr. Kathleen Eusebio-Alpapara gives us a few tips below on what you can do to protect your skin from premature ageing and discolouration.
- Protect yourselves from UV rays, again, by applying sunscreen! Avoid too much exposure either from the sun. The earlier you practice these the better.
- Have a healthy lifestyle. - Eat right. Avoid vices like smoking and alcohol and exercise regularly.
- Adopt an anti-aging skin care routine with retinol (vitamin A), alpha hydroxy acids, and antioxidants like vitamin C! Kakadu plum, an Aussie native fruit, is packed with vitamin C. (YAS please!)
- For stubborn wrinkles, you might want to consider visiting your trusted skin experts for some in-clinic procedures.
Problem: Sweat has caused my skin to have acne breakouts.
Acne breakouts are more related to active sebaceous or oil glands, which become more active during summer. However, sweat can aggravate existing breakouts. But worry not, you don't need to stop your daily workouts this summer. Dr. Eusebio-Alpapara has the below tips to help those pesky acne breakouts in summer.
- Use clean workout clothes all the time. Wash sweaty clothes right away!
- When outdoors, wear an oil-free, water-resistant, and non-comedogenic sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- During your workout or when you start to sweat on a hot day, get into the habit of wiping off your sweat gently and regularly with a clean towel.
- Shower immediately using a mild cleanser and avoid rubbing your skin.
- Do not sleep with your makeup on! Our double cleansing kit can help with this.
- Stick to non-comedogenic products!
Problem: Salt, sun, and sand have made my skin dry and tight.
Too much sun and seawater exposure can make skin dry which is super annoying if you already have dry skin in the first place. But never fear, the skin care tips below should have all you beach bums out there.
- Wear sunscreens; water and sand reflect UV rays.
- Lounging by the beach is one of the best ways to relax and chill; make sure to do it under the shade.
- Avoid strolling in wet clothes. Dry clothes offer more protection.
- Take a shower right after swimming to wash off salt and sand, which can dry skin further, using a mild soap.
- Wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo, then spread the conditioner from the root to the tip to moisturise it, leave on for a few minutes, then wash off.
- Wear a lip balm to prevent lips from cracking.
- Moisturise right after bathing, before applying sunscreen.
Problem: I have folliculitis.
Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicle which can develop into a bigger boil. When the hair follicle is damaged due to rubbing, shaving or tight clothing, microorganisms can get through and cause an infection. It can appear as inflamed acne-like lesions without the white and blackheads. Unlike acne that is found on your face, chest, back or shoulders, folliculitis can occur in all parts of the body with hair; that excludes the palms and soles. During summer, it commonly occurs and then you are left dealing with it all summer long. So what should you do?
- If you think you have it, make sure to visit your dermatologist for the proper diagnosis and medications.
- Warm compress
How can we avoid it?
- Wear loose clothing during summer.
- Shave hair carefully and along the direction of the hair.
- Bathe in clean hot tubs.
- Be healthy! Your immune system can help fight off any infection.
Problem: Ouch! I have heat rash!
In hot and humid weather, the opening of the sweat ducts (where sweat passes from sweat glands) can get blocked. When this happens, sweat can't pass through and builds up underneath skin forming red, itchy bumps and rash, a skin condition called heat rash or prickly heat (miliaria). This is associated prickly sensation in most. Prickly heat is one of the most common summer skin problems.
What can I do?
- Avoid profuse sweating!
- Use loose clothing.
- Bathe after strenuous physical activity.
- Sleep in a well-ventilated room.
- Stay in the shade.
Problem: My eczema has flared up!
Even if warm and humid weather is friendlier to eczema-prone skin, flare-ups can still happen during summer because you are still exposed to triggers like hot weather, SWEAT, harsh soaps, pollen, pet dander, harmful pollutants, dust and other environmental factors. What's worse excessive sweat makes some of the triggers stick on your skin more.
- The primary management for eczema flare-ups is medications that can make the inflammation and itchiness disappear! Book an appointment with your trusted physicians.
- You need to maintain good skin hydration, so moisturise!
- Avoid harsh skin care products.
- Avoid exposure to known triggers.
- Avoid over-showering and use mild cleansers.
Problem: I was ravaged by mozzies, and now my skin is red and bumpy.
What can I do?
- The number of lurking mosquitoes surges during summer. For red, itchy, and swollen mosquito bites, wash it with mild soap and water right away and put an ice pack.
- Mosquito bites are really itchy but avoid scratching it! You might wanna hit the pharmacy for some calamine lotion or anti-itch medications. If it is still getting worse, go to your doctor.
- Always wear an insect repellant on top of your sunscreen! Aside from the skin problems their bite causes, we must be warry of the diseases these bugs carry, which can pass through people through bites. Some of these diseases are Barmah Forest virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya virus, Malaria, Murray Valley encephalitis, etc.
What can I do? Those with lighter skin, the blue-eyed, blond, or red hair, are more prone to sunburn than those with darker skin types who just have a suntan.
- Handle sunburned skin with care, like a regular minor burn. Avoid scrubbing and peeling them off forcibly. You have to let the skin peel on its own.
- Frequent cold showers and aspirin will help you relieve pain.
- Moisturise! Sunburned skin is damaged skin. You may use a moisturiser that can soothe your skin, like aloe vera. When the inflammation subsides and the skin starts to peel off, coconut oil is good to use.
- I know that you all love the look of that sun-kissed skin, but you can keep on sunbathing throughout summer! That isn't good! You can try our body glow illuminating oil for that sun-kissed glowing skin without getting sunburnt.
Note: Though sunburn heals, frequent or repeated sunburns have long-lasting detrimental effects- premature ageing and, worse, skin cancers. So wear sunscreens! How much? According to Dr. David J. Leffell, a board-certified dermatologist from the Yale School of Medicine, a good rule of thumb is a shot glass full of sunscreen!
Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara is a board certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology at VE Eusebio Skin Centre.
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