How to Protect your Skin During Extreme Summer Heat

2021 has brought record heat temperatures in the US as well as globally. Unfortunately, with global warming this may be our new normal. Intensely hot temperatures can cause heat stress (in extreme cases heat cases heat stroke), respiratory difficulties and skin issues. In order to help you enjoy your summer, we have chosen the top3 skin conditions as well as ways to help treat them.

Minimize Acne Breakouts

If you have acne-prone skin, the extreme heat can bring more break outs. You also could be wearing a mask off and on and in the heat this causes more sweat and irritation. When sweat mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores.  

The following steps will help to prevent acne:

  • Wash your face regularly with non-comedogenic products. Wash more than once a day if your able to.
  • Be sure to wash sweaty clothes, towels and hats before wearing them again. If you rewear sweaty clothing your putting bacteria on your skin.
  • Use a clean non-abrasive towel or cloth to blot the sweat off your face. Do not rub the sweat as this can irritate your skin, which can lead to new breakouts.
  • Be sure to use non-comedogenic products on your face, neck, back, and chest. Look for labels that may say non-comedogenic, oil free or won’t clog pores. These products will help to clean or stabilize skin by minimizing new bacteria growth. Tip: Check for these labels on all products used on your face: Sunscreen, makeup, moisturizer, other…. If your not sure what to purchase Byrdie does a nice job or highlighting their top products to help minimize summer acne.

Nourish Dry and Irritated Skin 

Believe it or not, one of the most common complaints in hot, humid summer weather is dry skin.This makes sense when you consider spending time in the sun, pool and air conditioning. Chlorine from swimming pools and sun burn can cause additional dryness and irritation.

The following steps will help to treat Dry and Irritated Skin:

  • Always apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Honestly, you should wear sunscreen year round but its particularly important in the summer as you typically reveal more skin and have more hours of outdoor exposure. Be sure to use a broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30+, and water resistant product. Tip: Re-apply regular and consider carrying small travel bottles with you so you have sunscreen with you when your on the move.
  • Shower and shampoo immediately after getting out of the pool. Use a mild body wash or cleanser. If you’re not able to fully bath, be sure to rinse off with clean water. Tip: If your in chlorine regularly, try using a body wash made for swimmers.
  • Use a mild cleanser when washing your face. Stay clear of soaps and body washes labeled “antibacterial” or “deodorant” as they can dry your skin.
  • Turn up your thermostat if you notice that the air in your home is too dry. Keeping it a little warmer not only helps your skin but minimizes your electric bill and helps you to adjust to the warm weather outside when you leave the house.
  • Take warm or air temperature showers and baths rather than hot. This one is hard for me because I love a really hot shower but I have come to really enjoy a tepid shower. Its much more refreshing! 
  • Coat your skin with fragrance-free moisturizer after every shower and bath. Be sure to apply moisturizer within 5 minutes after a shower or bath as moisturizer will help to trap water in your skin. Tip: Much like SPF, carry a small moisturizer with you, so you can apply it when your hands, face or body feel dry.

Treat Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)

Most people think of heat rash as something babies get but adults are prone to this condition in hot, humid weather as well. Heat rash is caused by sweat glands being blocked. The trapped perspiration builds up under your skin, causing a rash and tiny, itchy bumps. When the bumps burst and release sweat, many people feel a prickly sensation on their skin, thus the name. Symptoms range from superficial blisters to deeper red lumps. Typically heat rash clears on its own but if you have prolong or severe conditions you should see a doctor. If you have a more severe case or are interested in medications MayoClinic has some recommendations here.

The following steps will help to minimize Heat Rash: 

  • The key to treating prickly heat is to minimize sweat. This can be challenging but it’s the fastest way to minimize existing rash and preventing new breakouts. 
  • Minimize sweat by wearing light-weight, loose-fitting clothes made of cotton.
  • Minimize sweat by exercise outdoors during the coolest parts of the day or by moving your workout indoors where you can be in air-conditioning.
  • Minimize sweat by keeping your skin cool with fans, cool showers, and air-conditioning.

In summary, protecting your skin from the extreme summer heat is an important new step. Weather its acne breakouts, dry and irritated skin or heat rash it’s important to take extra steps to protect your skin health.

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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