The temperature is rising, which means, we’re showing a lot more skin. We all love summer. It's time to soak up the sun, stay outdoors, and spend time on the beach. What we don’t love, though, are the skin problems that arise due to warm weather and spending time outdoors.
In this blog, I would like to cover three main skin issues my patients most commonly face during the summer season.
If you stay in the sun for too long without any protection, you may get sunburn. Sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure and indicates severe damage. The body protects itself from this harmful radiation by accelerating the production of melanin, the dark pigment that gives skin its normal colour. Unfortunately, melanin can only protect the body from a certain amount of UV light. Eventually, if someone is continually exposed to it, UV radiation will cause their skin to burn in as little as 10 minutes of exposure.
Typical sunburn involves itching, redness, and peeling. Severe sunburns may also be accompanied by small blisters that may lead to infection. Symptoms of sun poisoning also tend to include nausea, fever, headache, and dizziness and may also be accompanied by fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance.
Precautions and Treatments:
- Get out of the sun.
- Take a cool (not too cold) shower or bath or apply cold compresses.
- Drink extra fluids for a few days.
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain.
- Use aloe gel or a moisturizer.
- Completely cover sunburned areas when going outside.
The polymorphous light eruption, also known as the polymorphic light eruption, is an itchy rash caused by sun exposure in people who have developed a sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity). The rash usually appears as red, tiny bumps or slightly raised patches of skin.
Polymorphic light eruption (PMLE) is the second most common sun-related skin problem seen by doctors, after a common sunburn. It is not the same as sunburn. PMLE is not harmful but can be itchy and embarrassing. PMLE often occurs in spring or on a sunny holiday, when the skin is not used to sunshine.
Treatment of polymorphous light eruption usually isn't necessary because the rash typically goes away on its own within 10 days. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe anti-itch medicine (a corticosteroid cream or pill).
Your doctor may suggest phototherapy to prevent seasonal episodes of polymorphous light eruption in people who have experienced disabling signs and symptoms. Phototherapy exposes your skin to small doses of UVA or UVB light, which helps your skin be less sensitive to light.
Another common type of the skin rash common in the summer called miliaria is sometimes referred to as prickly heat, or a heat rash, or a sweat rash. Miliaria occurs in some people when they sweat a lot. It can be very itchy. It is due to a blockage of the sweat ducts which causes sweat to seep into the skin cells. The main treatment is to keep cool as much as possible. It is not usually serious, but it can be itchy and uncomfortable.
Prickly heat (miliaria) can develop in anyone at any age. However, it is most common in children and babies, as their immature sweat glands are more prone to becoming blocked.
- If possible, avoid heat and humidity.
- Avoid further sweating. Even if this is possible for just a few hours each day, it can make a big difference. A cool bath or shower can also be soothing and help to avoid sweating.
- Simple creams like calamine lotion may cool and soothe the skin.
- Wear loose cotton clothing or clothing that has breathable fabric.
- Using an antibacterial soap or antiseptic wash may help to keep the number of germs (bacteria) on your skin down.
- A steroid cream may soothe the irritation whilst you are waiting for the condition to clear. A mild steroid cream such as hydrocortisone 1% work by reducing inflammation. You should not use it on your face. Follow the instructions and use it sparingly.
If you feel generally unwell, you may be developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If this occurs, seek medical attention.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and wear sun protection (minimum of 30 SPF) not just in summer but all around the year.