With all of our beautiful South County and Newport beaches, local ponds, tropical drinks and warm weather, it’s hard to hate summer. However, what we don’t love are the skin problems that arise due to warm weather and spending our days outdoors.
Here are some of the more common problems you may face with solutions that will have you happily sipping that lemonade on the beach.
1. Clogged Pores. Whether you’ve got oily skin year-round or you only suffer during the summer, blazing hot and humid temperatures can cause your skin to overheat, resulting in an over-production of oil.
Solution: Stock up on oil-free cleanser, oil-blotting sheets and a matte foundation or BB cream, depending on which you prefer. Stay in air-conditioned areas or rooms with fans during the summer to minimize your body’s production of excess oil. When choosing a moisturizer, look for “non-comedogenic” on the label, which basically means “won’t clog pores.”
2. Breakouts. If the oil your skin is over-producing is left on your face for too long, it can cause some major breakouts. Plus, if you’re using brushes or sponges to apply makeup but you’re not cleaning them regularly, you’re simply swirling around a cocktail of liquid foundation, powder and oil, leaving your skin with no choice but to break out.
Solution: Make sure to regularly cleaning keeping your brushes, sponges, and any other tools you use on your face. If you suffer from acne, use an acne-treatment cleanser with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to treat it. Make sure you’re patting your face dry with a clean towel (different than the one you use to dry your hands, which can have bacteria on it).
3. Heat Rash. When spending lots of time outside in direct sunlight, the heat may be too much for your body to take. This has essentially nothing to do with whether or not you’re wearing SPF, this is simply your body overheating and resulting in tiny bumps and red skin. The likelihood of getting heat rash is upped when you’re active outdoors. If you’re exercising outdoors while it’s hot outside, your body heat and the sun’s heat can come together for a not-so-fun time.
Solution: Cool down the area where you’re experiencing heat rash with a cool, wet towel, allowing the area to air-dry afterwards. A cool shower for about 20 minutes or so can also provide relief. If you try these options and you’re still uncomfortable, cortisone cream can help. Avoid wearing rough or tight fabrics around the area, and stay away from fragranced soaps and lotions as they can irritate skin.
4. Sunburn. Even if you’re diligent in applying and re-applying sunscreen, sunburn can happen. You may miss a spot, fall asleep on the beach, or forget to reapply, but whatever the cause, it’s likely you may have to treat a sunburn during the summer.
Solution: If things are really bad, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like aspirin. Then, take a gentle and cool shower, gently patting dry (or air drying, depending how badly you’ve been burned). Applying aloe vera lotion or gel can help soothe and cool burned areas, and drinking lots of water to avoid dehydration is key. If you need to be out in the sun while you’re still burned, be sure to wear clothing that covers up the burned area.
5. Bikini Line Rash. Considering the skin down there is incredibly sensitive, it’s simpler to have irritation than it is to not. Razor burn can cause bumps, which are only exacerbated when you’re at the beach getting sand and salt water on your body. Waxing can leave skin open and susceptible to irritation, too.
Solution: If you shave your bikini line, try waiting longer periods of time in between shaves to give your skin a break. Be sure you’re using a clean razor and avoid the urge to scratch anywhere down there. Your fingernails contain bacteria, which can lead to infections. If you wax, give it a day or two before heading for the shore. Laser hair removal is a more permanent solution – best done in the Fall or Winter as you get ready for Summer.
6. Bug Bites. If you’re outside during the summer, chances are that bugs are biting and you could be itching like crazy.
Solution: Get a proven insect repellent to avoid the bites altogether. Choose one with DEET but do NOT spray directly on the skin (spray on shoes, hats, seams of clothes). Do NOT use topical Benadryl as that can cause an allergic contact dermatitis. If you do get bit, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a cold compress to soothe your skin. For swelling, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. To reduce itching, mix baking soda with water to create a paste, and apply to the bitten areas.