Summertime, while filled with long days and great weather, is also the time of year for different skin challenges than are present at other times of the year. The winter brings dryness but the summer can bring itchiness, rashes, and others.
Why is my skin so itchy in the summer?
Our skin serves as the barrier between our body and the environment. When our skin is exposed during the summer, it has a greater opportunity to interact with allergens and toxins.
“There are many origins for itchy skin in the summer. New blooms can cause pollen allergies to flare up. Gardening and hiking can lead to plant rashes. Mosquitos, ticks, bees, and flies all prefer the summer climate. Sunburn and heat rash may also cause a miserable itch.”
The good news is, we can prevent all of these things!
How do I prevent rashes?
If you experience seasonal allergies, it is a good idea to have your allergy medication on hand, as well as following pollen counts in your area. For those who like to spend time in their backyard plants, make sure you learn to identify poison oak and ivy plants, and then to avoid them.
“Heat rash can be avoided by limiting moisture, friction, and occlusion. Showering and changing clothes quickly after a sweaty workout is always a good idea.”
And because too much sun exposure can lead to a burn and rash, be diligent about sunscreen use to prevent it along with sun protective clothing, and limiting time outdoors during dangerous UV wavelengths.
If you do get a rash, there are a number of options to help clear it quickly. This likely will require a prescription, so take advantage of our same day appointments and come in to see us to get relief right away!
What other conditions do you expect to see more of this summer?
While we enjoy warm weather a lot, so do certain skin conditions.
A common skin issue during summer is folliculitis.
“Folliculitis occurs when the hair follicle becomes infected. Hot environments and hot tub use increase the risk of folliculitis.”
Another common ailment treated due to increased time outdoors is melasma, or tan to brown patches on the face, which can become more pronounced when the sun pulls the pigment out.
“With more people getting their nails done, I expect to see more infections from a manicure or pedicure, too.”
Help, my skin is so oily this summer!
With warmth and humidity increasing, your body’s sebaceous glands begin to produce excess sebum. This sebum is just a natural oil, which gets stuck on the skin and can clog pores. A face wash can be used to remove dirt and oil.
“Sometimes, people with dry skin in the winter who are using a hydrating cleanser do better with switching to a foaming cleanser to combat more oily skin in the summer. A gentle toner can be added to help open pores, too. Wearing light makeup also gives the skin a much-needed break.”
Is acne worse in the summer or winter?
This is different for everyone!
“Some patients find that the cold air holds less moisture and the skin suffers, while other patients find that a hot environment allows acne-causing bacteria to thrive. Whichever group of seasonal acne you may fall in, at Apex, we have individualized skincare regimens that can be tailored to your skin type.”
The only way to really know if your increase in acne is caused by summer conditions is to see a dermatologist.
Why is my skin dry in the summer?
Rising temperatures, chlorinated water, air conditioning, and water loss through sweat are all reasons moisture can be sucked out of the skin. Drinking extra water will help hydrate the skin. Continue a hydrating facial cleanser if you are experiencing dry skin during the summer months.
“Also, using a facial moisturizer with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin is recommended along with showering with lukewarm, not hot, water will help keep the skin hydrated along with using Dove bar soap which is fragrance-free, dye-free, and has a quarter moisturizer built in.”
Of course, always follow with a gentle body lotion when the body is still damp after getting out of the shower.
What summer skin care routine works best?
The one that is made specifically for your skin! There is no need to make a ton of regimen changes, but I do always suggest that with a change of season, check in with your skin. Now may be a good time for tweaking your routine.
“In general, most people get a little more oily in the summer, which is why I recommend a mild, alcohol-free, and pH balanced foaming cleanser. The idea of ‘double cleansing’ is also a hot topic now. This just means using two separate cleansers to wash your face. I use a micellar water to double cleanse on days that I am wearing makeup, followed by my regular daily cleanser.”
Using a lightweight moisturizer is helpful too! Summer may also be a good time to add some new products to your routine.
“Having an antioxidant like Vitamin C on board to protect from oxidative damage from sun exposure is valuable. Exfoliating once or twice a week can help eliminate dead skin and impurities.”
Ensure you are using your retinoid like our Perfect Retinol Serum at night because it is sun-sensitive. And don’t wait any longer to invest in a good sunscreen!
How do I protect my skin from the sun while still enjoying summer?
As we head into the sunny months, we want to ensure proper sunscreen usage. This is going to be the #1 thing you can do for your skin.
“Sunscreen helps prevent sun spots and age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as even skin pigment and tone. Plus, it is a defense against skin neoplasms. Anything that is a physical barrier (titanium or zinc based) and at least SPF 30 is great.”
Avoid chemical barriers like oxybenzone. Also, make sure it is broad-spectrum so it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Ideally, sunscreen should be applied last in your skincare routine. Remember to reapply every 2 hours and more frequently after getting in the water and consider wearing sun protective clothing and getting in the shade, because sunscreen is good, but of course it’s not 100%, and we really do need to be careful.
For those still desiring a tan look, sunless tanning options like tanning drops or spray tans are a great alternative!
What other advice do you have for keeping skin healthy in the summer?
Remember water intake even when you’re not thirsty, and to treat your eyes, lips, and feet as these are commonly forgotten areas.
Sunglasses, a broad-brimmed hat, and an eye cream are extra ways to protect your eyes from harmful rays as is a lip balm with SPF as it will definitely protect the lips from cracking, peeling, or developing skin cancer.
Sunscreen and moisturizer for the feet will make them safe for sandals all summer long. Stepping into the humidity or pool can adversely affect the skin, but hopefully with these measures your skin can stay healthy and glowing year-round.
Remember to see your board-certified dermatologist or advanced practice provider for specific concerns and regular skin cancer screenings.
While summer can be full of fun and much-needed respite from the cold winter months, you do have to take extra precautions with the excess sun and environmental exposure. To find out the condition of your skin and to heal any ailments, schedule your appointment to take care of your skin this summer!
Giavanna DiLoreto is a Dermatology Physician Assistant licensed in the state of Ohio and certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from The Ohio State University. She earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Ohio Dominican University.
Gia has completed a dermatology residency training program under the mentorship of Dr. Shannon McKeen at Apex Dermatology and a Diplomate Fellowship from the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. She diagnoses and treats skin, hair and nail conditions in patients of all ages and performs skin cancer screenings.
Gia is committed to helping patients achieve healthy, glowing skin and inspiring skin confidence. She is a strong advocate of evidence-based skincare and is passionate about providing quality care with an emphasis on education to help patients look and feel their best.