Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, leading dermatologist & aesthetic physician; founder, SkinAlive Clinics
Summer season is a hard time for the body and skin. As the temperature soars and heat becomes unbearable, the body has to fight to keep itself cool, protected, hydrated and infection free. The same is true for the skin.
The answer lies in keeping yourself well hydrated, protecting your skin from sun exposure and reducing conditions amenable to infections.
1. Sunburns: The summer sun is so harsh that it can scorch your skin, causing red patches, rashes that give a burning sensation. This happens more in people who have sensitive skin. In simple language, it is the sun burning up your soft and sensitive skin. Logically, the only way to protect your skin against this condition is minimize sun exposure. At the same time equally important is to wear sunscreen religiously. Apply a sunblock cream liberally all over your face, neck and arms 20 minutes before stepping out. Make sure you re-apply the same every 4 hours to ensure continuous protection. It is also advisable to people who have sensitive skin to wear clothes covering as much skin as possible during the day time. Ending your day with an aloe vera gel facepack will cool down the sunburnt skin.
2. Dehydration: It is not just your body but also your skin that bears the brunt of dehydration. As we sweat, we continuously lose hydration from the skin. If not sufficiently replenished, this can leave the skin dry, irritated and more prone to sunburn. Your lips may start cracking and dry patches may appear all over. The most logical answer is to drink as much water as you can. Carry a water bottle with you all the time, do not go without sipping once every half an hour. Also add a lot of juices and summer fruits to your intake. Fruits like water melon which are full of water content are particularly good for the body and skin during summers. You can also seek deep hydrating treatments like Hydrating Electroporation Therapy, Oxygen Therapy or Juvederm Refine.
3. Acne: The sweat makes our skin a magnet to the daily dose of dust, grime and pollution floating in the air, particularly if we spend some time outdoors. This combination of heat and dirt is a perfect recipe for acne and pimples to grow. The dust clogs the skin’s pores while the heat gives bacteria a perfect environment to thrive. To minimize acne, care should be taken to keep the skin clean always. You should carry your facewash with you and give your face a quick wash thrice daily or whenever you think it is needed to clean up. Use a good facial cleanser every evening so that your skin pores are free of dirt; use anti-bacterial face wash; and end your day with a cooling application of multani mitti or sandalwood facepack to contain inflammation. Often acne might need medical attention. So, if your breakouts do not subside, do visit a dermatologist. You may need hormonal correction.
4. Heat Rashes: Multiple factors combine to make your skin irritable during summers. Along with the heat that puts a lot of pressure, is sweating. However, sometimes dirt and dust clogs the sweat ducts of the skin, trapping the perspiration. This can result in itchy rashes, blisters or mini bumps. Clothes can make them irritable all the more irritable because of friction. Prevent this condition by keeping yourself squeaky clean, if you sweat. Bath twice daily, particularly so when you end your day. Use an anti-bacterial soap or bath gel. Keep yourself dry as much as possible. Rubbing the affected skin with ice cubes can help soothe the irritation. If the condition persists, meet a dermatologist.
5. Bacterial Infections: The hot temperature gives many bacteria and viruses a perfect thriving environment. The bacteria are everywhere, and you cannot even see them. People who use public transport, keep moving in crowded places are much more amenable to come in contact with multiple bacterial infections. Even the bus seat or window you touch with your hand may be carrying bacteria. These hands we then touch our face with often resulting in skin infections. Try to keep your hands clean and washed most of the times. Carry a handwash and keep washing every couple of hours. If this is not possible use a hand sanitizer. And give up the habit of touching your face with your fingers all the time.
Folliculitis is a common condition when the damaged hair follicles get infected by bacteria, resulting in inflammation. To prevent this use lose clothes, avoid using swimming pools which are not properly disinfected, prevent cuts when shaving.
6. Tanning: When exposed to the sun’s UV radiation, the skin’s melanin reacts by forming a protective shield. The melanin results in dark pigmentation, either uniformly all over or in patches on the skin. The result is what we call skin darkening, tanning or hyper-pigmentation. Using sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and reapplying is important, so is wearing sunglasses to prevent dark circles. To undo the effects of tanning, seek procedures like laser skin rejuvenation, chemical peels or Microdermabrasion. Your dermatologist will suggest the right procedure for your needs.