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29 March

Summer’s Coming—Is Your Skin Ready?

Category: Adult Primary Care, Exercise, Pediatrics, Public Health

By Barrett White

The temperature in Houston has been pushing 80 degrees the past couple of weekends and pollen is officially blanketing every outdoor flat surface in sight. Spring is here—but knowing Houston weather, this means summer is not far behind. As the sun-lovers emerge from their homes and make their way to the plethora of beaches, lakes, state parks, rivers, and pools that we are lucky to have at our disposal here in Texas, we have to ask ourselves if we’re ready for the underlying risks that come with prolonged fun in the sun.

The most common issue people run into over the summer is sunburn. Sunburns are painful and can increase your risk for skin cancer, which is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you apply sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30+, and water resistance.

Other summertime risks that you can recognize and avoid are:

Poison oak and poison ivy – These plants can leave you with a rash if their oils get on your skin. This is common for people who go camping over the summer. Luckily, these plants have a distinct appearance and can be easily spotted of you know what you’re looking for. Most people experience a rash that goes away after a few days or a few weeks. However, if you experience extreme swelling or difficulty breathing, get to a hospital immediately.

Dry or irritated skin – Even in Houston’s humid climate, you can experience dry skin. The cause could be pool chlorine, or even prolonged exposure to air conditioning. After a swim, take a shower and wash the chlorine off and be sure to shampoo and condition to keep your hair and scalp from drying out. Remember to apply lotion to your skin through the summer as well.

Acne breakouts – If you enjoy staying active outdoors over the summer, but have acne-prone skin, chances are that you’re familiar with acne and summer breakouts. Sweat can combine with your body’s natural bacteria found on your skin—along with any dirt accumulated from being outdoors—and can clog your pores. Dermatologists recommend that you blot sweat from your face rather than wiping it away, as wiping a towel across your skin could irritate it. You should also wash any sweaty clothing, headbands, wristbands, and hats before using them again. Dermatologists also recommend that you use non-comedogenic products on your face, neck, back, and chest. The label may also say “oil free” or “won’t clog pores.”

You can find more information on summer skincare from the American Academy of Dermatology on their website.