Summertime Skin Disasters
Summer means it’s time to display your skin to the world, but for many people, the season can make them want to cover up instead. As hard as winter might be on the skin, summer presents a wider variety of threats to your skin’s health and appearance. Here are some common summertime skin disasters and what to do about them.
UV radiation, which is stronger in the spring and summer, is one of your skin’s biggest enemies. Besides promoting lines and wrinkles, it can also produce sunspots or areas of hyperpigmentation. If you notice these, blend together milk, olive oil, and lime juice, apply it to your skin as a masque and let it set for 15 minutes. The milk and olive oil provide moisture while the vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acids in the lime juice brighten skin and promote elasticity. To prevent further skin damage, always apply sunscreen before spending time outdoors, even if it’s cloudy.
Unless you spend the summer being a hermit, odds are that you’ll be bitten by mosquitoes at least a few times. When this happens, try not to scratch. It not only makes the itch worse but also heavily damages the surrounding skin. It doesn’t take much to turn that little itchy bump into an angry scab that eventually becomes a scar. Instead, use an antihistamine or apply a hydrocortisone cream to address itching and inflammation. Additionally, you can prevent future bites by using an insect repellent when you expect to be outside for prolonged periods.
If you think you’ve gotten into poison ivy, wash the affected areas with warm water and strong soap. If blistering or itching develop, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to soothe the area and avoid scratching it. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent further contact with poison ivy is to familiarize yourself with its appearance and avoid it.
Sunburn is the most common summertime skin disaster for many people. If it happens to you, there are several things that can help minimize the severity and promote healing. For small areas, a cold compress will stop further heat damage and offer relief. Coating sunburned areas with aloe or strong black tea will protect the skin and facilitate healing. For pain and inflammation, an everyday pain reliever is recommended. Prevent additional sun damage by wearing sunscreen and reapplying it regularly.
Heat, sun, and wind combine to take a toll on your lips, making them dry, cracked and sore. In this case, you need to attack the problem from both sides. First, drink ample amounts of water to restore your internal hydration. Afterward, coat your lips with petroleum jelly or a similar ointment. With a few days of this treatment, they should be back to normal. In the future, be sure to maintain adequate water intake and keep an SPF-containing balm applied to your lips.
The summer weather can be brutal on your skin, but you don’t have to sacrifice your appearance in order to enjoy other aspects of the season. By addressing problems quickly once they occur and taking steps to prevent them in the future, you can enjoy smooth, supple and youthful-looking skin year round.