The summer heat brings uncomfortable variations to the skin of the face, hands and feet : The Tribune India

Dr Vikas Sharma

As the summer heat rapidly peaks up, it is important to gear up for a whole new skin routine. For beautiful and glowing skin in summers, it is important to have a proper skin care routine to keep the seasonal woes at bay.

Skin being the outermost organ is most vulnerable to climate changes. For many people, the summer heat brings uncomfortable variations to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a dull feeling: They make skin so dull, it results in redness, burning, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed). Longer hours of daylight and hot, dry, or humid weather can affect our skin differently than the colder and darker days of winter.

Not only the skin gets affected, hair and nail growth cycles get affected by the seasonal variation. It can occur at all ages and in people with or without other skin problems.

Due to excessive sweating and dust, one is more likely to suffer from problems like summer rashes, tanning, skin infections, sunburn, Rosacea and acne on the face as well as back. As the temperature rises, the rays of the sun become more intense and can seriously damage the skin. So, it is vital to exercise extra caution during this hot summer season to prevent irreversible damage to our largest and outermost organ-system, the skin.

Trouble area

Know what problems to expect as the summer heats up, treat them before they become chronic.

Acne: Breakouts are most common during the summer. Whether it is on your face, back or stomach — the hot months are usually the cause for frequent face and body acne. The heat and humidity causes the sebaceous oil glands in the body to work overtime thus causing an oily skin making an environment friendly for overgrowth of normal microflora. When sweat mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores.

Pityrosporum folliculitis: This is a skin problem which is very common in this hot season. It presents a red raised skin rash over the chest, back and shoulder region. The lesions are itchy and painful. To prevent it, wear loose cotton clothing.

Polymorphous light eruption: This manifests as skin rash over the exposed areas to the sun. It becomes very itchy at times. One needs to wear a good sunscreen having both UVA and UVB protective agents and full-sleeve clothing.

Photocontact dermatitis: Always be careful to not immediately go out in the sun after applying fragrances and hair colours with Paraphenylene diamine as risk of an attack of photocontact dermatitis becomes 40-fold higher during this season.

Rosacea: The hot weather sets off the occurrence of Rosacea. Excess heat causes the blood vessels to dilate. Use a good sunscreen with SPF 30+ whenever you are stepping out in the sun. Using a soap-free mild medicated face wash and reducing the intake of spicy and oily food will help ease Rosacea.

Sunburn: The most common skin problem during the summers is sunburn. The UV rays of the sun burn the outer epidermal layer of the skin and cause serious damage that manifests as patches of red to dark colour and may be associated with excessive dryness and skin peeling.

(Dr Sharma is a Chandigarh-based dermatologist)

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