Summer Skin Concerns

Girl with dandelionWhile spending more time outside in the summer months, we must be thoughtful about our skin. As our shield from environmental factors, our skin is exposed to greater potential harm when we are outdoors. And we must heed this rule, in particular: use sunscreen or sun block every day, rain or shine.

Radiation from the sun’s UVB rays is stronger during summer months, and Dr. Lisa Ginn offers an informative primer about radiation and sun protection. It may sound like “alphabet soup” – UVA, UVB, and SPF – but it is well worth understanding more about how the sun damages our skin as well as new advances in protection.

As learn from Dr. Adam Rotunda, there are many myths about tanning, skin cancer, and vitamin D. And he reminds us that even with increasing awareness about sun protection, skin cancer is on the rise – especially among younger people. Scientists warn that the earth’s natural sunscreen – the ozone layer – is shrinking, and Dr. Rotunda poses provocative questions about a few outdated “common wisdoms” we share about sun protection and skin cancer.

Along with the summer sun, there are many other skin challenges in warmer weather. It is mosquito season, and besides being a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry disease, and their bites can be itchy and irritating. Dr. Jodi Markus tells us how to avoid bites in the first place and the secret to fast healing if a mosquito foils those attempts.
 
Higher temperatures and more time outdoors can also exacerbate existing skin conditions, like excessive sweating. A troublesome condition for many people year-round, excessive sweating on the face, underarms, hands, and feet becomes even more bothersome when it’s hot. This month, Dr. Ramsey Markus briefs us on helpful treatments for excessive sweating that may mean the difference between comfort and misery.

And if your summertime plans call for swimming in lakes or oceans, learn about microorganisms that can cause itchy rashes inside or outside your swimsuit and how to treat them, from Dr. Elaine Gilmore. She has more fascinating insights about summer skin hazards, including unusual cross-reactions, allergic reactions you may experience in your flower garden, and potential skin irritation from spending time in the hot tub.

When it comes to our skin, summer is the time to err on the side of caution. But the other side of summer is the natural bounty of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables available from local gardens and farmers’ markets. Here we can throw caution to the wind. It’s virtually impossible to overdo it on low-calorie fruits and veggies, and they are loaded with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that our skin craves. Raw, steamed, sautéed, grilled, tossed in salads, and in the juicer, fresh fruits and vegetables are the highlight of summer. Make yourself happy, and do something good for your skin at the same time – savor that juicy peach right now.

Above all, I hope your summer days are filled with what makes you happy!

Be well,
Dr. Andrea Pennington
 

Published on 10/08/2009 | Last updated on 12/20/2016