9 Skin Woes During Extreme Heat
While you may love the extreme heat that summer can bring, your skin definitely doesn’t.
From acne and heat rash to sunburn and hyperpigmentation, here are nine skin woes that you may experience when in extreme heat, as well as steps you can take to deal with them.
Acne breakouts can be extremely common when in extreme heat, not only on the face but also on the body.
How does the heat trigger acne?
Well, the heat causes you to sweat. When sweat mixes together with the oil and bacteria on the surface of your skin, this is the perfect recipe for clogged pores, inflammation and breakouts.
The key to avoiding these breakouts is by minimizing the amount of sweat on your skin…
There are a few ways in which you can do this, such as:
- Taking cool showers after periods of intense sweating
- Wiping your sweat off with a clean towel
- Making sure that the clothing you wear is loose and breathable, so as not to trap moisture onto your skin
- Using a glycolic acid or salicylic acid face and body wash to help keep your pores clear
Even if you aren’t dealing with acne, oily skin is still a common skin woe during extreme heat.
Did you know that the heat triggers your skin to produce more sebum?
This is why oily skin becomes prevalent in the summer, compared to dry skin in the winter.
Just like when dealing with acne, a cleanser that contains salicylic acid will really help, as this will keep your pores clear.
Other beneficial ingredients for dealing with oily skin include:
- Clay – this will absorb excess oil, as well as toxins
- Hyaluronic Acid – this lightweight humectant will hydrate your skin without weighing it down
- Niacinimide – absorbs excess oil while strengthening the outer layer of skin
- Retinol – builds up collagen and keeps pores tighter, therefore causing them to emit less oil
One common mistake that many people who are experiencing oily skin tend to make is…
Over-cleansing and Over-Exfoliating
While scrubbing your face clean of any oil may seem to provide some temporary relief from the shine, both over-cleansing and over-exfoliating will remove too much of your skin’s natural oils. This then triggers your skin to produce even more oil, in order to compensate for the loss, meaning that it won’t take long before your skin is even oilier than ever.
While cleansing and exfoliating are both important, and extremely helpful when dealing with oily skin, make sure that you cleanse no more than once or twice a day, and exfoliate no more than two or three times a week.
While acne is caused by clogged pores, heat rash is caused by clogged sweat glands.
Wondering what clogs them up?
Everything from dust to dirt. No matter what ends up causing the clog, the result is the same, meaning that your sweat ends up getting trapped in your sweat ducts.
This is when heat rash manifests, showing up as red, itchy tiny bumps on the skin. When these bumps burst, they release sweat, which is what causes the prickly sensation that usually accompanies heat rash.
As you would imagine, the key to treating and preventing heat rash is to keep your exposure to heat to a minimum.
Try to stay indoors, in air-conditioning, for as much as possible during the hottest hours of the day, saving your outdoor excursions for the early mornings or late evenings when the air is cooler.
Just like when dealing with body acne, keep your clothing loose and breathable, and minimize the amount of sweat that settles on the surface of your skin.
Have you been sunburned before?
It may not seem like a big deal to some, but did you know that getting sunburned once, even if this is only every couple of years, can triple your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer.
If the cancer wasn’t enough to scare you…
Sunburn, which means over-exposure to the sun, also results in premature aging, leading to everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and sagging skin.
You likely already know how to avoid getting sunburned…
The answer lies in a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Not only that, but you should also take other steps to keep your skin protected from the sun, whether this may be wearing a broad-rimmed hat and sunglasses, to covering up with clothing and an umbrella, or simply staying in the shade.
Already sunburned and need some relief?
Keep your skin as cool as possible, whether this may be with a cold compress or a cool bath.
You should also use moisturizing and healing products on your skin, with some of the best ingredients being:
- Aloe Vera
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Seaweed Extract
- Green Tea
Make sure that you avoid any harsh ingredients, especially until your skin has healed, as it is extremely vulnerable at this time.
The sun usually accompanies extreme heat, and hyperpigmentation is a common result of that.
What is hyperpigmentation?
They are also known as age spots or liver spots, and basically consist of small patches of skin that are darker in color than the rest of your skin.
What causes it?
Usually, sun exposure. This is what triggers your skin to produce more melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color. Sometimes, the skin ends up producing too much melanin, and when this gathers together under small parts of your skin, it gives those areas a darker color.
While hyperpigmentation is not dangerous, an uneven skin tone can definitely be frustrating.
The first thing you need to do to prevent, as well as treat, hyperpigmentation is make sure that you are always wearing a sunscreen.
This stops your skin from producing as much melanin, therefore meaning that it will not end up producing too much.
If you already have hyperpigmentation, it will definitely not get any better unless you begin wearing a sunscreen. In fact, it will only end up getting so much worse.
Insect Bites and Stings
Extreme heat often draws a variety of different insects out of hiding, and everything from ants and bees to spiders and mosquitoes can all sting or bite.
What’s the best thing to do if you get bitten or stung?
Immediately wash the infected area, before applying a cold compress to it, as this will help to reduce any swelling.
Keep the area well-protected, and make sure that you do not scratch at any blisters or bumps that may arise.
Need some relief from the itching?
Try using a product containing some of the following ingredients:
- Tea tree oil – a natural antihistamine, which will reduce allergic reactions and itching, while its antibacterial properties will minimize the risk of infection
- Aloe vera – soothing properties to calm inflammation while speed up healing
- Witch hazel – fights bacteria and keeps the bite clean, therefore preventing infections, while also reducing inflammation and scarring
- Chamomile – long since been used for its calming properties, chamomile has anti-inflammatory effects, and will also help with the itching
Even though your skin may be producing more oil when in higher temperatures, oil is completely different from water. Your skin needs water in order to properly function and really thrive, but this moisture can sometimes be lacking, especially during times of extreme heat.
This means that all skin types are susceptible to becoming dehydrated…
How do you know if your skin is dehydrated?
Some of the symptoms include:
- Itchy patches
- Tired and dull skin
- Flaking skin
- Fine lines and wrinkles
When it comes to tackling dehydrated skin and giving your skin the hydration it needs…
Make sure that you are using hydrating ingredients in your skin care routine, such as hyaluronic acid.
Cut out any products that contain harsh ingredients, because one of the best ways to boost skin hydration is by protecting your skin’s natural barrier. This barrier helps your skin to retain moisture by preventing it from evaporating, keeping it hydrated and supple.
Wondering if drinking more water will help to keep your skin hydrated?
While this might make sense in theory, the water that you drink does not usually reach your skin, unless you are severely dehydrated.
However, there are still a few other lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your skin more hydrated. Try cutting back on your alcohol consumption, quit smoking and try to eat more raw fruits and vegetables.
Contact dermatitis is a type of inflammation that your skin experiences, and is brought on when your skin comes into contact with either allergens or irritants.
What does contact dermatitis look like?
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Cracked and dry skin
- An uncomfortable red rash
- Blisters and bumps
- Swelling, redness or tenderness
The problem with contact dermatitis is that there are thousands of known allergens and irritants out there, and possibly even more unknown ones.
You are probably wondering…
Why is contact dermatitis more common during extreme heat?
Because heat triggers the growth of certain plants that commonly lead to contact dermatitis.
Some of these plants are:
- Poison ivy
- Poison oak
- Wood nettle and stinging nettle
- Giant hogweed
In fact, the rash caused by giant hogweed can be so severe that it can look just like a second degree burn, leaving you with long-term scars as well as a sun sensitivity.
So, how is contact dermatitis treated?
For cases that are not severe, you can treat it at home. Firstly, avoid the irritant or allergen that caused the symptoms to appear, and keep your skin calm by applying a cool compress several times a day. Make sure that you do not scratch at your rash, and apply an anti-itch cream to give yourself some relief.
If your symptoms don’t seem to be improving…
You will need to visit a doctor, where you will either be prescribed a steroid cream or ointment, or some oral medication, both of which will help to reduce itching and inflammation while preventing infection.
Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, which is why fungal infections are quite a common skin woe during extreme heat.
What is a fungus?
It is a living organism, and there are a few different types that are commonly found either in or on the human body.
While infections can occur year-round, the heat can definitely trigger them.
How do you know if you have a fungal infection?
You will likely experience some of the following symptoms:
- A red flaky rash
- Cracked or peeling skin
Fungal infections can occur anywhere on the body, but commonly appear on folds and joints of skin, as these are the parts of the skin that remain most moist, and often don’t have the chance to properly dry out.
Fortunately, fungal infections can be easily treated with over-the-counter medication.
They can also be easily avoided…
Simply keep yourself clean and dry as much as possible, making sure to also dry out your shoes if they are even slightly damp. Make sure that you do not go barefoot in public showers or bathrooms, and keep your immune system strong, as this will help your body to naturally fight any signs of infection.
Different environments and conditions bring about different skin woes, with extreme heat leading to everything from dehydration and oily skin to fungal infections and acne. Dealing with these issues can definitely be frustrating, so, if you know that you are going to be spending quite a bit of time in extreme heat, make sure that you take the necessary prevention steps so that you don’t have to experience any of these skin woes at all.