Fixes to Common Summer Skin Issues
Summer Skincare Conditions
Some of the more common skin issues we face in the summer can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing. From preventing razor burn to treating body acne, these tips will help get your skin on track all summer long.
What is it? Razor bumps are typically ingrown hairs, which can occur when the hairs are trapped and grow under the skin, causing inflammation that presents as a red bump around the hair follicle.
How to treat and prevent it: “When shaving, the skin should be well-hydrated with shaving cream so that the blade can glide smoothly across the skin,” says Dr. Erum Ilyas. “Hold the razor at a 45-degree angle and make sure the first pass is with the grain of the hair. If you want to go against the grain for subsequent passes to get a closer shave, reapply shaving cream in between. Also be sure you’re changing your razor blade frequently, both to keep it sharp and to avoid the risk of spreading any bacteria into the skin. It’s also a good idea to shave at the end of the shower, when there’s been enough time for the water and steam to soften your and skin.” To help reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs, incorporate an exfoliating body product into your skincare routine. Using a body wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help to exfoliate the skin as well as decreases oil production and unclogs pores, all of which can help with razor bumps.
In-office solution: Laser hair removal is a great option for those looking to end their days of shaving altogether.
What it is? Chafing occurs from friction, most commonly from skin rubbing against skin or against clothing. It can occur anywhere, but the most common areas include the underarms, thighs, groin, and nipples. Exercise enthusiasts are more vulnerable because of sweating and repeated movements. Runners are known to experience nipple chafing, but we also see this in breastfeeding mothers.
How to treat: Prolonged rubbing can lead to breakdown of the skin and create an entry point for bacteria, fungus, and yeast. For this reason, it is important to reduce friction. Because wet skin can make chafing worse, wear moisture-wicking fabrics. Applying topical moisture-absorbing powder can also decrease moisture. You can find powder sprays – which are easier to apply and leave no residue.
What it is: Facial and body acne share several similarities, and can both be driven by overactive oil glands, delayed sloughing of dead skin cells and colonization with P. acnes bacteria. However, there are key differences. Acne-like bumps on the body are more often from folliculitis, which is triggered by inflammation of the hair follicles. Tight clothing, friction from backpacks or heavy bags, sweaty clothing or wearing non-breathable materials like nylon or polyester can further aggravate things by irritating the hair follicles on the body and triggering breakouts.
How to treat: Simple changes to your routine, such as changing out of sweaty clothing can help minimize breakouts on most parts of the body. Personal care products can also inadvertently contribute to breakouts. Look for oil free formulations of soaps, cleansers and moisturizers. In addition, cleansing your back and arms after rinsing out your shampoo and conditioner will make sure your shampoo or conditioner isn’t sitting on your skin causing clogged pores. Use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser in the shower to cleanse your body.
It is also important to keep in mind that acne-like bumps on the body can mimic several other dermatologic conditions. If eruptions do not seem to be clearing, a visit to your dermatologist can help determine if you have the right diagnosis or if a procedure, topical prescription or in some cases if an oral antibiotic is necessary.
When to see a dermatologist:
In office chemical peels, often utilized for facial acne, can also be used quite effectively for acne on the back, arms and chest.
Sweating is a normal bodily function and when the body is functioning correctly, sweat helps you to cool down. Excessive sweating is a condition dermatologists refer to as Hyperhidrosis. “Typically hyperhidrosis is “focal,” meaning it is only in one or a few areas,” says Dr. Jeremy Fenton. “The most common areas are the underarms, hands, and feet.”
How to treat: If you want to manage your sweat, you can start with a standard over-the-counter antiperspirant, but some people may want to try a “clinical strength.” The risk with antiperspirants is that they may cause some irritation in sensitive skin, and you may only be able to use them a few nights per week. The key to application for antiperspirants is to apply them at bedtime when the glands are least active. This allows the medication to penetrate into the pores where it blocks the sweat.
When to see a dermatologist:
“Those with more severe issues may want to seek the help of a dermatologist to discuss prescription strength antiperspirants or Botox injections. If injections are not for you, there are prescription oral medications that can help with reducing sweating,” says Dr. Fenton.