Summer is a time of fun and activity, but getting itchy, dried, or burned skin can quickly put a damper on the festivities. Here are some skin irritants that tend to be prevalent in the summer, and how to prevent them:

 

Heat rash

Heat rash can be an annoying rash that we get specifically in places where sweat gathers, or where our clothes rub against the skin. Keep heat rash at bay by:

  1. Wearing loose and lightweight, breathable clothing. When exercising or going outside especially, stay away from tight clothing that could trap sweat.
  2. Avoiding spending excessive amounts of time in hot environments.

Acne

Acne happens when our pores get clogged, and in the summer months when we spend time outdoors, our pores can get clogged with sweat, dirt, sand, oils, and other bacteria. Avoid acne by:

  1. Wash sweaty clothes before using them again, such as hats, shirts, shorts, and towels.
  2. Gently dab or pat sweat and water off your skin instead of wiping, as wiping can irritate your skin into a breakout.
  3. Wash sunscreen and any tanning oils off your skin (especially face) at the end of the day, so they won’t clog pores.

Poison ivy and insect allergies

Poison ivy allergies and insect bite/sting allergies are common, and can put a severe damper on your summer activities. Here’s how to reduce them:

  1. Get to know what poison ivy (as well as poison oak and sumac) looks like so you know what to avoid.
  2. Be careful walking near the edges of fields and woods, as this is where poison ivy likes to grow.
  3. Wear a natural bug repellent so you can avoid insect bites and stings, without irritating your skin.
  4. Be wary of bees, and check outdoor corners of homes, porches, and outdoor furniture before using to ensure you don’t accidentally disturb a beehive.

Dry skin

While many think of winter as the season of dry skin, the heat, sun, wind, salt water, chlorine, and air-conditioning can all be factors that dry out our skin in the summer. Keep your skin hydrated by:

  1. Moisturizing your skin right after a shower. Be sure to choose a moisturizer that is fragrance-free, since fragrance can be a skin irritant, and that does not contain mineral oil (which can be pore-clogging).
  2. Showering with mild soap after swimming in the pool or ocean, so as to get drying elements (chlorine and salt) off your skin without further drying it.
  3. Keeping the air conditioner at a temperature that is low enough to keep your living space or car comfortable, but avoid turning it too cool as the cold, dry air could end up drying out your skin.

Sunburn

The sun is one of the most known irritants to our skin, but it is actually much more than just an irritant; the sun can be very damaging to our skin. Keep your skin safe from sunburn by:

  1. Spending most of your time outdoors in the shade, versus prolonged exposure to the sun.
  2. Carefully choose, apply, and re-apply a natural sunscreen that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that could damage or irritate our skin.
  3. Have children wear long sleeved swim shirts when swimming.