We love summer because of the warm weather, long days, and more time to spend with others. This season has many benefits, but those of us whose skin is prone to rashes are a little more aware of some of the drawbacks. Many summer irritants cause rashes, including the sun itself, sweat, allergens, some plants and bugs, and some sunscreens. For those who have existing conditions like psoriasis and eczema, those irritants can be even more frustrating. Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid rashes this summer and tend to them when they do occur.
A rash is a change in skin texture due to inflammation and can be caused by many different kinds of irritants. The causes of summertime rashes are different than those in winter since we’re outside rather than inside, and we wear fewer clothes than in colder months.
Heat rash is one common condition that can occur when we’re outside and sweating a lot. It happens when sweat gets trapped under the outermost layer of skin, causing buildup and a reaction. This might happen from longer periods of exercise or sports outside.
Sunburns can lead to bad rashes when severe enough, and may require medical attention. They might become cancerous, so any kind of changes that look irregular should be checked out. The main sign of skin cancer is a new mole following a sunburn, so regular mole evaluations and self-monitoring are important.
Hives are another kind of rash that can occur in the summer, an allergic reaction to bug bites, plants like poison ivy or poison oak, pollen, and some foods like berries or shellfish. Antihistamines can usually help alleviate hives, but other kinds of rashes might need more attention. Talk to your doctor to see what will work best for you.
Acne is a type of rash, and people with acne-prone skin might have flare-ups during the summer. When it's hot and humid outside, your skin is sweating more often, which means dirt and bacteria have more of a chance to build upon your skin and contribute to breakouts. It's also possible that the acne skincare routine you were using during the winter won't be as effective in the hot summer weather.
Like any other skin condition, you’ll want to seek advice from your dermatologist before starting a treatment plan. Your dermatologist may recommend working out in an air-conditioned space for those who overheat, or looser clothing to ensure breathability for the skin as you sweat. In addition, you can enjoy the outdoors in the shade, or at times when the sun isn’t so strong, i.e., before 10am and after 4pm. You can use the same strategies to avoid warm-seasonal rashes that you would try to stay cool.
Depending on the type and severity of the rash, your dermatologist might suggest medications and/or topicals that can help with itching and discomfort while it heals. Knowing the source of the problem always helps find the right solution. If you’ve been dealing with a rash, or want to avoid them this summer, talk to one of our expert dermatologists!