We all look forward to the warm touch of the sun’s rays on the skin, especially after winter. However, basking in the sun and endless outdoor activities can make your dry skin sensitive to the effects of UV rays. Dry skin (Xeroderma) is genetic. It produces very little natural oil, leaving it feeling or looking:
- Stinging and raw, sensitive to the touch
- Itchy, irritated, and painful
- Rough patches and cracks
- Flaky and red
- Tight and rough
What Happens to The Skin Under Hot Weather
As the temperatures become hotter, so does the heat become unbearable. Heat causes the skin to perspire, causing the skin to produce more oil (sebum) to protect itself. As a result, the pores dilate and may increase the appearance of pimples and acne for those with oily skin.
The sun’s heat may also affect the outer layer of the epidermis (top skin layer), known as the stratum corneum, which acts as the skin barrier. This barrier comprises lipids and dying or dead skin and has a layer of protection that prevents harmful toxins from entering the body. If it gets damaged by the sun’s rays, it results to dry or irritated skin. This is why applying sunscreen is essential to keep the skin hydrated, moisturized, and protected from sun rays.
Warm weather increases water loss from the body and skin, leading to dehydration. This can lead to skin irritation, sunburn, and cracks on the lips. Dehydration can be caused by sun exposure, air conditioning, diet, or repeatedly wiping the face. The skin also loses moisture from the inside, making it itchy, dry, wrinkled, and dull.
If you are dehydrated, you may feel lightheaded and confused, and your tongue and mouth will also be dry. The best solution for dehydration is taking a lot of water to moisturize the skin inside and out. Carry a bottle of water with you and keep sipping at half an hour intervals. Take fruits like watermelon and other healthy juices suitable for the skin. Taking water also helps in eliminating toxins, unclogging pores, and helps keep the skin soft and smooth. Minimize coffee and alcohol consumption.
Humectants also help moisturize the skin by forming steam that gets vented into the air, resulting in a humid and moist atmosphere that helps improve dehydrated skin. Avoid harsh soaps and facial scrubs, especially gritty ones, since they can further irritate the skin. Some products in the market may help seal and moisturize the skin and form a protective barrier to reduce damage from environmental factors.
Sweat, dust, and heat can clog or block the sweat ducts, leading to a heat rash. This traps perspiration beneath the skin, causing blisters or bumps that can irritate the skin. Heat rash can also lead to very itchy skin. The rash develops from humid or hot weather conditions. Once the heat cools down, the rash usually goes away, but severe forms of heat rash may require medical attention from a skincare expert to rule out skin disorders.
If you sweat a lot, ensure you keep the skin clean by bathing twice daily using anti-bacterial soap or gel and keep the skin dry. If your skin is irritated, you can rub ice cubes to cool it down. Creams also help in clearing the irritation.
Sunburn occurs when the skin is exposed to UV (ultraviolet) rays causing damage to your skin. This causes red patches, and your skin may feel warm to the touch. The skin may flake or peel off after a few days. To avoid sunburn, don’t expose yourself to the sun. Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 and above on your face, arms, legs, and neck before leaving the house. Ensure you reapply sunscreen every 4 to 5 hours. It is advisable to wear clothes which cover the skin as much as possible such as wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves.
It can be caused by hot and humid weather or inflammatory skin conditions like acne or eczema. UV rays trigger the production of melanin pigment in the skin’s melanocyte cells. Heat directly affects the skin, causing the blood vessels to dilate, which triggers inflammation. This inflammation causes the melanocytes to produce more pigments leading to hyperpigmentation.
To prevent hyperpigmentation, keep the skin as cool as possible and actively protect your skin from the sun and keep exfoliating it. Check on your diet and get weekly antioxidant protection from your serum. Topical creams do assist in the healing of hyperpigmentation. Severe cases require laser and skin rejuvenation treatments.
Spending too much time in the hot sun disrupts the skin moisture barrier reducing its elasticity. It also leads to low antioxidant levels raising protein levels that destroy collagen. This may lead to early signs of aging, fine lines, and saggy skin. Using skin rejuvenating treatments can help restore your skin’s youthful appearance.
Dead skin cells can be increased by dry air. An accumulation of dead skin cells causes pore blockage. If this occurs, it may prevent your skin care products from penetrating the skin, leaving it dry and flaky. To get rid of buildup, remove the dead cells and excess oils by using non–invasive treatments to eliminate it. Physical and chemical exfoliation to loosen and remove dead cells and dry patches.
UV Rays Damage
UV rays change the skin in several ways. The sun’s rays darken the skin, making it appear freckled. Excessive UV rays also may cause swelling, wrinkles, pigmentation, and premature aging. To prevent this, minimize the time spent outdoors. Always wear a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for extended outdoor activity. This helps protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
How To Take Care of Your Skin During Warm Weather
Maintain good hygiene because warm and wet heat breeds bacteria. Start by cleansing your skin to remove oil. Use an oil-based removing cleanser to control excess sebum. Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers as they tend to dry out and irritate the skin.
Then go for an excellent toner to restore the skin’s PH to protect its barrier from the sun’s hot rays. Use salicylic acid products and always wear a good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and above whenever you are outdoors. Always moisturize your skin while it is still moist from the shower, and avoid hot showers or baths since they may dry your skin further.
Once a week, deeply exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and other debris accumulated in your skin. This opens up clogged pores, reduces excess sebum, and brightens the skin. Choose non-comedogenic products since they don’t clog pores or cause breakouts. Avoid wearing makeup in humid climates; use any thick or greasy formula if you have to.
If your skin has been severely damaged by the sun, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. For more information please contact Sullivan Dermatology.