Summer is officially here, but for many of us the season has already begun with long evenings spent by the lake, backyard barbecues and the welcome sound of an approaching ice cream truck. But with the luxuriously warm days comes something a little less pleasant… summer skin conditions or, as they are known to specialists, “summer dermatoses.” Of course, the most common summer skin ailment is sunburn. It is important to stay protected and there are quite a few heat related skin issues that could jeopardize your summer fun.
Here are four summer conditions you might not be thinking about, but should be:
Four Summer Skin Problems and How to Avoid Them
1. Superficial Yeast/Fungus
First up is the Superficial Yeast/Fungus infection, tinea versicolor. This disease is a “superficial yeast infection on the skin.” It is particularly prevalent in places that are humid all year round like the tropics, but in the summer can be seen across the globe.
Cause: Tinea versicolor occurs when your skin is exposed to yeast. We pretty much have yeast living on our skin all year long however in the summer months this yeast that is usually benign can get a bit out of hand. With more sweating comes more favorable conditions for yeast growth.
Prevent and treat it: Prevent this yeast bonanza by staying clean. The best preventative measure is to rinse off after a particularly sweaty day. Hop into the shower ASAP after exercising in humid weather. A recommendation is to use soap that will prevent yeast overgrowth. If tinea versicolor is a recurring issue talk to your doctor or dermatologist about more intense treatments.
2. Poison Ivy
Hiking and camping are perfect summer activities. However, contracting poison ivy or poison oak can really put a damper on a fabulous day in the great outdoors. The medical name for these issues is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis refers to any condition that occurs when touching something leads to a rash or allergic reaction on the skin’s surface. Contact dermatitis can cause itchiness and redness sometimes with some flaking (of the skin). More sever cases can cause blisters, hives or swelling.
Cause: Poison ivy is the most famous of the “contact dermatidities” Surprisingly, flowers can cause some major summer skin issues. Some possible irritants are lavender, daffodils and alstroemeria flowers.
Prevent and treat it: The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to be hyper aware of your surroundings, particularly when camping. Get to know what poison ivy and poison oak look like. It is also important to be careful in your parks and backyard. Avoid walking through tall grasses and stick to the paths. This is treatable with over the counter hydrocortisone. However, if the rash is more severe you may need a prescription strength steroid from your own dermatologist.
3. Bug Bites
Bug bites! They are downright annoying but can also lead to some more serious health issues like Lyme disease or West Nile virus. Scratching a bug bite until it bleeds can also lead to infection. The summer months mean fewer clothes, more bugs and more bug bites. Bug bites can range in size from barely there specks to massive welts. Bug bite size does not correlate to bug or bug size. The idea that the size of the bite is determined by the bug; is a myth.
Cause: Initially the “cause” of a bug bite seems pretty straightforward. However, the bug’s decision-making process is more complicated than just easy access to human blood.
Prevent and treat it: Unfortunately, your skin’s lipid mix is based on genetics. You can’t change your DNA, but there are some preventative measures that everyone can take to avoid summer bites. The CDS recommends using bug repellents that contain DEET, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is important, especially in the summer to sleep inside or in a screened in area (like a tent). If you have a bug bite that is unusually itchy or feels painful, contact your doctor or dermatologist.
4. Molluscum Virus
Molluscum, this virus is just as unpleasant as its name suggests. The molluscum virus is seen most often in children. While not particularly dangerous, mollusum is annoying. It causes whitish translucent tan bumps anywhere on the body. These bumps can last for up to four years.
Cause: Molluscum thrives in under chlorinated water, which is why it occurs so often over the summer. The virus can be passed from skin-to-skin contact. The reason why kids get it so commonly and adults don’t is because the immune system mounts a reaction to the virus. Eventually you can be exposed and not get the bump because your immune system knows how to fight it. When kids are first exposed to it, the body attacks, and the attack leads to the bumps.
Prevent and treat it: Preventing molluscum can be tricky. No one wants to avoid pools all summer, let alone stop kids from jumping into a pool. Check with the pool owner to make sure that they are properly chlorinating it. It is also important to wash off as soon as you get out of the pool. Maintaining good hygiene is a way to prevent molluscum (as well as many other viruses.)
Ready to speak with a skincare expert? Contact University Dermatology by calling 704.596.1787 today!