The Heat & Your Skin


Summer brings with it many challenges to your skin. The heat, dryness, and UV rays all damage — drying out and harming the skin, making you look older than you actually are. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays damages the collagen and elastin in your skin, making your skin sag and wrinkle prematurely. Total escape may be impossible — after all, it’s not like we can stay the entire summer indoors. But there are things we can do to alleviate summer woes and ways to treat conditions that arise from the summer heat. Here are some common summer skin issues and ways to mitigate the damage:

Sunburn: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages skin cells and causes mutations in the DNA. Though some of these mutations are corrected by our bodies, if the UV exposure is more than it can handle, there could be significant damage beyond repair. As the cells start to die off, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow and bring new cells to the skin.

This results in the typical redness and inflammation associated with sunburn. The sunburn will eventually heal, but some surviving cells have mutations that cannot be repaired. These cells eventually become cancerous. To prevent sunburn, wear protection when outside. A wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, sunglasses, and pants all help to keep the sun’s rays off your skin. 

Acne: When sweat mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can lead to clogged pores, resulting in acne. The best thing to do when sweating is to wash the skin or blot the sweat with a clean towel. Wiping can irritate the skin, which can lead to acne breakouts. Use non-comedogenic products on your skin. If the outdoor air is humid, your skin can still be irritated, so wash your skin using clean, cool water. A mild cleanser is good, as well as a moisturizer.

Hives: Hives are large, red, and itchy welts that result from a skin reaction. These welts vary in size and appear and repeatedly fade as the reaction runs its course. While the cause of hives is not entirely clear, the condition can be very uncomfortable and interfere with daily activities and sleep. The goal of treating hives is to control the itching and prevent new hives. Soothing anti-itch lotions (containing menthol) can give you some relief. Antihistamines can help control the itch, and a corticosteroid may be beneficial for severe outbreaks. 

Photoaging: UV rays accelerate the signs of skin aging by provoking free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging. Free radicals are linked to aging and a host of diseases), which break down the proteins in the skin, causing cell and DNA damage.


The body has natural defenses against free radicals in the form of antioxidant production. However, when the number of free radicals becomes too great for the antioxidants to fight off, it shows signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dull and crepey skin. To protect your skin against UV rays, avoid too much sun exposure. Kepp covered, wear a hat and use a sunscreen lotion of at least 30spf.