An itchy rash or sunburned skin can quickly sideline summer fun. Here are The American Academy of Dermatologists latest ‘how-to’ tips to keep your days carefree and easygoing by learning how to prevent these summer skin problems.
1. Acne breakouts: When sweat mixes with bacteria and oils on your skin, it can clog your pores. If you have acne-prone skin, this often means breakouts.
Dermatologists recommend the following to help prevent acne:
You’ll find more ways to prevent breakouts at: Acne (click on tips)
2. Dry, irritated skin: When outdoor air is hot and humid, you can still have dry irritated skin. The biggest culprits are spending time in the sun, pool, and air-conditioning.
If your skin starts to feel dry and irritated despite the humidity, try these tips:
3. Folliculitis: Every hair on your body grows out of an opening called a follicle. When follicles get infected, you develop folliculitis. Infected hair follicles look like pimples, but they tend to be itchy and tender.
4. Infection from a manicure or pedicure: Manicures and pedicures can leave your nails looking great, but they can also expose you to germs that can cause an infection.
You don’t have to give up manicures and pedicures. Taking some precautions can help you avoid an infection.
You’ll find out what dermatologists recommend at: Manicure and pedicure safety
5. Melasma: Being out in the sun can make those brown to gray-brown patches on your face more noticeable.
There are things you can do to make it less noticeable even during the summer: Melasma
6. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac (rash): Many people develop an intensely itchy rash when a substance found in these plants, urushiol, gets on their skin.
The best way to avoid this itchy rash is to learn what these plants look like and avoid them. You’ll find out how to identify these plants and protect your skin when you cannot avoid them at: Poison ivy, oak, and sumac (click on Tips)
7. Prickly heat (or heat rash): Blocked sweat glands cause this. Because the sweat cannot get out, it builds up under your skin, causing a rash and tiny, itchy bumps. When the bumps burst and release sweat, many people feel a prickly sensation on their skin.
Anything you can do to stop sweating profusely will help reduce your risk. Tips that dermatologists offer to their patients to help them sweat less and thereby lessen their risk of getting prickly heat include:
8. Seabather’s eruption: Also called pica-pica, this itchy rash develops in people who go in the Caribbean Sea and the waters off the coasts of Florida and Long Island, New York. You get it when newly hatched jellyfish or sea anemones get trapped between your skin and your swimsuit, fins, or other gear.
The larvae are as small as a speck of pepper, so you won’t see them in the water. You can, however, prevent this rash if you:
9. Sun allergy: You can develop hives (an allergic skin reaction) when you’re in the sun if you:
If you have an allergic reaction to the sun, you’ll see red, scaly, and extremely itchy bumps on some (or all) bare skin. Some people also get blisters.
To prevent an allergic skin reaction:
10. Sunburn: Getting sunburn can spoil summer fun and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Here’s what you can do to prevent sunburned skin:
You’ll find more tips to protect your skin from the sun at Prevent skin cancer.
11. Swimmer’s ear: When water gets trapped in your ear canal, you can develop an infection called swimmer’s ear.
You can prevent this infection by keeping your ears dry. Here’s what dermatologists recommend:
12. Swimmer’s itch: Also called clam digger’s itch, this itchy rash appears after wading or swimming in lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water. You get it when parasites in the water burrow into your skin, causing tiny red spots on areas that your swimsuit didn’t cover. Sometimes, intensely itch welts (hives) and blisters appear.
Children are especially susceptible because they tend to stay in shallow, warmer water.
You can prevent swimmer’s itch by taking the following precautions:
Caution: If your skin stings with brisk rubbing, stop. You (or your child) may have seabather’s eruption.
While these summer skin problems can dampen your fun, they’re usually not serious. Most go away in a few days to a few weeks. If a rash or other skin problem lingers or worsens, give us a call at 941.484.8222
Khachemoune A, Yalamanchili R, et al. “What is your diagnosis? Seabather’s eruption.” Cutis. 2006;77:148, 151-2.
McMichael A, Guzman Sanchez D, et al. “Folliculitis and the follicular occlusion tetrad.” In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. In: Bolognia JL et al. Dermatology. (second edition). Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008: 517-9.
Wolff K et al. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine (seventh edition). McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: