Summer Skin Hazards

Summer skin hazards sunburn

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of summer skin hazards

Inhabitants of tropics, subtropics, humid and arid regions are subjected to extreme heat conditions throughout the year. This gives rise to numerous heat-related disorders within these people and few of them develop permanent skin diseases as well. A very common problem observed in frequent beach visitors and inhabitants of equatorial regions is “summer skin hazards”. They encompass various skin disorders such as heat rash, sunburn and different forms of infections. According to estimates by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 128,885 deaths were reported in the year 2015 due to heat-induced ailments.

 

What are summer skin hazards?

Summer skin hazards itchingSummer skin hazards refer to the cascade of skin disorders that arise due to excessive heat and increased intensity of Ultraviolet radiation in summer.

This includes all forms of heat-induced skin ailments such as heat rashes, blisters, infections, acute sunburns and a lot more. It is to be noted that sunlight is useful for the skin only to a certain extent.

It helps in the synthesis of Vitamin D which is essential for the body. But increased exposure to direct sun rays and UV rays beyond a certain magnitude causes detrimental effects on the skin. In a few extreme cases the underlying tissues are also damaged and these diseases are usually incurable.

 

Role of UV rays in summer skin hazards

Ultraviolet rays play a prime role in heat-related skin diseases. The human body gets exposed to mainly three main types of UV rays-

  • UVA rays: These are of least magnitude and cause mild skin disorders like aging, spots, and wrinkles.
  • UVB rays: These have a relatively higher intensity and can cause damage to the DNA of skin cells, leading to skin cancer in a few cases.
  • UVC rays: They are of the highest intensity, but they normally react with the ozone layer and do not reach the ground. Therefore they are least responsible for heat-induced skin disorders.

The risk of damage due to UV rays depends on the duration and degree of exposure to these rays. The following factors are accountable –

  • Sun elevation: Higher the intensity of solar radiation, greater is the risk of UV triggered skin damage.
  • Latitude: Places closer to equatorial regions are more exposed to UV rays.
  • Cloud cover: Increased cloud cover can obstruct UV rays from reaching the Earth’s surface.
  • Altitude: Thinner air layers at higher altitude absorb less UV radiation.
  • Ozone: The ozone layer absorbs a portion of the incoming UV radiation.
  • Surface reflection: Surface of snow, sand, and water reflect more UV radiation.

 

General causes of summer skin hazards

Summer skin hazards sunburnThe most common causes of summer skin hazards are as follows-

  • Extremely hot weather with the complete absence of breeze or wind (in arid regions)
  • Increased exposure to direct UV radiation (high intensity) of the sun
  • Failure of melatonin pigment to protect the skin ( due to excessive exposure to heat)
  • Exposure to the sun between 10 AM- 2 PM (period of maximum intensity of sunrays)
  • Habitual exposure to sun due to leisure activities in summer such as tanning, swimming, surfing, skiing or other beach activities.
  • Reflection of sunlight from water, sand, snow
  • Reduced use of sunscreens, hats, heat-friendly clothing and sunglasses exacerbate existing skin hazard conditions
  • Ozone depletion due to global warming (effect felt mainly in industrial areas)
  • Excessive sweating due to overactivated sweat glands
  • Clogging of sweat glands due to an accumulation of wastes and dirt (impedes sweat to travel via sweat ducts to the skin surface)
  • Covering the skin with an air-tight material (waterproof clothing)
  • Insufficient cooling of the body
  • The extreme sensitivity of skin to a high temperature
  • Low intake of fluids
  • Infections caused by tick virus or West Nile virus which are more common in summer
  • Toxicity due to direct contact with poison-ivy plants which grow well in summer

 

Symptoms of summer skin hazards

The following symptoms are normally observed in case of summer skin hazards–

  • Skin inflammation due to sunburn
  • Reddened and dry skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blisters and heat rashes
  • Pinprick sensation in the rash-affected region
  • Increased tenderness of the skin
  • Peeled of scales from affected areas

 

Types of summer skin hazards

Five types of illnesses are induced within the body due to extreme heat in summer namely- heat stroke, heat edema, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat rash. They give rise to different forms of skin hazards. The first classification of skin hazards belongs to the category of skin burns due to summer heat. Three types of skin burns are identified-

  • First degree burn: It is not so severe and affects only the outer epidermis.
  • Second degree burn: It is relatively severe and damages the dermal layer.
  • Third degree burn: It causes damage to all the skin layers and underlying tissues.

Coming to heat rashes, the following types of summer heat rashes are observed-

  • Miliaria rubra: It is marked by formation of minute blisters and papules which cause constant itching and irritation and is caused by obstruction of sweat ducts in the deep epidermis.
  • Miliaria crystallina: It is more common in infants and appears in the form of fluid filled vesicles.
  • Miliaria profunda: It is characterized by large flesh coloured papules and is caused due to clogging of sweat ducts in the dermis.
  • Miliaria pustulosa: It causes acute inflammation and pustule formation and is induced by bacteria that are dominant in summer.

Another rough classification is done based on the extent of skin pigmentation due to summer heat-

  • Light pigmentation: It causes mild spots and little tanning.
  • Intermediate pigmentation: It causes brown solar spots and significant tanning.
  • Heavy pigmentation: It causes serious damage to the skin due to excessive pigmentation and mole formation.

 

Clinical complications of summer skin hazards

Summer skin hazards melanomaSummer skin hazards, when left untreated, can give rise to the following clinical complications in the future

(most of which are either cancerous or precancerous in nature)

  • Lentigines ( freckles and solar brown spots)
  • Melanocytic naevi (permanent benign moles)
  • Keratosis (precancerous skin-cell growth)
  • Melanoma (skin cancer)

 

 

Recommendations for summer skin hazards

Doctors normally recommend the following habits that can help prevent or at least reduce summer skin hazards-

  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes to facilitate ventilation
  • Use sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) higher than 15
  • Drink lots of fluids to compensate for excessive sweating
  • Stay in cool and well-ventilated places/rooms
  • Wear UV absorbing sunglasses to prevent eye-infection
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats to protect the face and neck region

 

Treatment  

Folliculitis 

  • Medications
    • Creams or pills to control infection – Antibiotic creams, gels and lotions are prescribed for mild infections. Oral antibiotics are not prescribed unless your infection is severe or recurrent.Antibiotics are not helpful in treating fungal infections. Your doctor will prescribe you an antifungal cream, gel or lotion to treat the fungal infection.
    • Cream or pills to reduce inflammation – Your doctor will prescribe you with steroids to help reduce the inflammation caused by folliculitis.
  • Alternate methods
    • Minor surgery – If a boil has formed over the infected area, your doctor will make a small incision and drain the boil. This helps in relieving the pain and swelling. In case the boil is still draining your doctor will cover the area with sterile gauze.
    • Laser hair removal – This treatment is undertaken for the removal of long-term hair, which helps in reducing the infection. This method is opted for if all other treatments have failed.

Acne 

  • Topical medication
    • Retinoid and retinoid-like drugs – These can be applied on your skin 2-3 times a week and then every day after your skin becomes used to it. This helps in plugging the hair follicles to reduce acne.
    • Antibiotics – For the first few months, a prescription of retinoids and antibiotics will be prescribed. These help in reducing the swelling and redness on the skin.
    • Salicylic acid and azelaic acid – There are present in the creams or gels that your doctor may prescribe. They help in plugging hair follicles.
    • Dapsone – This is prescribed in a gel form to help reduce the acne present on your skin.
  • Oral medication – Antibiotics, a combination of oral contraceptives, anti-androgens and isotretinoin will be prescribed to cure acne. These help in blocking the hair follicles, oil glands, and androgen from forming acne on your skin.
  • Therapies – Laser and photodynamic therapy, chemical peel, extraction of blackheads and whiteheads and steroid injections are some of the therapies that can help reduce your acne. These therapies may need to be done frequently as the acne tends to come back.

Sunburns 

  • The severe symptoms of sunburn tend to develop 2-3 days post the damage to your skin is done.
  • Generally, sunburns tend to heal on their own.
  • Treatments for sunburns do not heal your skin, but they can help relieve the symptoms such as pain, itching, and burning.
  • There are certain home remedies that can help ease the symptoms of sunburn –
    • Pain relievers – Ibuprofens can help relieve the pain and swelling caused by sunburns.
    • Lukewarm or cool baths – Taking a cool or lukewarm bath can help reduce the itching and leave a cool feeling on to the affected area.
    • Creams, lotions or gels – Aloe vera or calamine lotions and gels can help soothe the symptoms of a sunburn.
    • Drink water – This helps you from getting dehydrated.

 

Prevention

Folliculitis 

  • Do not wear tight clothes.
  • Make sure to clean your rubber gloves between each use.
  • Try and shave as less as possible. If you chose to shave, shave with care.

Acne 

  • Maintain proper hygiene.
  • Do not have any greasy and oily food.
  • Have a bath frequently, if you tend to sweat a lot.

Sunburns

  • Avoid sun exposure between 10 A.M to 4 P.M. as the sun rays are strongest during this time.
  • Use sunscreen frequently.
  • Avoid sun tanning and sunbathing.
  • Cover up.

Facts

  • Sunburns tend to occur 3-5 hours post the sun exposure.
  • Caucasians with light hair color have a higher chance of getting a sunburn.

Facts

  • Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature rises to 106 degrees. This is a highly fatal condition.
  • Poison ivy allergies, bug-bites, and tick-bites are more commonly observed during the summers.

Facts

  • It is also important to protect your lips from getting sunburnt. Apply a lip balm which provides sun protection.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Look for any indication of infection post the bite or sting – for insect bites or stings.
  • Use a gel cleanser – for back acne.
  • Take a cool or lukewarm shower – for sunburns.
Don'ts
  • Scrub your skin; it can irritate the acne – for back acne.
  • Use petroleum jelly or petroleum-based products as they tend to create a block your skin – for sunburns.

 

 

 

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sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Isagenix diet weight loss
How are BMI and BMR different and what do these numbers mean? BMI and BMR are two important metrics that provide a clear picture of your body's metabolism and also…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Cottage cheese: What can you find in this healthy chunk of fresh milk cheese? Love cheese but scared of putting on extra pounds? With cottage cheese, you can get the best of…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Sciatica pain relief: Get rid of the pain with these easy daily tips Researchers have claimed that not only heat but icing the area too helps relieve sciatica pain. Find out…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Tight phimosis ring
Phimosis Read to know everything about phimosis, types, symptoms, treatment, risks and prognosis for patients with this condition.
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…