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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Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
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…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
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.…
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…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
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…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
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?…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
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…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…