It might be nice to see the sun, but if you’re a sensitive skin person, a parent or pale, chances are the sun poses some concerns for you.
That’s why we’ve created our ‘expert guide’ to the challenges facing us in the summer months and how natural, organic skincare can help you find relief.
The number one challenge in the summer (even in good old blighty) is sunburn. It’s a bit of a curse, and none of us escapes it.
Firstly, even if you’re very dark skinned, you need to wear a good organic sunscreen. Whilst darker skins produce more melanin and don’t tend to burn as fast, they are just as prone to skin cancers and damage to those with fairer skin.
A good sunscreen should cover both UVA and UVB rays, which help not only to protect from burning and cancer-causing skin damage, but also prevent premature signs of aging.
If you have allergy prone skin, you may want to make sure it is fragrance free and certainly for children this is important.
For fair skinned people and children, an SPF of at least 30 is the minimum safe level. There’s little difference between 30 and 50, but 50 can work if you’re very fair.
When you apply your sunscreen, make sure that you rub it in well and use enough – it should be quite thickly applied. Roughly the size of a two pence piece for an arm is the right amount.
Re-apply every three - four hours, more in mid-day sun and always after water exposure. NO sunscreen is totally waterproof so don’t skip this step. If you’re sweating and need to towel off a lot, or if you’ve worked out, you will need to reapply then too.
Look for ingredients that also nurture the skin harmoniously. Natural sunscreen with aloe helps to cool and soothe overheated skin. As little alcohol as possible in your product will reduce sensitivity and save it from drying the skin.
Prickly heat (miliaria crystallina or miliaria rubra) or heat rash happens when you’re hot or you sweat a lot.
It’s itchy and stingy, but not dangerous, just uncomfortable.
It can happen to anyone, but it's more common in babies and young children, who cannot regulate their body temperatures before the age of four. Sports people, new-borns in incubators, and poorly people are also more prone to it.
To ease symptoms, firstly, ditch any fragrances and switch to unscented skincare. Cool showers and aloe based shower gels may help to soothe the heat.
Don't scratch. This brings the blood to the surface and heats the area more. Instead use a cold compress for twenty minutes and tap the rash to ease the irritation.
Use cooled cotton sheets at bedtime and pay attention to the base layer on your bed – you can even chill sheets in the fridge.
Even very slim people can find they get ‘hotspots or areas of chafing, especially in the summer.
Chafing leads to sore, broken skin, blisters and can become very uncomfortable indeed. It tends to affect areas where the skin folds, so armpits, groin, thighs, and under the breast.
Babies are very quickly affected, as are people with limited mobility. If you’ve thighs that touch, you may well get blisters on the inside of them, and athletes are very prone to it.
To manage it, firstly get a great ‘slip’ balm or ointment to stop the skin causing friction. If you’re already chafed, an antiseptic one can also speed healing.
You may find repair lotions can help, but avoid lanolin, which is not great for skin health (it’s often found in nappy rash).
For thighs, you can get shorts designed to protect the skin. Just be careful to get natural fabrics as lycra can often worsen other issues like heat rash.
Occasionally adults will get a sweat rash under the arms, groin or under breasts. This is a form of prickly heat but is more likely to get infected or fill with pus (miliaria pustulosa) then other types.
In severe cases this can be transmitted to deeper dermal layers and cause a more severe infection which looks like goosebumps but can split open and be painful.
Easing this is similar to prickly heat but using wipes to keep the area clean and fresh is more important. Avoid talc on the area, it only serves to block up the dermal layers.
Polymorphic Light Eruptions
Polymorphic light eruption is a common skin rash caused by exposure to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light.
It causes an itchy or burning rash to appear within hours, although it can show up to three days after exposure, usually lasting up to a fortnight.
The rash tends to appear where skin is exposed, but sometimes not the face – very often the chest and neck will show first.
The rash can be blistered, large and bullseye or most commonly sore, raised red patches.
There's no cure for polymorphic light eruption, but using natural sunscreens and staying out of the sun at its strongest can help (11am and 3pm).
If you need any advice about managing eczema or allergy prone skin in the summer, contact our skin experts here >