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Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:17

Combating the Top Five Most Common Summer Skin Care Problems

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As the summer sun begins to sizzle, skin often pays the price. To protect the masses heading outside to enjoy the sun, I offer the following insight to address the five most common sunshine related skin care issues.

Hyperpigmentation and Redness: Pigmentation will always be worse during the summer months because the sun triggers the production of melanin. Heat also triggers inflammation which increases melanin activity resulting in hyperpigmentation. To counteract these conditions, I recommend:

Exfoliate skin regularly: A mild acid peel helps to break up and remove pigmented cells, as well as draw excess oil out of the pores to leave the skin less shiny.

Look for licorice extract in topical products; some feel this ingredient is effective in treating uneven skin tone.
Tap into new light therapy technologies: Light therapy is proven to reduce the appearance of pore size and redness. There are great at-home devices that can utilize both LED and infrared light to accelerate skin rejuvenation and improve skin tone. I also suggest avoiding outdoor activities during the warmest parts of the day so heat does not take its toll on those genetically prone to hyperpigmentation.

Sunburns: As a dermatologist, I encourage my patients to stay out of the summer sun as much as possible; however, I know that sun exposure and sunburns are inevitable. When faced with sunburn, reducing the inflammation as soon as possible will help reduce damage to the skin. I recommend:
Take an aspirin and apply a hydrocortisone cream to reduce swelling and redness.
For a natural approach, soak a cloth in milk and ice and apply it to the affected area for at least 10 minutes. Aloe can also be soothing when applied to the burnt area.
Use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Some of the newer sprays and pumps work well and are easier
to use.

Calluses: Hyperkeratosis (or calluses) form when too much pressure is combined with friction, which stimulates the skin to thicken and protect itself. When it is time to bare all in summer sandals, calluses prove to be embarrassing – about 10 percent of American women complain of unsightly, often painful calluses. To combat calluses, I recommend:
Combine a bath of warm water, Epsom salts and body wash in a tub and soak your feet for 15 minutes. After soaking, rub the callus with a pumice stone.

Razor Burn: In the summer, when you are shaving more often, it is more likely that the hair will dive back under the skin causing ingrown hairs. For this I suggest the following:
Use a loofah to gently exfoliate the skin and encourage the hair to pop out.
Shaving reduces the top layer of skin by 20 percent and often results in irritation. To avoid feeling this burn, store razors in some place other than the shower and replace razors every two weeks. Items left in the shower are more prone to bacteria which can lead to discomfort or infection.
Shave in the evening before bed since sweating can increase irritation.

Acne: Breakouts are a common problem as the summer heat warms up. Warmer weather results in more sweat, which in turn clogs pores and creates a breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria, one of the most common causes of acne. Here is what I recommend to combat acne during the summer months:
Use a non-comedogenic UVA and UVB sunscreen that will not clog pores.
Use a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide based cleanser twice a day.
Blue LED light has been proven to fight acne by penetrating molecules within the skin that cause P. acnes bacteria to form. These molecules react to the blue light therapy by producing free radicals that destroy the bacteria itself.

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