One of the few bad things about summer weather is the reaction our skin has to dry weather. Dry skin is a common ailment during the hot summer months – but why does this happen? Typically, dry summer skin happens when your skin is missing its natural layer of oils that are supposed to protect your skin and keep it moisturized. Dry skin can manifest itself through cracks, itching or flaking.
Usually, people with seasonally dry skin find that this problem goes away on its own when the weather changes, but it’s still important to retain your skin’s natural oils year round. Luckily, we have several natural ways you can take care of your dry skin during the summer.
1. Shower right
The way you take showers can have a surprisingly large impact on how your skin reacts. Long, hot showers are bad for your skin, no matter what time of year it is. Hot showers dry you out by sloughing off your skin’s oils, and if your skin feels tight, itchy or even stings after a shower, try turning the temperature down or cutting down on your shower time.
The soaps you use are also important. Avoid heavily scented soaps with lots of chemicals, and look for a gentle creamy soap that won’t strip away your body’s oils. Usually, mild and fragrance-free soaps are a safer choice for your skin.
“Even though it might feel good to take a long, hot shower, prolonged exposure to hot water breaks down the protective oils on the skin, leaving it tight and dry,” states Dr. Alan J. Parks of Eastside Dermatology.
2. Rinse after the pool
Whether you go to a waterpark or a community pool party, summertime is all about poolside fun! One thing to watch out for is chlorine levels in your pool water, because chlorine and other harsh chemicals can dry out your skin. After you get out of the pool, be sure to take a quick rinse in the shower to wash off most of the chemicals.
Even if you’re swimming in a non-chlorinated body of water like a natural lake, it’s still a good idea to take a quick rinse in the shower to give your skin a break.
3. Pat dry
It’s easy to overlook the way you handle your skin on a day-to-day basis, like how you towel yourself dry. After your dip in the pool and shower, remember to pat yourself dry gently. By patting yourself dry instead of scrubbing vigorously, you aren’t stripping off your skin’s essential oils.
After patting dry, your skin should still be just slightly damp. You can apply fragrance-free body lotion over your skin’s normally dry spots to lock in the moisture.
4. Use safe products
If you have sensitive skin, certain chemicals in body products can be damaging or make your skin feel uncomfortable. With lotions, makeup and body scrubs, always know what’s in the mixture and be able to determine if it will agree with your body chemistry.
For people with dry skin, alcohol-based products can be especially drying and make your skin feel stretched and tight. Consult with your dermatologist to figure out what products are right and safe for your body.
5. Prevent sun damage
Always protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays! There’s a reason you keep hearing about this tip –it’s so important to make sure your skin is well protected from dangerous UV rays. Having sunburn on top of already dry summer skin is a recipe for a painful disaster!
Avoid staying in the sun during the strongest hours of the day, usually 10 AM to 3 PM during the summer and use sunscreen whenever you go outdoors. Invest in an SPF moisturizer that you’ll remember to apply every day in your morning routine – your skin will thank you for it.
Taking care of your skin is a sound investment for the future. When your skin feels dry and itchy, that’s its signal that it needs more care from you! Dr. Parks even states that eating fish can help your dry skin. “Fish contain crucial fatty acids that can help keep your skin hydrated which will prevent it from getting dry.”
Treat your skin with the love it deserves; it’s the only one you’ve got! If you have any questions about your skin care process, consult your dermatologist for an expert opinion.