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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

How to protect your skin in the heat

How to protect your skin in the heat

As temperatures are set to reach as high as 35C across parts of England and Wales this weekend, dermatologists have issued a warning to people about skin conditions caused or aggravated by the heat.

Dermatologist Adeline Kikam told the BBC "extreme or high temperatures can have adverse impact on skin".

She says several skin conditions can develop, or worsen, during persistently high temperatures.

These include:

*  heat rash

*  sunburn

*  aggravated eczema (dry, irritated skin)

*  chafing

*  increased breakouts and spots

Heat rashes, tiny bumps or blisters in the skin, happen when there is an obstruction in the sweat ducts and inflammation.

They are more common during the summer because they are triggered by heat and humidity.

Dr Kikam says high temperatures can also worsen or aggravate eczema.

High temperatures lead to increased sweating, which in turn can make the skin even drier and the salt residue from the sweat can cause inflammation in the skin. This combination leads to redness, and general discomfort.

Spots and breakouts are common during high temperatures because there is an excess secretion of oil from our sebaceous glands. This combined with sweating and products like make-up can clog pores and trap dirt in the skin.

Sunburn is the result of long exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

If you have darker skin, and therefore more melanin, your body has a base protective layer to UV radiation and it might take longer to notice the symptoms of sunburn (redness and blisters).

"Damage to the skin is just not as visible, but you're still getting the damage," Dr Kikam says.

Dr Adeline Kikam warns conditions can develop, or worsen, during high temperatures


For those suffering from heat rashes, Dr Kikam says patients should remove themselves from hot and humid environments when possible and ensure they have access to good ventilation, by using fans and air conditioner - and keep the affected area of the skin dry.

The same goes for chafing - rubbing on the skin from clothing or other surfaces. Wearing loose clothing, ensuring your skin is dry and avoiding friction are the best ways to avoid it, says Dr Kikam.

For those suffering from aggravated eczema, it is important to keep your skin moisturised with neutral lotions, she adds.

For sunburns, Dr Kikam says everyone should ensure they are wearing sunscreen to protect themselves from exposure to UV radiation and avoid direct sun exposure for long periods of time.

She adds regularly cleansing your skin ensures you can minimise your risk of having breakouts, as you are avoiding product build up and keeping your pores unclogged.

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