Why Is My Skin Dry in the Summer?
We often talk about dry skin in the winter, but dry, itchy skin can be an equally challenging problem in the summer for many people. If you are struggling with dry skin that seems to get worse with the summer heat, you are not alone. There are many factors that can contribute to an impaired skin barrier and dry, dehydrated skin in the warm weather, including these common culprits.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is one of the largest causes of dry, red, and irritated skin – especially in the summer. After all, dry, red, and peeling skin are the most common outward symptoms of a sunburn, which occur almost immediately after unprotected exposure to the sun. However, you do not need to spend all day lounging by the pool to feel the effects of the sun on your skin. Even short periods of time in the sun without proper sun-protective clothing and sunscreen can leave your skin dehydrated, dry, and flaky.
Rising air temperatures can strip your skin of its lipids, which are vital components of the protective skin barrier that functions to retain water and prevent irritants from penetrating the skin. This is especially problematic if you live in or are traveling to a dry, arid climate that gets very hot in the summer.
If you live in a humid area like Miami and are traveling to a dry area like Colorado, your skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF) will need time to adjust to its new environment. Read this blog for tips on how to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Just like the heat in your home or office can dry out your skin in the winter, summertime air conditioning in your home can leave you feeling dry and itchy. Both remove moisture from the air, leaving less available in the environment for your skin to pull in and retain. So even if you try to beat the heat by relaxing in the cool A/C, your skin may still need extra help holding onto adequate moisture.
While very handy for ensuring that pools and hot tubs are clean and free of harmful bacteria, chlorine is a known irritant that can easily dry out your skin. This effect is made worse if you do not rinse the chlorine off of your skin as soon as possible after swimming. Ideally, take a shower or rinse your body with clean water immediately after swimming in a chlorinated body of water. If this is not possible, towel-dry your skin and change out of your bathing suit until you are able to shower. Immediately follow your shower with a barrier repair moisturizer like Zerafite.
It is no secret that alcohol dehydrates your body – but don’t forget that it also dehydrates your skin. This is why you may wake up with a dull, lackluster complexion the morning after having a few drinks. The best way to avoid this cause of dry skin would be to avoid or limit alcohol consumption. If you are going to have a cocktail by the pool, be sure to follow it with a glass of water to help keep your body hydrated.
How to Treat Dry Skin in the Summer
Follow these tips to eliminate dry, flaky skin this summer:
- Use a barrier repair moisturizer. Dry, dehydrated skin has an impaired skin barrier. Use a barrier repair moisturizer such as Zerafite Barrier Repair to restore the proper balance of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol to the skin, thus strengthening and repairing its barrier.
- Choose the right moisturizing ingredients for your skin type. In addition to a barrier repair moisturizer, add moisturizing and skin-soothing ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera to your daily regimen for added hydration and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Use sunscreen and practice good sun protection habits. Keeping your skin protected from the sun is imperative when managing and preventing dry, irritated skin this summer. Wear at least SPF 15 daily, using SPF 30 or higher on days when you plan to be outdoors for 30 minutes or more. Wear sun-protective clothing and seek shade to maximize your skin’s health.
- Exfoliate. Exfoliating your skin will remove the dry, flaky skin cells from the surface, making room for fresh new cells. If you have sensitive skin, chemical exfoliation may be better than physical exfoliation, especially on your face. You can try a moisturizing glycolic acid cleanser such as Essopi Glycolic 10% to gently remove flakes of skin, dirt, and makeup. Be sure to exfoliate before getting a spray tan to avoid uneven color.
- Rinse your skin after swimming. Shower as soon as possible after swimming in a chlorinated pool or in the ocean. Salt water can also dry out your skin and hair.
Dry skin in the summer is more common than you might think. Use the tips outlined in this article to help you maintain smooth, hydrated skin all summer long. Work with your dermatologist to make sure you are using the proper skincare regimen for your skin type. Your regimen may need to be adjusted with the change of seasons, based on your skin’s unique needs.
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