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Summer Skin Problems
By Jennifer Glover
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Summer is usually a time for fun and relaxation. And, many people tend to spend their days and nights outside. However, spending a lot of time in the great outdoors can be rough on the skin.
Linda Patterson, extension health and safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said during the summer months people become more vulnerable to skin problems.
"These can range from dry skin, poison ivy and rashes to sunburn and infections," she said. "Most of these skin problems are aggravated by things that happen outdoors."
Although these skin problems can appear any time of year, during the summer the chances increase.
"People do spend a great deal more time outdoors during the summer," Patterson said. "They lie out on beaches, participate in recreational activities, go on hikes in the woods or go to the park."
But whatever the situation, summer outdoor activities can result in perspiration, sunburn, insect bites, soiled skin and clothing or a combination of these.
The health specialist said there are many ways to help avoid some of the more common summer skin problems.
Bathing, showering or taking a sponge bath every day and drying off thoroughly are all very important.
"Clean skin is healthy skin. But remember, bathing too often can dry the skin, while bathing too little can cause bacteria and fungus to grow," she said.
If you have dry skin, use lotions and moisturizers frequently. Also, when bathing, use soaps suited to your skin type and warm water. Very hot water tends to dry out the skin even more.
Keep an insect repellant available to help prevent insect bites. Bites can sometimes cause skin infections and rashes.
"An infection called impetigo is often caused by scratching mosquito bites with dirty hands -- this is especially true for children," Patterson said. "If a skin infection does occur, consult a doctor to avoid the possibility of serious problems."
Stay away from three-leaf plants that look like poison ivy or poison oak. Many people are very sensitive to the plants and break out in a severe rash.
Patterson also stressed the importance of wearing a No. 15 SPF sunscreen if you plan to spend a considerable amount of time outside. Sunburns occur when the skin is exposed to too muchnultraviolet light, and can be very painful and harmful to the skin.