Hello, sunshine! With the summer heat melting your skin away, and making you constantly reach out for lemon or cucumber coolers every few hours (I don’t know about you, but I surely am), it’s time you start your prep work for your skin with some extra TLC. The summer heat can wreak havoc on our skin, like breakouts, rashes, irritation, and mild but unusual infections. So, sorry to break it to you but just stocking up on sunblock, and cooling mists may not be enough.
That said, we did a little digging so that you have a comfortable summer by keeping the most common body concerns at bay. To make our case stronger, we reached out to Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Anju Methil to answer all our ‘below the neck’ summer care questions. Ahead, Methil sets the record straight.
Beauty Book: How is body care different from face care?
Dr Methil: Your body is not as exposed to the sun as your face, especially your back, chest, and intimate areas. Also, the skin on your body is not as sensitive as that of your face hence the care is also not as stringent but needs your attention nonetheless, especially in the summertime.
Beauty Book: What kind of body care concerns are common during summers?
Dr Methil: You need to be aware of heat boils also known as ‘miliaria’. They appear as small pimple-like lesions commonly found on the back, chest, and parts of the neck. They are normally red in colour (miliaria rubra) but at times can also appear whitish and pus-like (miliaria pustulosa).
Fungal infections are also common due to excessive sweating. Common areas for such infections are your private areas (jockey itch), and your armpits or feet (tinea pedis) due to closed clothing and less breathing space. Another common fungal infection is tinea versicolour. They are different coloured flat spots (red, brown, or whitish) that are seen on the chest, back, and arms.
Another concern is hyperhidrosis which is typically excessive sweating that can occur on your entire body or specific regions like your hands, feet, or underarms. Sunburn is pretty common too during summer, and PLE (polymorph light eruptions) can be seen on exposed areas when the sun exposure is maximum.
Beauty Book: How does one keep body breakouts (bacne, buttne) at bay during the hotter months?
Dr Methil: A lot of body breakouts occur because of the clothes that you wear. Soft cottons and loose clothes are preferred during hot months. Also, try wearing lighter shades like whites that do not attract too much sunlight. If you’re still getting breakouts on your back or other parts of your body, you could use a mild antibiotic lotion like clindamycin, or even a calamine lotion.
Beauty Book: What l skincare routine should one follow during summers?
Dr Methil: You need to shower more than usual, especially if you workout a lot. This will prevent sweat accumulation and fungal infections caused due to sweat. You must also change your sweaty clothes post-gym or any kind of physical activity. Use an anti-fungal powder if you’re sweating too much, especially on your underarms or feet. Use sunscreen after your shower and re-apply every two or three hours. For Indian skin, SPF 50 is non-negotiable. Make sure you use the right amount that caters specifically to your skin type. Too little may not be enough and too much can cause breakouts or even a chemical reaction.
You can exfoliate once in 10 to15 days. If your skin is already sensitive due to the heat, excessive exfoliation might make it worse. You can also go for a de-tanning procedure once a month, but make sure its not more than once.
Beauty Book: What are the products that one must keep close during summer?
Dr Methil: A good cleanser followed by a mild moisturiser (gel-based for sensitive skin) is a must. Sunscreen is very important for your body. You can pick a spray-on sunscreen for easy application on your legs and back. An anti-fungal rash cream is a good product to keep close in case your skin reacts to the heat. For sunburns or excessive tanning, you can use aloe vera gel.