Spring and its sunny skies offer the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy warm-weather activities. But if you have a skin condition, you may not be jumping at the chance. Some people are self-conscious about the following skin conditions and choose to cover up; others fear the aggravating effects of sweat and sun on their skin. However, with proper protection, you should still be able to enjoy all you favorite warm-weather activities.
Even though many people find that their eczema improves with exposure to the sun, careless exposure can be seriously harmful for the skin. So sunscreen is important. But some sunscreens may irritate the skin of people with eczema. Therefore, you should choose a sunscreen the same way you would choose an emollient – test the product first by applying a small amount to a limited area of your skin.
Try not to rub too hard when applying it, as this may set off a cycle of itching. Alternatively, find swim shirts or other garments with sun protection that can shield the affected areas from the sun.
Swimming pools can be problematic for those with eczema. The skin can react to chlorine or any of the other chemicals added to swimming pool water. To minimize these effects, shower off as soon as you get out of the pool and apply an ample amount of leave-on cream after you bathe. Alternatively, try swimming in the ocean instead! Its natural minerals have been shown to be beneficial for those with dry skin caused by eczema.
Over 16 million Americans have rosacea, which can cause flushing, soreness, persistent redness and sometimes pimples. Sun exposure is known to trigger these flare-ups.
If you have rosacea, make sure to find the right sunscreen formula for you. Look for a non-chemical broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium dioxide with an SPF of 30 or higher. Also try and take steps to protect your skin when outdoors like sitting in the shade, staying cool and wearing big sunglasses or a hat to shield your skin from the sun. Don’t forget to keep taking any medications prescribed by your doctor.
If you have lupus, you already know to avoid the sun. Sunscreens may not be enough to protect you from flare-ups. Try avoiding the sun when it is strongest (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and use physical blockers, such as hats, umbrellas and protective clothing.
Everyone should take preventative measures when going out in the sun, but those with certain skin conditions need to take even more precautionary steps. Also, be aware of medications you are taking that can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, such as certain acne medications and some blood pressure medications.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
- dermatologist dermatology eczema health healthy choices lupus protect protection skin skin care skin condition skin conditions skincare sun sun rays sun safety warm weather