Greasy and itchy skin in summer? Here is an easy guide for healthy skin during the hot season

13 April,2024 01:04 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Aakanksha Ahire

Sunburns, acne, and rashes are common concerns during the summer season. These concerns, if not addressed, can have a detrimental impact on your skin health. For those looking to keep their skin fresh and blemish-free, here is a complete easy guide to summer skincare

Image for representational purposes only. Photo courtesy iStock

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The first thought that pops up after coming across terms like ‘summer skincare' or ‘winter skincare' is that the process is bound to be lengthy and complex. While that might be true, you can simplify and customise your skincare regime. Complex or not, having a skincare routine in place is essential, especially during the summer season.

The hot and humid climate triggers multiple skin issues that range from acne, sweat-induced rashes, sunburns, tans and fungal infections. These conditions can exacerbate if not treated in time.

Dr Trishna Gupte, clinical cosmetologist and trichologist, founder, The Cosmo-Square Clinic, ISCA tells, "It's critical to understand that the summer poses special skincare problems because of increased UV exposure, rising temperatures, and higher humidity. Consequently, it's essential to modify one's skincare regimen to shield the skin from damaging UV radiation, avoid sunburns, and reduce the chance of skin damage and early ageing."

Agreeing with this, Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, consultant dermatologist, Dr Trasi clinic and La Piel Skin Clinic adds, "A summer skincare is similar to winter skincare. A cleanser-moisturiser-sunscreen and night serum are the common steps involved in skincare for any season. However, the ingredients change with the skin type and the weather around."

"In winter, one is constantly trying to hydrate the skin to prevent any dryness or cracks on the skin. While in summer, we prevent the skin from getting oily."

Switching from winter to summer skincare
"Spring is a transitional period between winter and summer months. This is a good time to start changing the skincare routine from winter to summer. In India, February is the month when this transition happens; especially in the last two weeks," Nerurkar tells us.

According to Dinyar Workingboxwalla, skin guru and co-founder, Beauty by Bie, there is no specific month to make the switch. "Instead, keep an eye on the weather. Ideally, you want to start transitioning your routine when spring arrives, typically around March or April. This allows your skin to gradually adjust to the changing climate."

He adds, "Spring can be unpredictable, with occasional chilly days mixed in with warmer spells. A lighter routine during this time helps your skin adapt without feeling overly stripped on cooler days."

The skin guru suggests swapping out your products to make a gradual switch:

Cleansing: Ditch the heavy cream cleansers you use in winter. Opt for a double cleanse routine that includes a lightweight, oil-based cleanser to remove sunscreen and makeup buildup, followed by a gentle water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities.

Moisturising: Bid farewell to thick creams. Embrace lightweight lotions, gel-based formulas, or even oil-free moisturisers with hyaluronic acid for deep hydration without the greasiness.

Exfoliation: Summer is a great time to incorporate gentle exfoliation (one or two times a week) to remove dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion. Chemical exfoliants like AHAs or BHAs work well, but for sensitive skin, opt for a gentle physical scrub.

Sunscreen: This one's a no-brainer. Start using a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen every single day, rain or shine. Look for lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas that won't clog pores.

Common skin issues to look out for
Gupte states sunburn, heat rash, breakouts of acne, and increased oiliness are common skin conditions in India during the summer months. "Sweat and increased oil production from the skin can cause acne outbreaks and other issues due to clogged pores and accumulated dirt."

Similarly, according to Nerurkar, folliculitis and other bacterial infections, fungal infections like tinea, pityriasis versicolor, miliaria, and sun allergy are some of the other common skin problems faced during the summer season.

Step-by-step summer skincare guide
Workingboxwalla shares a detailed guide that you can follow to keep your skin fresh throughout the hot and humid weather.

Step 1: Double cleanse
As the temperatures rise, so does our skin's propensity to produce excess oil and sweat. A thorough double cleanse becomes paramount to rid the skin of impurities accumulated throughout the day. Begin with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve sunscreen, makeup, and pollutants, followed by a gentle water-based cleanser to purify the skin without stripping its natural oils.

Step 2: Mask (once or twice a week)
Once or twice a week, treat your skin with a clay mask to draw out impurities and keep the oil in check. Opt for a hydrating mask if you have dry skin â€" a boost of moisture will keep it plump and balanced.

Step 3: Hydrate
Don't be fooled by the heat â€" summer is not an excuse to skip moisturiser. Summer skincare is all about lightweight moisturisers that deliver deep hydration without a greasy finish. Look for formulas packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or aloe vera to keep your skin dewy and fresh all day long.

Step 4: Eye treatment
The delicate under-eye area deserves special attention, especially in summer. Swap your rich eye creams for a lightweight, cooling eye gel. Ingredients like cucumber extract or caffeine can help reduce puffiness and dark circles, keeping your peepers bright and refreshed.

Step 5: Sun protection
No matter the season, sunscreen is non-negotiable. In summer, however, it's even more crucial. Opt for a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher that's lightweight and non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog your pores). Reapply religiously every two hours, and even more frequently if you're sweating or swimming.

Bonus Tip: Embrace facial oils
A few drops of dry face oil can be a game-changer for summer skin. Look for oils like jojoba or squalane, which mimic your skin's natural oils and lock in moisture without feeling greasy.

Using sunscreen the right way
Dr Deepti Ghia, consultant, dermatology, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai tells Mid-day, "When transitioning to summer skincare, one must start using sunscreen with low SPF and gradually move to a higher one."

"For Indian summers SPF 40 and more with broad spectrum coverage is needed. If you are inside the house, apply sunscreen twice during a day."

Commenting on the harmful effects of UV rays on the skin, Ghia says, "UV exposure is intense from 10 am to 2 pm. So make your schedule of sunscreen application accordingly. If you are out in the sun, you must apply sunscreen from 7 am to 6 pm every 3 hours."

"For those swimming, using a waterproof sunscreen is recommended. If you are not exposed to pollution and dirt, use sunscreen sticks for repeated protection. If you are exposed to sun, dust and pollution, ensure you rinse your face and then re-apply sunscreens.

To enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens, Ghia suggests adopting physical protection too, like wearing full-sleeved clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. She says, "All these add to the value of using sunscreens."

Other sun protection tips she shares include:

1. Avoiding wearing tight jeans and synthetic material clothes.
2. Washing clothes regularly.
3. Staying well hydrated by consuming lots of refreshing and healthy fluids.
4. Masking yourself while out in the pollution and cleaning yourself properly once you are back.
5. Eating healthy foods and maintaining a balanced diet free from excessive greasy and spicy foods.

Home remedies for skin ailments in summer
Although skincare products come in handy and save a lot of time and effort, many prefer to go the natural way. Nerurkar states, "Soothing the skin with ice and aloe vera gel are some natural ways of treating sunburn or heat rash. Calamine lotion is also an important skincare one can use for a heat rash. Nowadays mists or thermal sprays containing micellar water or other soothing spring water can be used to cool the skin and protect it from skin rash."

Gupte also shares some helpful remedies: Applying cool compresses to a sunburn might help relieve discomfort and inflammation by soaking a clean cloth in cold water or milk.

To reduce pain and encourage healing, aloe vera gel, which is well-known for its calming and anti-inflammatory qualities, can also be applied directly to the injured area.

Furthermore, colloidal oatmeal compresses or baths might help calm sensitive skin and lessen sunburn-related soreness.

The symptoms of heat rash can be lessened by taking cold baths or showers and dressing in loose, breathable fabrics like cotton.

Additionally, applying cucumber slices or a paste consisting of sandalwood powder and rose water to the affected areas might help reduce the swelling and itching brought on by heat rash.

However, if symptoms increase or persist, you should definitely see a doctor.

For a generic natural summer skincare routine, Workingboxwalla shares recipes of face packs to make and apply at home.

Watermelon Sorbet (for the skin)
This face pack is a perfect toner for your skin during the summer months. Watermelon and cucumber act as summer essentials that help calm and soothe the redness and irritation caused by the extreme heat conditions.

Watermelon juice - 2 tbsp
Cucumber juice - 2 tbsp
Milk powder - 1 tsp
Yoghurt - 1 tbsp

1. Take watermelon juice and cucumber juice, mix them with milk powder and yogurt.
2. Once a thick paste is ready, apply it on the face with an applicator.
3. Keep it on your face and neck for 15 minutes.
4. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Tropical Paradise (Mango-based face pack)
This face mask helps fight the free radicals and heal the sun-damaged skin from the UV rays.

Fresh mango pulp - 2 tbsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Yoghurt - 1 tbsp
Honey - 1 tsp
Sandalwood powder - 1 tsp

1. Take mango pulp and mix sandalwood powder honey.
2. Add a pinch of turmeric powder blended with yoghurt.
3. Now mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
4. Apply the paste on the face and neck and keep it for 20 minutes.
5. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Common skincare mistakes to avoid
1. Skipping sunscreen: This can result in sunburns and long-term damage to the skin; dehydration, which can cause dry, dull skin and aggravate pre-existing conditions.

2. Over-exfoliation: While exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells and promote healthy skin cell turnover, overdoing it can strip away natural oils and irritate your skin, especially in the summer sun. Stick to gentle exfoliation two-three times a week.

3. Using thick moisturisers: Doing so can clog pores and cause breakouts in hot weather. Opt for a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated without feeling greasy.

4. Forgetting to hydrate from within: Drinking plenty of water is crucial for overall health and skin health. Aim for eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin plump and glowing.

5. Wearing heavy makeup: Opt for lightweight, mineral-based makeup in the summer to avoid clogging pores and cakey look.

6. Not cleansing thoroughly: Sweat, oil, and makeup can build up on your skin throughout the day. Ensure you double-cleanse your face thoroughly to remove impurities and prevent breakouts.

Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

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