In the summer months, protecting your skin is very important. Regardless of your skin color or type, it’s critical to ensure that you’re wearing sunscreen, covering your skin whenever possible, and moisturizing your skin to keep it healthy.
However, if your skin has sensitive areas or differences that make it more vulnerable, you may need to ensure that you’re taking special precautions. Here are some ways that people with sensitive or unique skin can handle their summer skin care routines to ensure that they’re protecting their largest organ from risky and potentially dangerous sun exposure.
When an area of skin is more sensitive or changed as a result of a condition, an injury, or personal choice, it can behave differently from the rest of the skin on your body. Here's how to take care of your unique skin this summer.
When you get a tattoo, you have to keep the area clean, protected, and moisturized. All tattoos are vulnerable to sun damage, and if you expose a new tattoo to sun, it can fade more rapidly or even scar.
Until your tattoo is fully healed, do not expose it to sunlight. After that, apply sunblock to all your skin, but take special care to cover tattoos completely with at least SPF 30, and preferably closer to SPF 50.
When you have a new piercing, it’s important to keep the surrounding area covered in sunblock, but make sure to avoid getting any in the piercing itself until the skin fully heals. Until then, it’s probably wiser to cover the piercing with a small bandage to protect the area from the sun and keep it clean.
Scarring is the result of physical trauma to the dermis, the layer of skin underneath the outermost skin layer. Scars can look and feel different from the healthy skin that surrounds them because scars contain a lot of collagen. Collagen is less flexible than regular skin and may make the scar darker or lighter than our natural skin tone.
It’s important to keep a scar protected from the sun, because too much sun exposure can easily cause hyperpigmentation, darkening the scar in a way that is difficult to reverse. Healing scars should always be covered with loose-fitting clothing or a bandage. After the mark has become less red and inflamed, scars should be covered in a layer of sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30.
There are many different types of eczema, and they behave differently when exposed to the sun. Some types of eczema show symptom improvement, while others become irritated and reactive when exposed to sunlight. To protect your skin, always use sunscreen. Many people with eczema find that their skin is less irritated by mineral sunscreen, which is made with a physical, rather than a chemical, sun blocker.
People who are genetically disposed to develop freckles typically do so because of the type of melanin their skin produces. Freckles then develop as a result of sun exposure, and are typically darker in the summer months.
Birthmarks, like freckles, can darken in pigmentation after being exposed to the sun. Both freckles and birthmarks should be covered with regular sunscreen.
Psoriasis, a common autoimmune condition, is different from some other skin issues in that symptoms may improve when affected skin is exposed to the sun. Many people with psoriasis do sun exposure therapy in the summer, leaving their affected skin unexposed for at least ten minutes at a time. Before trying this (or any new healthcare regimen), consult your doctor. It’s also important to make sure the rest of your skin is covered in broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen before sitting outside.
For people who have albinism, a condition with which there is less melanin in the skin, their skin is much more sensitive to the sun. This type of skin can sunburn easily, which increases the risk for skin cancer. Additionally, many people with albinism are visually sensitive to light as well, making bright sunlight a painful experience.
To protect yourself, make sure to always cover your skin with sunscreen, wear a hat, and invest in UV-blocking sunglasses (good advice for everyone!).
There’s no reason not to enjoy warm summer weather just because you need to protect your skin. With sunblock, sun-protecting gear, and good sun habits, you can keep your skin safe for life.
Want to ask a doctor about your unique skin needs? Carbon Health can help connect you with great primary care in your area. Download the Carbon Health app or visit our website for more information.
Carbon Health’s medical content is reviewed and approved by healthcare professionals before it is published, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, and before making changes to your healthcare routine.