Skin Care in Summer

Summer is fast approaching. In this weather everybody worries about excessive tanning, worsening of prickly heat or miliaria, fungal infections which are common problems in summer.

Skin is the largest organ of our body. It is important that we look after it so that we look beautiful and skin remains healthy. The epidermis of skin is a layer which is constantly renewing itself and dermis provides nutrition , plays role in immunity , provides strength and elasticity to the skin.

Use of cleansers

Excessive washing of skin is not recommended . One should wash their face with lukewarm water at the most twice a day with a cleanser suitable for their skin type .While selecting a cleanser one should be careful that it should not disrupt the skin barrier and the natural moisture barrier and should be non irritant. Skin surface pH of 5.5 should be maintained so that the natural flora of the skin is not disturbed. Therefore soaps should be avoided as they are alkaline. Also surfactants like sodium lauryl sulphate, menthol or alcohol should not be on the ingredients list. Syndets and liquid cleansers are safe. For dry skin glycolic acid containing cleansers are good and for oily skin salicylic acid containing cleansers are good. Regular use of harsh scrubs is not recommended. Cleansing with hard water can strip off more moisture so try and use soft water for cleansing.

Toning of skin

Toners containing alcohol are harsh. If toners need to be used they should be alcohol free. Rosewater is a good natural toner. Toners containing water and glycerine which acts as a humectant can be used.

Use of Moisturizer in summer

Moisturizer is required during summer especially for dry skin. For oily skin , if the cleanser used is appropriate , daily use of moisturizer may not be required in summer. For dry, normal and sensitive skins, moisturisers containing jojoba oil, glycerine, hyaluronic acid, and squalene are well tolerated by most. Moisturizer should be used 1- 2 times a day depending on skin type and it should not be rubbed. Best way to apply is to pat it in .Gel formulations are best for oily skin type and lotions for dry skin type. Also sitting for long periods in AC can dry the skin further, set the AC at optimum temperature.


Ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful for skin. UV rays are known cause of premature aging, dryness of skin, pigmentation and even skin cancer over time.

Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it aids in the prevention of squamous cell carcinomas. Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not primarily cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma and photo-dermatitis. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern. Diligent use of sunscreen can also slow or temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles and sagging skin.

SPF or the sun protection factor is a very popular term in relation to sunscreen. It is a measure of protection provided by sunscreen against UVB radiation known to cause sunburn. An SPF of 15 is effective for normal skin. However if there is concomitant rosacea or lupus, a SPF of 30 is effective. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octyl-methyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX). Measure of UVA protection is through PA rating of sunscreen. Asian brands, particularly Japanese ones, tend to use The Protection Grade of UVA (PA) system to measure the UVA protection that a sunscreen provides. The PA system is based on the PPD(progressive pigment darkening) reaction and is now widely adopted on the labels of sunscreens. According to the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association, PA+ corresponds to a UVA protection factor between two and four, PA++ between four and eight, and PA+++ more than eight. Recommended dose of sunscreen for maximum efficacy is to apply the product at a rate of 2 mg/cm2.

Sunscreen for children:

The sensitive skin of babies and children is easily irritated by chemicals in adult sunscreens, so avoid sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzophenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, or sulisobenzone. Children’s sunscreens use ingredients less likely to irritate the skin, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. For kids 6 months or older, look for a sunscreen designed for children with an SPF of 15 or higher. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that babies under 6 months be kept out of the sun altogether.

Sunscreen for skin problems or allergies:

People who have sensitive skin or skin conditions like rosacea may also benefit from using sunscreens designed for children. Go for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide instead of chemicals like para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, or sulisobenzone. If you have skin irritation or allergies, avoid sunscreens with alcohol, fragrances, or preservatives. Concerns have also been raised about potential vitamin D deficiency arising from prolonged use of sunscreen. Typical use of sunscreen does not usually result in vitamin D deficiency; however, extensive usage may. Sunscreen prevents ultraviolet light from reaching the skin, and even moderate protection can substantially reduce vitamin D synthesis. However, adequate amounts of vitamin D can be produced with moderate sun exposure to the face, arms and legs, averaging 5–30 minutes twice per week without sunscreen. (The darker the complexion, or the weaker the sunlight, the more minutes of exposure are needed, approximating 25% of the time for minimal sunburn. Vitamin D overdose is impossible from UV exposure; the skin reaches equilibrium where the vitamin degrades as fast as it is created.) It is advised to avoid sun between 10 am to 3 pm in the height of summer when there is risk of maximum UV damage. Also in addition to sunscreen, protective clothing like hats, lightweight full sleeves clothing, sunglasses are advisable.

Eat healthy foods:

A healthy skin comes from eating well and summer is the ideal time to make dietary changes for the better. Cut down on sugar and refined processed foods which create unbalanced blood sugar levels and therefore contribute to premature aging. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, in salads, steamed, or raw. A diet rich in flavonoids will help to ensure a healthy and glowing skin. And include whole grains in your daily diet too, including the ancient grains.

Yogurt is a healthy addition to the y diet; it should be sugar free and natural.

No-fat or low-fat diets will cause the skin to dry, wrinkle and age. Essential fats are required in the diet to keep skin moist and supple. Exclude unhealthy fats (hydrogenated, trans fats, and heat or light damaged fats) from the diet but to keep using healthy fats daily. Nuts and seeds and fresh fish are excellent sources of good fats.

Avoid spraying perfume on your skin in the sun:

The psoralen in perfume (especially in citrus perfumes) can permanently stain your skin when they react with the sun. During the summertime, it is recommended that you spritz your clothes with the fragrance rather than your skin.

Rinse skin after swimming.

This is especially important when you’ve been swimming in chlorinated environments as the chlorine can dry out your skin and for some people it can even result in an allergic reaction.

Drink plenty of water.

Dehydration results in dry skin, frown-lines, and spots. Drink water regularly throughout the day, preferably between meals (drinking during meals can dilute the nutrients from food). Water helps in hydrating skin and flushing out toxins.
If there is an itchy rash or suspicious lesion which refuses to go, consult your dermatologist for the right advice.
Enjoy summer season, the flowers and the nature’s bounty.


Dr Gulshant Panesar , MD
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
Moolchand Medcity