Atlanta Summer Symptoms: Sunburn, Skin Care, Dehydration
It’s easy to forget to reapply sunscreen when you are having fun in Atlanta’s beautiful summer weather. It’s important to begin treating a sunburn as soon as possible. In addition to stopping further UV exposure, dermatologists recommend treating a sunburn with:
- Cool baths to reduce the heat.
- Moisturizer to help ease the discomfort caused by dryness. As soon as you get out of the bathtub, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then apply a moisturizer to trap the water in your skin. Aveeno and Neutrogena make great skin moisturizers.
- Hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription to help ease discomfort.
- Aspirin or ibuprofen. This can help reduce swelling, redness, and discomfort.
- Drinking extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water prevents dehydration.
- Use Aloe. Aloe is a cooling agent and an anti-inflammatory.
Do not treat sunburns with “- caine” products (such as benzocaine). When you got sunburned as a kid, your mom might have broken out the big aerosol can of Solarcaine and sprayed you down. We’re guessing it hurt like hell. That’s because it contains lidocaine, a local anesthetic that at first stings the skin, then numbs it with the end goal of cooling it down. It tends to work, but we caution against using sprays, lotions, and creams with lidocaine or benzocaine because they can cause irritation and allergic reactions.
If your skin blisters, you have a second-degree sunburn. Dermatologists recommend that you:
- Allow the blisters to heal untouched. Blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
- If the blisters cover a large area, such as the entire back, or you have chills, a headache or a fever, seek immediate medical care. We specialize in treating severe sunburn. No appointment is necessary just come right in.
With any sunburn, you should avoid the sun while your skin heals. Be sure to cover the sunburn every time you head outdoors.
Top 6 Tips for Skin Care
1. Exfoliate for Clearer, Smoother Skin
Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and improve hydration from toners and moisturizers. Perform in the mornings prior to toner, moisturizer, SPF, and make-up application. Make-up will last longer on exfoliated skin. After you exfoliate, follow with a hydrating body cream to seal in moisture, and always shield freshly exfoliated skin with an SPF (as recommended by the FDA). Recommended: Daily Microfoliant, Exfoliating Body Scrub, Body Hydrating Cream.
2. Keep Skin Hydrated
Up your regimen’s level of hydration with intensive masques, perfect for use one to two times a week. Boosters are a great fit, working best when layered underneath a moisturizer. Toners are a refreshing moisturizer prep, working to even out skin porosity. Refresh with a revitalizing toner spritz at your desk, in the car, at the gym, or on the plane! Recommended: Antioxidant HydraMist, Skin Hydrating Booster, Skin Hydrating Masque.
3. Make Friends With H20
Higher temperatures in Atlanta and more time outdoors lead to internal dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizzy spells. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day to help maintain the critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification. If you drink caffeinated beverages, you must triple the amount of water you drink! Recommended: Plain and pure water!
4. When in Doubt, Apply (and Reapply!)
It’s not enough to just apply sunscreen.: you must apply enough and apply frequently. Studies indicate that most people do not apply nearly as much daylight protection as they should. How much? A teaspoon for the face. For the body, about as much as would fill a shot glass. Re-apply every two hours and every time you get out of the water. Stay out of the midday sun from mid-morning to late afternoon whenever you can.
- For infants and toddlers, Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick, SPF 50
- For adults with light to medium skin tones, Coppertone sports High-Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- For adults with dark skin, Aveeno Active Naturals Protect SPF 30
5. Soothe Over-exposed Skin
You forgot the sunscreen, didn’t apply enough or got caught in a sunny spell. Unfortunately, the damage is done, but you don’t have to suffer in pain! Super-soothing botanicals and cooling gels can help prevent peeling and reduce redness and inflammation. Apply cooling balms generously to over-exposed skin, preferably at the first sight of a pink glow. One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma — remember to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor and perform a self-examination once a month to detect early warning signs of carcinomas and malignant melanoma. Look for new growth or any skin change.
Top 4 We Recommend
- Dermalogica After Sun Repair
- Hawaiian Tropic Cool Aloe After Sun Burn
- Burt’s Bees Aloe and Linden Flower After Sun Soother
- banana Boat Aloe Vera Sun Burn Relief Gel
6. Repair and Treat Sun Damage
What causes skin damage: UV light causes photo-aging in the form of brown spots, coarse skin, and wrinkles, whether you have burned your skin or not. When sunlight comes in contact with skin a cascade of damage results (including the stripping of barrier lipids) causing inflammation, production of reactive oxygen molecules that affect healthy cell growth, and stimulation of collagen-destructing enzymes. A tan may be a popular summer look, but it indicates damage. Bombard your skin with age-fighting ingredients to help undo any damage that may occur, and to further protect it from the aging effects of UV.
Dehydration occurs when more water and fluids are exiting the body than are entering the body. With about 75% of the body made up of water, our thirst mechanism tells us when we need to increase fluid intake. Although water is lost constantly throughout the day as we breathe, sweat, and urinate, we can replenish the water in our body by drinking fluids. The body can also shift water around to areas where it is more needed if dehydration begins to occur.
Most occurrences of dehydration can be easily reversed by increasing fluid intake, but severe cases of dehydration require immediate medical attention. Even small levels of dehydration can create headaches, lethargy, or just an overall lack of alertness. Dehydration can also cause constipation.
Causes of Dehydration
Most physicians recommend a daily fluid intake of 13 cups for adult men (as total beverages, including drinking water) and 9 cups for adult women. The immediate causes of dehydration include not enough water, too much water loss, or some combination of the two.
Sometimes it is not possible to consume enough fluids because we are too busy, lack the facilities or strength to drink, or are in an area without potable water (while hiking or camping, for example). Additional causes of dehydration include:
- Diarrhea – the most common cause of dehydration and related deaths. The large intestine absorbs water from food matter, and diarrhea prevents this function, leading to dehydration.
Vomiting – leads to a loss of fluids and makes it difficult to replace water by drinking it.
- Sweating – the body’s cooling mechanism releases a significant amount of water. Hot and humid weather and vigorous physical activity can further increase fluid loss from sweating.
- Diabetes – high blood sugar levels cause increased urination and fluid loss. Tips for handling summer heat for people with diabetes.
- Frequent urination – usually caused by uncontrolled diabetes, but also can be due to alcohol and medications such as diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and antipsychotics.
- Burns – water seeps into the damaged skin and the body loses fluids.
Who is at Risk of Dehydration?
Although dehydration can happen to anyone, some people are at a greater risk. Those highest at risk include:
- People in higher altitudes
- Athletes, especially those in endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and cycling tournaments. Dehydration can undermine performance in sports, as this article explains.
- People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, and adrenal gland disorders.
- Older adults, infants, and children.
Symptoms of Dehydration
The first symptoms of dehydration include thirst, darker urine, and decreased urine production. In fact, urine color is one of the best indicators of a person’s hydration level – clear urine means you are well hydrated, and darker urine means you are dehydrated. As the condition progresses to moderate dehydration, symptoms include:
- dry mouth
- few or no tears when crying
- weakness in muscles
Severe dehydration may be characterized by extreme versions of the symptoms mentioned above as well as:
- lack of sweating
- sunken eyes
- shriveled and dry skin
- sunken fontanels (soft spots) in babies
- low blood pressure
- increased heartbeat
Diagnosis of Dehydration
Physicians use both physical and mental exams to diagnose dehydration. A patient presenting symptoms such as disorientation, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever, lack of sweat, and inelastic skin will usually be considered dehydrated. Blood tests are often employed to test kidney function and to check sodium, potassium, and other electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are chemical ions that regulate hydration in the body and are crucial for nerve and muscle function. A urinalysis will provide very useful information for a dehydration diagnosis. In a dehydrated person, urine will be darker in color and more concentrated.
Treatments for Dehydration
Dehydration must be treated by replenishing the fluid level in the body. This can be done by consuming clear fluids such as water, clear broths, frozen water, or ice pops, or sports drinks (such as Gatorade). Some dehydration patients, however, will require intravenous fluids in order to rehydrate. People who are dehydrated should avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, and sodas.
Prevention of Dehydration
Prevention is really the most important treatment for dehydration. Consuming plenty of fluids and foods that have high water content (such as fruits and vegetables) should be enough for most people to prevent dehydration. People should be cautious about doing activities during extreme heat or the hottest part of the day, and all people who are exercising should make replenishing fluids a priority. Since the elderly and very young are often most at risk of being dehydrated, special attention should be given to them to make sure they are receiving enough fluids.
How to Check the UV Index
- If you don’t have a UV index report at hand, make a rough estimate by looking at your shadow: if it’s taller than you are, the UV index is considered low.
- Knowledge of the UV index can help one make health-saving choices.
- Information about the UV index can be found on meteorological websites and smartphones. Start the weather application on your phone and read the last line – it’s where the UV index is given.