We’re all looking forward to summer, but as soon as those temps start rising, so too does the risk of developing body issues that are pretty much exclusive to summertime. Here are the most common body issues that crop up during these summer months of fun and how to fix them (and prevent them in the first place).
When you go outside and exert yourself in any form or fashion in the summer months (even if it’s just walking down the street or from your car to the store if it’s really hot), you’re going to sweat. Sweating is a natural part of being a human and serves to cool your body off when it gets too warm. That being said, there are a few ways you can cut down on your excessive sweating.
Dr. Joseph Cruise, a board-certified plastic surgeon, tells SheKnows that sweating may have something to do with your food and beverage choices, and his first bit of advice is kind of a bummer, especially if you love your coffee in the morning and spicy foods later in the day.
“Spicy food and caffeine stimulate the neurotransmitters in your brain that can sometimes affect the glands that cause sweating,” he explains. “Eating less spicy food and drinking less coffee will help you stay drier in the warmer months.”
Alcohol can also be a contributing factor, as it increases your heart rate and causes your body to feel warm — which, of course, triggers more sweat.
It’s also important to dress for the weather. Avoid synthetic fabrics (such as nylon and polyester), sticking to breathable cotton or bamboo. And finally, Cruise mentions that if you work on relaxation or deep breathing techniques, this can reduce anxiety and decrease the amount those pesky neurotransmitters trigger sweat glands.
That being said, some folks sweat a lot more than others, which is a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Treatment can include Botox, which paralyzes or blocks the sweat gland-triggering neurotransmitters. Of course, you’ll have to visit a physician for diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
That lovely experience when you’re finally wearing dresses, short shorts or skirts full time and your thighs betray you by rubbing together and becoming a thing of burden and pain? That’s thigh chafing, and it’s a real problem in the summer months.
To prevent thigh chafing, Cruise recommends that you start by keeping the thighs dry. He notes that you can use baby powder or a sports powder to ensure extra protection.
There are also several products dedicated to getting rid of the dreaded thigh chafing, including Body Glide, Gold Bond Friction Defense stick, sweatWELLth Friction Free anti-chafing spray or Lush Silky Underwear dusting powder. Another option is putting some sort of fabric barrier on or around your thighs, like a pair of bicycle shorts, Bandelettes anti-chafing bands or even a modern take on bloomers.
If your thighs are already angry at you, don’t fret — you can treat it too. Cruise says a good moisturizing lotion is your best bet (look for one that has no added fragrances or colors, which can irritate the skin further). He also suggests applying a roll-on deodorant over the lotion, which can help the lotion action last longer.
Swelling of extremities
Yes, summertime can lead to swelling of your extremities, which is a disappointing way to spend your summer days. Dr. David Greuner, head surgeon and cofounder of NYC Surgical Associates, tells SheKnows that in the summer, heat causes people’s blood vessels to expand, which in turn causes one’s body fluids to drop downward thanks to gravity (but really, no thanks!). The extra fluids in your legs, ankles and feet will then cause that swelling.
“In order to combat this, you can try to keep your body temperature down, but in the summer, that be can very hard,” Greuner explains. “You can wear flat shoes to relieve foot swelling or shoes that offer arch and ankle support if you are feeling pain in your ankles. On top of that, massages and pedicures can help increase blood flow, which can reduce the consistent swelling.”
You probably know by now how to prevent sunburn. However, it can and still does happen, especially if we forget to reapply or don’t cover areas we’re not expecting to get burned. For starters, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and that also offers water resistance. Even though you’re using a water-resistant sunscreen, it’s crucial to reapply every two hours as well as after swimming or sweating a ton.
Cruise also suggests wearing wide-brim hats, sunglasses with UV protection and clothing that covers the skin (light-colored cotton clothing is best). He also says it’s a good idea to stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun.
But despite your best efforts, sunburns can happen. If that’s the case, they can be treated with a cool compress on the skin for immediate relief. Also, use aloe vera to soothe and moisturize the sunburn.
Bug bites (like mosquitoes, ugh, why are they even a thing?!) are one of the most annoying things ever. Cruise has suggestions for avoiding them, which include applying bug repellent to your skin. You can also invest in citronella candles to burn while you’re outside on your patio or avoiding staying outside at dusk, which is when these little pests like to swarm and snack.
Inevitably, you’re going to wind up with a bite or two, however. “Resist the urge to scratch insect bites,” Cruise warns. “Scratching insect bites will only make them worse and cause inflammation and/or scarring. For bites that itch, apply an ice pack or use an anti-itch cream, such as hydrocortisone.”
Don’t stay indoors
While it’s tempting to read this list and vow to never, ever exit your home again during the warm summer months, keep living that beautiful life of yours and enjoy the great outdoors. With these precautionary tips and an at-home arsenal to manage anything that crops up, you can still relish summer.