Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Protection of your skin from excess heat and humidity helps in preserving moisture content, balancing oil levels and preventing premature aging of skin. You need o know certain key points about the origin of heat and humidity to which your skin exposed every day, so that you can take preventive measures of protection.
Primary source of heat is the sun. It also generates UV radiations of types UVA and UVB which can be damaging to your skin. Artificial sources of heat and radiation could be lighting, industrial environment, medical/surgical equipment, tanning beds etc. Sources of humidity could be air conditioners, heaters, artificial roof etc. Living and working under the influence of these elements can affect your skin adversely in the long run.
Introduction To Skin Protection Facts
An adult skin has an average area of 1.5 square meters. It makes up 17% of your total body weight. Nature has designed its structure in such a manner that it shields your body from external elements and prevents excess evaporation of vital fluids from your body.
However repeated exposure to heat and humidity can reduce its resistance power and increase the risks of infections, diseases and other skin disorders.
- Sun heat and radiation causes skin burns, dryness, scales and premature aging. Hyper pigmentation can cause dark spots which take long time to heal. One of the primary reasons for premature skin aging is said to be the breakdown of collagen due to excess heat and radiation. Your skin loses its tightness, leading to formation of wrinkles.
- When your shadow appears shorter than you in the sun it s time to protect your skin. Heat waves and UV radiation are said to be maximum during this period. Wear a hat or cap which covers your scalp completely and also protects your face from direct exposure to sun. UV reflecting goggles are ideal for eyes. Make sure your cap doesn’t make your scalp seat as it can lead to formation of humidity, resulting in hair loss and skin irritation.
Tips For Skin Protection Clothing
- Wear sweat absorbing and light reflecting type of clothes during summer. Your clothing should be able to cover maximum possible skin area.
- Choose cotton, linen or hemp materials during summer. Avoid skintight, elasticized and worn out clothes. Weaves in your fabric should be close enough to prevent penetration of harmful UV rays Stretch the fabric using both your hands in opposite directions. You will be able to feel the tightness of weave. Choose a weave that is neither too tight nor too loose.
Every fabric has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) value associated with it. Professional and workmen clothing, swimming and Facts about skin heat protection
- Sports dresses and outdoor clothing will have UPF rating. If the rating is between 40 and 50 it provides more than 97% protection. Fabric with UPF rating between 25 and 40 gives about 96% protection. Fabric with UPF rating between 15 and 20 offer 95% protection.
Skin Heat Protection From Other Sources
- Exposure to industrial environment can cause skin disorders in the Keratinocytes layer of epidermis. If you are working in radiation prone areas it can affect the dermis and Subcutis layers of your skin.
- Non melanoma skin cancer is found to be common among people working in radioactive, UV emitting and LASER generating production facilities. Light pigmented skin carries higher risk of contacting this type of cancer compared to dark pigmented skin. UV and radiation reflecting clothes should be worn with head protective gears.
- Working with welding arcs can expose you to the risk of contacting photokeratitis (eye defect which affects eyelids and cornea regions). You need to wear protective glass shields head gear while working.
- Exposure to heat and humidity around boilers, steam emitting machines, electrical dryers, vacuum pumps, dehumidifying plants and other heat emitting machines can cause dehydration of skin, leading to dry and scaly skin. Wearing industrial standard set of clothes and protective gears can save your skin from disorders.
- Skin tanning devices need to be used only after consultation with your dermatologist. Malignant melanoma (critical type of skin cancer) is one of the risks associated with such artificial devices. People working in tanning salons also have the risk of contacting skin disorders.
- Unshielded fluorescent, halogen and tungsten lamps at home, display boards, restaurants and other places can cause skin irritation, rashes, dryness and heat bumps. It is better to avoid such lamps at homes. Wearing body and neck covering clothes is said to be ideal for people who get exposed to such lights in restaurants, discotheque, bars and other areas.
Common Consequences Of Heat
Skin mottling from heat is a common side effect seen among people working in restaurant and hotel kitchen rooms. Chefs, cooks and service personnel get exposed to hot and humid conditions every day.
Adequate ventilation and air cooling should be ensured to prevent dry skin conditions. Water consumption should be at least 3 to 4 litres everyday in order to keep the skin in hydrated condition. Reducing alcohol consumption and smoking can benefit skin health in the long run.
Itchy skin from heat is observed among school children playing in the hot sun. Heat, dust and accumulated sweat can cause skin irritation and infections. Bating twice a day and wearing loose fitted hygienic clothes at home can reduce this risk.
Talcum powder, skin creams, sun screens and other products need to be FDA or other health agency approved. Avoid chemical ingredients as they can absorb heat and UV radiation rather than reflecting them.
Natural skin cleansers like lemon syrup, honey, avocado, Aloe Vera and natural oils can keep your skin fresh and healthy. They also ensure skin care for heat rash among all age groups in our family.
Regular consultation with your dermatologist can help in keeping you informed about everyday skin care during adverse weather and climatic conditions. Following the dermatologist guidelines can save your skin and health from external and internal risks.