The Skin Nerd: Summer skin woes - heat rash and back spots

Could it be that we’re actually kind of getting something akin to a summer?

The Skin Nerd: Summer skin woes - heat rash and back spots

Could it be that we’re actually kind of getting something akin to a summer?

Crack out the chardonnay and dust off your Marian Keyes! You may be one of the lucky folk who see little or no effect to their skin in different seasons and if so, today’s column may not be for you.

Summer usually means increased humidity, UVB rays and probable sweating.

On a human level, it’s a time when we indulge and binge on white Magnums, iced coffees and the very same chardonnay mentioned above. When you bring all of this together, your skin may have a fairly understandable freaker.

Increased humidity may sound like an all-round negative but to those with dry or dehydrated skin, it will actually be a godsend.

For a while, you may even wave goodbye to flaking, provided you’re not causing more skin dehydration through your lifestyle: not drinking enough water and knocking back caffeine and alcohol.

Some of us — I raise my hand — veer towards the oily and spot-prone side and we tend to suffer from breakouts when the sweat starts to pump.

The relationship between sweat and congestion is tricky: sweat itself does not cause spots but it can contribute to them when it intermingles with your skin’s oils and bacteria. If you are usually free of the “bacne” that once plagued you, but you see it crop up in the summer, you can definitely point a finger towards sweat.

Opt for breathable materials such as 100% cotton, stay hydrated and cool, and shower whenever you feel that layer of sweat clinging to you. I usually would be anti-overshowering, but in this case, it will perhaps do more good than harm.

Using a salicylic acid cleanser like the Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser (€35, available from and selected salons nationwide) as a wash anywhere you’re seeing lumps and bumps, blackheads or whiteheads, will help to dry them out and prevent them.

In Ireland, April through to September is the time we are hit by more dangerous levels of UVB rays. UVB rays are the type of UV ray that cause sunburn and can cause irreparable damage to skin cells, so they truly are a cause for concern.

Tackle it by making sure you’re wearing an SPF of at least 30 that protects you from both UVA and UVB everywhere that could be exposed to light.

If you’d consider yourself pale when it comes to international standards, you should probably be wearing SPF 50.

When delicious heat comes around, so does its malevolent cousin heat rash. Heat rash is never willingly invited to your garden party but it arrives regardless, and is there anything more annoying?

Heat rash, or prickly heat, can be confusing to discern but for the most part, if you have a red, itchy, possibly stingy rash after being exposed to the sun, it’s probably heat rash.

It can appear as small spots that may look like whiteheads or blisters, or plain red bumps, within a patch of redness. When anyone sees a rash or bumps, particularly on areas they’d prefer not to have them like the thighs or bum, they go at it with all they’ve got.

Heat rash is one of those things where you should treat it like it’s baby skin - soothing, calming ingredients are key, such as probiotic cleansers or moisturisers, and exfoliating acids and scented, stripping products should be avoided. at all costs.

A ceramide wash or cream will help to ease it, and taking an oral antihistamine is known to ease the itch, but if it is very irritated, head to a pharmacy or your GP for further advice.


The Cerave Hydrating Cleanser is a non foaming, creamy cleanser that is fantastic for both the face and body, particularly when you’re experiencing any irritation.

Dermatologists in the US adore it and it is one of the most gentle cleansers you will find on the market. It contains ceramides, known to assist in skin healing, as well as hydrating hyaluronic acid, and it won’t clog pores either.

If you have heat rash, swap your normal shower gel out for this and turn down the heat of your shower, as high temperature water can strip your skin of its natural, protective coating of oils.

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