(BPT) - Nothing says summer is in full swing like long days on the beach, camping trips and family barbecues. But sometimes all that outdoor fun in the sun can irritate your skin. The last thing you want to worry about as you head out on your warm weather adventures is feeling uncomfortable because of itchy, dry skin.
Here are some simple tips to help you relieve common summer skin problems when they occur:
* Cool the sunburn: Even the most diligent sunscreen users may miss a spot every now and then. In the event you do suffer minor sunburn, cool baths or the gentle application of a cool wet cloth on the burned area may provide some relief. Also, remember that exposure to the sun can cause you to lose fluid through your skin, so drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
* Relieve the itch: Did you discover that the pretty leaf you examined on your last hiking trip was actually poison ivy? Were you doing yard work and now find yourself with irritated skin? More than 85 percent of Americans are allergic to poison ivy so it's a summer skin culprit to keep an eye on. Symptoms usually appear 24 to 72 hours after contact, but you can help relieve symptoms of a poison ivy, oak or sumac rash by washing the area with soap and water and then using cool, wet compresses to help with any discomfort from blisters. If you have a more severe case, you should visit your health care provider.
* Keep an anti-itch cream on hand: Being prepared is a good way to keep itchy skin at bay. No matter what skin ailment you need to tackle this summer, an over-the-counter anti-itch cream is a good addition to your usual go-to solutions. An easy-to-find remedy like Allegra Anti-Itch Cooling Relief and Allegra Anti-Itch Intensive Relief provide temporary relief from the pain and itching associated with insect bites, minor skin irritations, sunburn, rashes due to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, and minor cuts and scrapes. Allegra Anti-Itch Cream also temporarily protects and helps relieve chapped or cracked skin. Toss a tube in any beach bag, backpack or first aid kit for outdoor excursions or stock in your home medicine cabinet.
* Soothe scrapes: With longer days and lighter clothing, minor cuts and scraped knees seem to be a warm-weather staple for kids who spend their summer vacation playing outdoors. Remember to rinse the cut or scrape with water and only clean the area around the wound with a mild soap and washcloth. Keeping the area covered when the kids head back outdoors will help the wound heal and prevent further irritation.
* Dry summer skin: There's nothing like the refreshing feeling of entering your air conditioned home or car after spending a long, hot summer day outside. Air conditioning cools the air in part by drawing excess humidity out of it - and sometimes that lack of moisture may also dry out your skin. To help, install a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home and take other preventative steps like avoiding harsh, drying soaps and reducing bathing time to help keep skin moist.