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Jun 11, 2023

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S​ummer is the perfect season for lounging out by the pool, taking trips to the beach and enjoying a cold drink in the hot sun.

However, it's also the time of year when you're most likely to get sunburned. Even though your burns may heal in a week or two, not taking care of your skin can have long-term side effects such as premature aging, precancerous skin lesions and at worst, skin cancer.

A​s the summer draws to a close, watch out for these potential end-of-summer skin problems.

Hot weather can cause intertriginous eruptions, or inflamed areas of the skin that are common in those who are obese or have diabetes. This irritation comes from skin-on-skin rubbing where moisture, such as sweat, is present.

C​ommon areas where this condition may occur include the crease of your neck, the armpit and inner thigh. Early intertrigo symptoms include having a red or reddish-brown rash with small bumps and feeling an itching, stinging or burning sensation in the area. If left untreated, the affected area can develop an infection, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

T​he best way to treat uninfected intertrigo is by keeping the affected area dry, clean and cool. Dry yourself thoroughly with a clean towel after showering and wear loose clothing made of breathable fabrics. If your skin becomes infected, ask your health care provider for potential treatments including antifungal cream, antibiotic cream and oral medication.

A​thlete's foot is a fungal skin infection that can affect people when their feet become sweaty while confined in tight-fitting shoes, the Mayo Clinic says. Symptoms include an itchy, scaly rash, which can be spread through contaminated floors, towels or clothing.

To ease symptoms, keep your feet clean and dry, change socks regularly and consider using an anti-fungal product. Frictional rashes can also be prevented in outdoor exercisers, for example, by using Vaseline or another anti-chafing product on irritated areas.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer — but it is far from the most common. Nonmelanoma skin cancers, classified as either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinomas, are diagnosed about 5.4 million times a year, according to the American Cancer Society. For comparison, melanoma affects slightly more than 98,000 annually.

Risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancers include prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and having light-colored skin. Men and older adults are also at a higher risk. Prevention tactics for this type of skin cancer include wearing ample sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds and regularly checking your skin for any abnormal growths.

About 3% of the world has psoriasis, an inflammatory and non-contagious skin condition brought on by a mix of genetics and the environment. Signs of inflammation include raised plaques and scales on the skin.

Psoriasis is a response to skin stress and can be triggered by sunburn for some, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Stress can also be a common trigger for psoriasis, whether it be going back to school after a summer break or returning to work from vacation.

The last sign of summer skin damage to scout for? Precancerous lesions.

Technically, they're known as actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis; they are often rough patches on the skin, or spots that are elevated, like warts, the Skin Cancer Foundation says on its website. More than 58 million Americans are believed to have AKs somewhere on their body, with about 5 to 10% of them eventually developing into cancer.

You can recognize warning signs of AK using cues from a spot's color, texture, size and location. AKs may feel dry and rough to the touch or even itch with a prickly sensation. I​f you believe you have an AK, see a dermatologist to diagnose the lesions and protect yourself from further sun damage by seeking shade and wearing sunscreen.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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