Summer usually distresses our skin as hot weather can cause unwanted damage to the skin cells. Major skin changes are expected to occur in the summertime as a result of the seasonal transition, including the production of greater quantities of sebum (oil), sweat, and melanin (a pigment that tans the skin). In addition, because the skin is the largest organ of the body, it is affected the most by heat exchange mechanisms in summer season causing it to become more coarse and dry. A hot and humid summer can dry out the water and salts of skin glands leading to loss of moisture, luster, and eventually irritation due to dryness.
Summer heat can have a particularly devastating effect on several skin diseases, such as eczema and urticaria, that are prone to worsen during harsh weather. Sufferers of eczema are particularly susceptible to experience flaring up of the disease as part of summer havocs. Eczema includes a wide spectrum of skin disorders causing inflammation and irritation of the skin. Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common form of eczema that can present as itch and rash regardless of the region affected. Patients with eczema complain of dryness, redness, itching, and rashes. This inflammatory response to hot weather is more rigid and severe as compared to normal individuals, triggered by greater skin irritation and inflammation.
The inordinate tendency of eczema to intensify during summer makes it essential to employ preventive and therapeutic strategies to reduce the impact of heat on the skin. Conventional treatment targets the skin to retain its moisture via the use of lotions and creams. Other ways of handling eczema include use of anti-inflammatory substances, immune system modulators, as well as antibiotics to deal with a secondary infection. The prime objective is to control irritation and inflammation of the skin.
FDA has approved new treatment option for atopic dermatitis known as Euricsa, which is a PDE-4 inhibitor that works by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory substances (known as cytokines) in the skin cells. Euricsa is applied topically and is the most favorable product for patients 2 years and older. It can successfully treat mild to moderate cases of eczema within a month of its topical use. Similarly, another drug Dupixent has recently been approved by FDA for treating moderate to severe atopic eczema. Use of Dupixent is espoused as twice a month injections under the eczematous skin. Dupixent holds the ability to treat hardcore cases of eczema resistant to other modes of treatment.
In addition to eczema augmented during hot weather, there is an increased tendency of hives to arise during the summertime too. Outbreaks of urticaria (commonly known as hives) can arise anywhere on the body as pale red, swollen, itchy or burning bumps, wheals or plaques on the skin. One extreme form of hives is angioedema, which affects deeper layers of the skin. Hives are usually an allergic reaction of the skin mediated by mast cells which release histamine during the process and bring about inflammation. Another type of urtiaria is chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), which has no identifiable cause.
Hives can better be treated by avoiding the trigger behind their cause. The various treatment modalities include the use of anti-histamines, corticosteroids, as well as biological substances. IgE (Immunoglobulin E) has been identified as an important modulator of allergic response in our body. Xolair (Omalizumab), is a biologic drug that has been approved to treat chronic idiopathic urticarial due to an unknown cause. Its use for allergy associated hives is not permitted officially but it can successfully treat idiopathic urticarial disease in resistant cases. Xolair is administered via subcutaneous injections, 1 time every 4 weeks. Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is another new treatment modality which is disease–specific and can effectively treat allergy induced hives.