The transition from spring to summer brings about a significant shift in weather and environmental conditions, which can impact our skin in different ways. As the temperatures rise and the sun becomes more intense, our skin faces new challenges, particularly for expectant mothers, babies and toddlers.
Understanding how this seasonal transition affects skin health is crucial for ensuring the comfort and safety of both pregnant women and young children. In this blog we delve into the unique skin care needs and challenges that expectant mothers, babies and toddlers may encounter during the shift in seasons from spring to summer. We will also discuss some helpful and practical tips to help maintain healthy and happy skin for the whole family.
Skin care during pregnancy
Pregnancy hormones, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, can lead to a range of skin changes and challenges during a woman’s pregnancy. These skin challenges may be heightened during the transition from spring to summer due to the combination of these hormonal changes, increased sun exposure and rising temperatures.
Below we will discuss some of the skin challenges that expectant mothers may experience during this seasonal change, and provide some skincare and lifestyle tips that may help address and manage these changes.
1. Increased sensitivity to the sun
Pregnancy often causes increased sensitivity to the sun due to a combination of hormonal changes and skin alterations. One key factor is the elevated levels of oestrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, which can stimulate melanin production in the skin.
Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin, hair, and eye colour, and an increase in its production can make the skin more susceptible to pigmentation changes and sun-induced darkening. The surge in hormones can also affect the body's immune response, potentially making the skin more sensitive to UV radiation from the sun.
These changes make pregnant women higher risk of developing conditions such as melasma, a form of hyperpigmentation, which is often triggered or intensified by sun exposure. Given these hormonal and skin changes during the hotter months of the year, it is important for pregnant women to take extra precautions.
Some strategies that can help reduce your exposure to the sun during the summer months include; using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, even on cloudy days, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and seeking shade or limiting time in the sun particularly during the peak hours of the day.
2. Dry skin
Pregnancy can lead to increased skin dryness, particularly during the summer, primarily due to the hormonal fluctuations of oestrogen and progesterone. These two hormones can affect water retention and distribution during pregnancy, affecting the ability of the skin to retain moisture and causing dryness.
The heat and humidity of summer can increase this effect, as excessive sweating and increased moisture loss from the skin can lead to further dehydration. Additionally, the increased blood flow and higher body temperature associated with pregnancy can also contribute to elevated water loss through the skin. As a result, pregnant women are at greater risk of experiencing skin dryness, itchiness, and discomfort, especially when the skin is exposed to the drying effects of the summer heat.
Staying well-hydrated, using gentle, moisturising skincare products such as b.box body hydrate body lotion, and practicing sun protection are key strategies for managing skin dryness during the shift in seasons from spring to summer.
3. Heat rashes
Heat rashes can become more common during pregnancy, especially during the transition into the hot summer months. This can occur due to a combination of factors associated with pregnancy including the hormonal changes causing increasing perspiration, coupled with elevated body temperature. This creates an environment where sweat becomes trapped in sweat ducts and skin folds.
Excess sweat can block the ducts and lead to inflammation and a characteristic itchy, red, and bumpy rash. In the summer, the higher temperatures and humidity further promote sweating, making pregnant women more susceptible to developing heat rashes.
To minimize the risk of heat rashes during pregnancy, it's essential to stay cool, wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, and keep the skin dry and well-ventilated, especially in skinfold-prone areas.
4. Increased sweating
Pregnant women can experience increased sweating particularly during the summer months due to several factors. Surges in oestrogen and progesterone lead to an increased metabolic rate, raising the body's core temperature. This prompts the body to cool down through perspiration, resulting in more frequent and profuse sweating.
The increased blood volume in pregnancy also contributes to elevated body heat. These body changes during pregnancy, in combination with the rising temperatures and higher humidity characteristic of summer can lead to increased sweating.
Staying well hydrated, wearing lightweight and breathable clothing, seeking shade and cooler environments, and having cool showers can help manage the discomfort associated with increased sweating during pregnancy, particularly during the summer months.
5. PUPPP rash
Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP) is a skin condition that can become particularly bothersome during the transition from spring to summer due to a combination of factors.
PUPPP is a skin condition characterised by itchy, raised red bumps and hives that typically occur on a woman’s pregnant belly but can spread to other body parts. While the exact cause of PUPPP remains unclear, it is believed to be linked to the stretching of the skin as the baby grows and the body rapidly changes. As the weather gets hotter during the transition to summer, the irritation and itching of PUPPP can be exacerbated by heat and sweating.
The combination of factors, including hormonal fluctuations, skin stretching, and environmental conditions, can make summer a challenging time for pregnant women who experience PUPPP.
Consult with your maternity care provider if you are concerned you have developed PUPPP, wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, and apply cool compresses or take cool showers to soothe the skin to help alleviate the discomfort, particularly during the hotter weather.
6. Acne and oily skin
In pregnancy, the body experiences a surge in hormones, which stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This excess oil can clog pores and lead to the development of acne.
Summer's higher temperatures and increased humidity can compound the issue by promoting further oil production and making the skin more prone to congestion and breakouts. As well as this, perspiration and humidity can create an environment that encourages the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
The combination of hormonal fluctuations and seasonal factors during the summer can cause skin challenges for pregnant women, highlighting the importance of a consistent skincare routine, including gentle cleansing and the use of pregnancy-safe products, to manage acne and keep the skin comfortable.
Skin care for babies and toddlers
As spring gives way to summer, you'll need to modify your infant or toddler's skincare regimen to account for the shifting climate and its effects on their skin. We'll talk about some of the skin issues that new borns and toddlers could run into during this seasonal shift below, along with some skin care and lifestyle suggestions to help address and cope with these changes.
1. Increased sun exposure
As summer arrives there is typically more sunshine and longer daylight hours. The increased sun exposure can lead to a higher risk of sunburn and heat-related skin issues in babies and toddlers. Their skin is more sensitive and vulnerable to UV radiation, which can cause sunburn and increase the risk of long-term skin damage.
For children over 6 months old, apply a specifically formulated baby sunscreen to protect against UV radiation about 15-30 minutes before going outside. Dress your baby or toddler in lightweight, breathable, and sun-protective clothing when outdoors.
2. Higher temperatures and humidity
The rise in temperatures and increased humidity during the summer can lead to more sweating and heat-related skin problems. Babies and toddlers may be more prone to heat rashes and irritations due to the heat and moisture build up on their skin and between their skin folds.
To help prevent these issues, keep baths shorter and cooler, using mild baby soap and shampoo such as b.box body cleanse hair and body wash. Gently cleanse their skin and pay particular attention to baby skin folds and diaper areas to prevent rashes. After bathing apply baby-specific moisturiser and barrier creams, such as b.box body hydrate body lotion and protect nappy and barrier cream, to lock in moisture and ensure delicate skin remains hydrated and protected.
Dehydration during the summer can significantly affect baby and toddler skin, making it more prone to dryness and discomfort. In hot weather, children may sweat more, leading to increased fluid loss.
Dehydrated skin can become dry, itchy, and more susceptible to irritation. To reduce these impacts, ensure your baby or toddler stays well-hydrated by offering frequent water, formula or breastfeeds as appropriate to the age of your child, even if they don't express thirst.
Dress them in lightweight, breathable clothing to prevent overheating and excessive sweating. Applying a gentle baby moisturiser like b.box body hydrate body lotion after bath time to help lock in moisture and prevent dry skin.
If your child shows signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, fewer wet diapers, or lethargy, consult with a healthcare provider immediately to address their hydration needs. Keeping your child hydrated and cool during the summer is crucial for maintaining healthy and comfortable skin.
4. Allergens and pollen
Spring and early summer may bring higher pollen levels, which can trigger allergies in some children. Allergic reactions can manifest as skin rashes, itching, or hives.
To reduce these impacts, monitor your child for signs of allergies, like sneezing or itching, and consult a medical professional or paediatrician for appropriate treatments if necessary.
Be cautious about outdoor play on high pollen count days, and dress your child in long-sleeved, lightweight clothing to provide some protection against allergens. Maintaining a regular bathing routine can help to remove pollen from the skin and soothe irritated skin.
5. Insect bites and allergies
With warmer weather, there is an increase in the population of insects like mosquitoes, which can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some children.
These bites can cause itchy, red, and swollen skin. To reduce these impacts, dress your child in long-sleeved clothing and use insect repellent specifically formulated for children to prevent bites.
Consider using mosquito nets on strollers and cribs to create a protective barrier. If your child has known allergies to insect bites, consult with a medical professional or paediatrician for appropriate treatments and preventive measures. Keep your child’s skin clean and dry to prevent infection if bites occur.
The transition from spring to summer marks an important time where skin care takes on renewed significance, especially for expectant mothers, babies, and toddlers. With the changing weather and environmental conditions, it's essential to be mindful of the unique challenges that each group faces. For pregnant women, hormonal shifts and sun sensitivity can influence their skincare routines, while babies and toddlers are more susceptible to issues like heat rashes, insect bites, and sunburn.
By adapting your skincare practices and following our practical tips, families can navigate these seasonal shifts with confidence and ensure that everyone's skin remains healthy and comfortable. As we embark on the journey from spring to summer, prioritising skin health can lead to a happier and more enjoyable season for both parents and their little ones.
Written By Lauren Brenton
Endorsed Midwife and Founder of One Mama Midwife Pty Ltd
I’m Loz and I’m an Endorsed Midwife who runs Antenatal Classes in the Sutherland Shire. I have completed a Bachelor of Midwifery and a Master of Midwifery. My favourite area is in the labour ward, this is where you can find me most days. One Mama Midwife came about in the height of Covid in 2020, when so many women were missing out on the chance to have antenatal education. Aimed at empowering you with the tools you require to have the pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey that you want to have, with advice and recommendations you can trust.