Climate change appears to be occurring at an unprecedented rate. In the past few years, we’ve seen how climate change alters our way of life. Its impact is unavoidable and impossible to ignore because it is all around us. Experts agree that climate change is having a major impact on human health. Our most valuable asset, our health, is unquestionably threatened by our changing climate.
The first barrier between our body and the outside world is our skin. Some dermatologists are now reporting an increase in certain dermatological conditions linked to the looming climate crisis. The skin, as the first line of defense against changing climates, must adapt to these changes, which can be difficult in extreme environments.
How Does Climate Affect the Skin?
The skin interacts with its surroundings in a variety of ways. However, our skin's ability to adapt to rising temperatures has its own limits. The largest organ on the body and the area that communicates with the outside world the most is the skin. That being said, skin care should not be an afterthought.
While thinking about the effects of climate change on your skin may conjure up images of sun protection and the threat. Extreme weather can cause a variety of issues, ranging from dehydration to sunburn. Air pollution and environmental factors can also have an impact on our skin.
Extreme weather, pollution, ozone layer depletion, flooding, increased temperatures and humidity, and increased pollen are some of the effects of climate change that may have an impact on your skin's health.
These factors may play a role in a variety of skin and health problems, including:
- skin cancer
- early signs of aging
- skin disorders such as rashes, hives, eczema, and psoriasis
- infectious disease and skin-related complications
Climate Change Effects on Skin Diseases
Climate change has been linked to a number of common skin conditions. One of them is eczema, a skin condition that can occur at any age and is characterized by irritating, itchy rashes that can disrupt sleep and overall quality of life. Eczema flare-ups can be caused by a variety of factors, including air pollutants.
According to a study published in JAMA Dermatology, there was an increase in eczema flares in California during the 2018 Camp Fire. Psoriasis and lupus, two immune system medical conditions that can cause skin rashes, may also be exacerbated by air pollution.
According to some dermatologists, the air pollution that causes these flares may make it more difficult to treat these already chronic conditions. Skin cancer is also influenced by climate change, according to experts, and may become more common in the future as a result. And because it's warmer in other places, people are spending more time outside, wearing less clothing for the majority of the year, and that means more sun exposure.
Climate change can also accelerate the spread of infectious diseases. Climate change has been linked to an increase in skin infections, not only globally but also in the United States, which experts believe will worsen as the environment changes. This is due to a variety of factors, including weather changes that affect vectors that transmit diseases to humans, such as mosquitos and ticks.
Acne is becoming more common, affecting about 85 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 24. Our skin's pH balance can be affected by climate change. Acne breakouts can be exacerbated by increased sweating and oil production.
Climate change can increase UV radiation and pollutants in the environment, both of which cause free radical damage, compounding the effects of sun exposure. According to a 2019 study, air pollution causes or worsens premature skin aging by increasing oxidative stress in the skin.
Infectious diseases are classified into three types: vector-borne, viral, and fungal. Climate change also has the potential to exacerbate all of these.
Climate change's various manifestations, from air pollution to flooding, all contribute to skin and overall health across the country. Flooding, such as that seen recently in the Southeast and Northwest, can carry pathogens that can harm the skin.
Health Benefits of Climate Change
The changing weather effects on health are inevitable, but climate change effects on skin have their pros and cons. The changing climate can also be good for the world. The main advantages of global warming are fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; higher agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; and possibly greater biodiversity.
Climate Change and Skincare
Fortunately, climate change and skin care can go together. According to experts, there are several things you can do if you have skin conditions or if they seem to worsen during changing weather events. It is very crucial to see a board-certified dermatologist for proper diagnosis and management of the condition, especially during different seasons.
If you have eczema and know that wildfire season is approaching, you can use more moisturizers and emollients to protect your skin barrier from some of the harmful pollutants that can infiltrate the skin barrier. It still depends on the disease and what causes it, but experts say there are still extra precautions you can take.
To minimize the negative effects of climate change on our skin and overall health, we need to practice the following:
- Use sunscreen at all times
- Avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m
- Constantly monitor the air quality. Using an air filtration system in your home is another excellent precaution.
- Stay hydrated
- Consume vitamin-rich foods, particularly those high in vitamin C and E
- Start taking vitamins and supplements
- Apply topical products containing vitamins E and C to your skin
- Put on hats and protective clothing
Global climate appears to be hastening dermatology in so many ways. Skin allergy due to climate change is altering at an unprecedented rate. Climate change skin problems pose the greatest threat to our skin today. That being said, protecting our health from climate change has never been more important than now.