Summer is upon us, and for all its glory the season makes a number of things perilously difficult. Getting a good tee time, for one. Booking a week’s vacation basically anywhere. And, yes, confronting ourselves before a full-length mirror, in our bathing suits.
What summer doesn’t need to be is an affront to your skin. Whether young or old, you should follow a few simple rules to ensure that the summers ahead of you and your skin are many.
At this time of year, though, teenagers are the most likely group to be thinking about acne. The stress associated with the new school year, making new friends, and so on can play havoc with the skin, causing breakouts when they are least wanted. Here, we share some tips on controlling acne breakouts. READ MORE
Here’s a trade secret that may get me kicked out my doctors’ golfing club (which wouldn’t bother me much, to be honest, because frankly, I hate golf): very often, when we see what looks like a bite on someone during the summer, we tell them it’s a spider bite, which generally satisfies the patient who nearly always says, “You know, that’s just what I thought, too.”
Trouble is: spiders rarely bite, especially in Canada, so a “spider bite” is much more likely to be a result of the bite of another bug, such as a flea, for example.
In fact, according to one expert, Chris Buddle, an arachnologist – that’s a guy who studies spiders – at McGill University, spiders don’t want to bite you because like me at most parties, they’d really much rather avoid contact with humans.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects many Canadians. Dry, itchy and sore skin accompanied with flare-ups of painful scales occurs with this condition. It might be good to know that there are many prescription treatments available.
In today’s post, I would like to highlight some skin care recommendations for people with psoriasis.
My favourite pastime – by the proverbial country mile – is hiking.
In fact, the week after this item gets published, Phyllis (the woman who has tolerated me for over 44 years mostly because, she says, I make her laugh a lot – at me, not with me, but hey! Whatever works, right?) and I are off for a 9-day hike in the UK.
And in case you’re wondering why I love hiking so much, especially in the UK and France, the answer is simple: the 2 large ciders (in the UK) or the 2 large glasses of wine (in France, bien sur) that I am allowed to have every afternoon as we finally make it into our destination for that day.
The hiking is OK, but the cider and wine? Priceless.
Anyway, that aside, hiking also carries certain obvious risks, most of which I have run into over the years – sprains, strains, scrapes, blisters, rashes, and even the one I want to mention today, poison ivy, which I experienced once because of a side trip I had to make into the bushes (do not try to imagine this).
“Poison ivy” is a rash caused by sensitivity to an oily resin in the poison ivy plant (but also in poison oak and poison sumac).
I love the sun. I just wish we got to see more of it here near the coast in British Columbia where I live, but the trade-off is that we also don’t get to shovel much white stuff in the winter so I guess that’s a pretty good deal.
But back to the sun: I love the sun because it just makes me – and I’m sure most of you, too – feel better both psychologically and physically when it’s out than when it’s not.
Not only that, but adequate sun exposure is also the best source of that vital and life-sustaining element, Vitamin D.
But unfortunately, as with everything in life, there’s no free lunch with the sun either so although some sun exposure is good, even mandatory to maintain healthy Vitamin D blood levels, a lot of sun exposure is not good because it raises the risk of skin cancer, and unfortunately, the number of diagnoses of skin cancer has been going up quite significantly, even in young people.
So, it’s never a bad idea to remind everyone of the pretty simple rules to avoid excess sun exposure in the summer, and this is, of course, an especially important reminder for parents, since there is a direct line between the rate of malignant melanomas later in life, the most severe form of skin cancer, and the number of bad sunburns in childhood.
So, here are my recommendations:
A couple of years ago, my wife and I went hiking in the summer around Toulouse in the south of France. My wife hikes because she absolutely loves hiking, and I do it because I love her and besides, there’s my nightly reward of at least one glass of wine – more if I can sneak it in – at the invariable pub or café we visit after the day’s hiking.
Usually, we pass – or are passed – by many other hikers but not on this hike. Over five pretty long and very hot days (the temperature was at least 33 degrees centigrade every day), we passed only one other couple. So when we got to our B&B that night, and I was nursing my glass of wine, I said to the owner, “I guess French people don’t enjoy hiking so much.”
He shrugged (the French shrug before they say anything at all, often even when they say nothing) and said, “Mais, oui, we French love hiking, but we’re smart enough to do it when it’s not so hot. You can get very sick when it’s so hot.” And he shrugged again, and went off.