3 Summer Skin Problems, Solved

Relief is on its way with research-backed solutions for these common summer skin problems.

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Warm Water Soothes Burns Best

Jude Buffum

Got a little too close to your grill? Swiss researchers compared recovery in rats whose burns had been treated with gauze soaked in either warm water (98.6 degrees F., or body temperature) or cool water (62 degrees F.). Days later, rodents treated with warm water had less tissue damage. Human testing is still needed, but researchers recommend running a burn under cold water for about a minute to quench the heat, and then switching to warm water to increase blood flow and promote healing.

Source: Reto Wettstein, MD, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, Aesthetic and Hand Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland

The Lifesaving Supplement Your Skin Loves

Jude Buffum

Research has shown fish oil pills can have beneficial effects on skin elasticity, but a new study shows the anti-inflammatories may also help prevent skin cancer. Volunteers who consumed 4,000 mg of omega-3 supplements daily for three months had skin that was better at resisting the sun’s temporary effects on the immune system, protecting against damage that could lead to skin cancer. Omega-3s are no substitute for sunscreen but may provide an extra defense. Talk to your doctor before taking high doses.

Source: Lesley E. Rhodes, MD, professor of experimental dermatology, University of Manchester, and Hon. Consultant Dermatologist, Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester, U.K.

Spot Poison Ivy’s Sting Before It Starts

Jude Buffum

A new process that identifies urushiol, the rash-triggering chemical in poison ivy and poison oak, may make the great outdoors less annoying. Researchers combined special urushiol-sensitive chemicals with fluorescent dyes to create a spray that lights up under ultraviolet black light when exposed to the plant sap. Although still in development, the spray could allow people to spot the toxic oil on skin, clothes, and pets when they get home and then wash it off before developing an itchy rash. Researchers are looking for ways to bring the spray to market.

Source: Rebecca Braslau, PhD, professor of chemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

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