Karen Hoyt is a blogger who has a story about hepatitis C, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. This excerpt first appeared on Karen’s I Help C blog.

During the summer, direct or indirect heat can create a lot of problems. Here’s 10 tips for surviving summertime skin that’s a liver patient’s guide. Everything from liver inflammation to advanced cirrhosis can leave you miserable. I’ve learned how to enjoy the sun, and avoid the miserable skin issues. 

10 Tips for Surviving Summertime Skin: Liver Patient’s Guide 

Survivor’s Tips:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight if at all possible. It may sound crazy, but it is just for a few months. Move from shady spot to shady spot.
  2. Use high SPF sunscreen. I use Nuetrogena 100 for my face and any area that is not covered with clothing. Products containing Zinc Oxide or Titanian Dioxide are my fave. I’ve tried Badger Balm, Calamine lotion, Blue Lizard or anything that is PABA free will work. You might note that zinc oxide has been getting a bad rap lately in the media. Check it you are concerned. 
  3. Wear ball cap or hat. You might be one of those people who can wear a hat and look suave and cool. You may be like me and look like a clown. Do it anyway, especially during peak sunlight hours of 10 til 2. I do laugh more when wearing one!
  4. Wear light colored and light weight clothing. I’m fond of tank tops and shorts, especially while riding in the boat. White will reflect the sun’s rays, while dark colored clothing can attract and hold in heat. Wearing clothing made from a lightweight breathable fabric, such as cotton, linen or other natural fibers will be more comfortable.
  5. For liver transplant patients, extra caution is needed. Immune suppression can open us up to skin cancer. I recently learned about fabric in clothing that contains sunblock fibers. There are jackets, shirts, and hats. I purchased one item a few years ago that covers my neck while I’m out fishing. As a liver transplant patient, surviving summertime skin means extra measures.
  6. Keep cool by chilling out indoors under air conditioning. Again, during those peak hours, nothing beats staying in the shade. Try running errands early in the day, or wait til evening.
  7. Try to avoid hot tubs, baths or showers. Chlorine or salt purifiers in pools or hot tubs can create dryness. Moisturize quickly after a bath or shower. These moisturizers are some of my faves when dealing with sun sensitivity from other medications. Sarnia, Gold Bond Medicated, Eucerin, olive oil, coconut oil or even store brands.
  8. Talk to your doctor about any changes in your skin. Your primary care and hepatologist need to know if you’re having sun sensitivity. They may prescribe steroid creams or prescription strength antihistamines. I used  Triamcinolone, which is a low dose. You may need stronger meds like Hydrocortison at a higher % than over the counter, Fluocinonide, or Clobetesol. An oral medication such as Benedryl may help. Atarax, Vistaril, or cortisone.
  9. Do not try to self prescribe. Let your doctor know. There are many different ways your body can react. Tell them you have this information, but let the doctor make that call regarding how to treat it. Due to liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, or other skin conditions can be a cue to inflammation inside your body.
  10. Stay hydrated. Drinking water is great, but think of all the good summertime fruits that can be healthy for your skin. Watermelon is always good for your liver, but don’t forget apples, cantaloupe, and juicy peaches too.

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