Tips to Avoid a Heat Triggered Herpes Outbreak
By: contributing author Stephanie
For those of you who have read Dr. Kelly’s book, Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes, you are aware that heat, moisture, and sun can trigger outbreaks. Here, I will go over the facts you need to minimize your risk of a sun or heat triggered herpes outbreak as well as provide some tips for non toxic sun protection.
According to an article on Livestrong.com, the reason that sun exposure activates the herpes virus is unknown. However, the article informs us that using sunscreen before sun exposure will decrease the risk of an outbreak triggered by UV rays. This mean that applying sunscreen prior to a day in the sun is especially important for those of us who experience outbreaks on our faces. Choosing the right sunscreen with ingredients that won’t irritate your skin and possibly trigger outbreaks is also very important.
My favorite resource to use when buying any cosmetic products is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. For your convenience this website provides a tab on the top left of the page specifically for sun protection. This database will provide you with a toxicity rating for almost any product you are debating purchasing. The key for these ratings is pictured below in the Hazard Score Key. If the product has a hazard score that is color coded green and numbered 0-2 it is in the lowest toxicity bracket. Products with a score that is color coded red and numbered 7-10 is in the highest toxicity bracket. Once you find a product that meets your own personal qualifications for a hazard rating you can click on the product to see what specific ingredients earned the rating.
The database also provides a helpful list of common toxic ingredients found in sunscreens. Here is a list of the harmful active ingredients from highest toxicity to lowest toxicity found in many sunscreens provided by ewg.org: Common Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients
- Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate)
- Titanium Dioxide
- Zinc Oxide
- Mexoryl SX
It may be hard to avoid all of these ingredients, so when choosing sunscreen I suggest you remember that although these ingredients may be harmful to our bodies, overexposure to the sun is also harmful. Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with the herpes virus or not, the sun is harmful and can irritate the skin. It is also important to get to know you own body in order to understand how the virus will react to heat triggers on your body specifically. If you notice that you tend to get frequent outbreaks during constant heat exposure, take steps to avoid the heat. Keep in mind that avoiding the heat does not necessarily mean that you need to avoid your favorite summer hobbies. Get acquainted with your body’s limits and you may be surprised with what it can handle. With this information I hope you practice mindful sunscreen use and regulate your exposure to heat this summer. Remember that we all have a unique experience with herpes, and one person’s trigger is not always the same as another’s. Now, enjoy the last rays of summer!
Want to learn more about the herpes triggers your doctor never told you about? Check out Dr. Kelly’s Amazon bestseller.
Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie. I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old. Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University. I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis. With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs. I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.