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This dermatologist has a weird hack for summer rashes

Korin Miller
Summertime rash. (Photo: Getty Images)
Summertime rash. (Photo: Getty Images)

Summertime rashes are pretty common for people with sensitive skin, but one dermatologist has a quick, easy way to clear them up: Use dandruff shampoo.

That’s the random tip recently shared on Instagram by Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York City board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

This hack doesn’t work for all rashes, he tells Yahoo Lifestyle, but it can help with tinea versicolor, which are small red, scaly patches that people can get on their skin in warm, humid weather. Tinea versicolor happens when the yeast that naturally lives on a person’s skin grows out of control, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “During the summer, heat and humidity trap sweat, dirt, and oil on the skin,” Zeichner says. “This environment allows yeast that normally lives on the skin to grow to high levels. Normally yeast lives happily on our skin, but when levels rise, it can cause inflammation and rashes.”

Some people can also develop small red bumps and pus pimples known as pityrosporum folliculitis in humid weather, which is also due to an overgrowth of yeast, Zeichner says.

Treatment for tinea versicolor usually involves anti-fungal shampoos, soaps, cream, and lotions with the active ingredient selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or pyrithione zinc, the AAD says. Here’s where the dandruff shampoo comes in, per Zeichner: The active ingredient in these shampoos is pyrithione zinc, which works by lowering the levels of yeast on your skin (yeast is also the cause of dandruff on your scalp), Zeichner says.

Simply slather it on like a body wash, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wash it off, Zeichner advises, and do this every day until the rash clears up. But if your rash doesn’t improve in two weeks, see a dermatologist for an evaluation. If your rash does clear up with dandruff shampoo, try using it as a body wash once or twice a week during the rest of the summer to keep that rash from coming back, Zeichner says.

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