You may have noticed some dehydrating effects on your skin from the cool, dry winter air as we approach the holiday season. It’s important to pay close attention to your skin as it can provide important clues to your overall health and wellness. From hot summer tanning to the seasonal weather changes, our skin can endure a lot of daily wear and tear, and we may not always give it the attention it deserves.
November is National Healthy Skin Month and we are taking a moment to remind you even amidst this crazy holiday season, to take care of your skin! Our goal is to raise awareness on how you can keep your skin feeling fresh, healthy, and hydrated all year around.
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest organ? It is also your first line of defense against harmful bacteria, germs, viruses, and anything else you may come in contact with. Keeping your skin vibrant and healthy can be a commitment but is definitely worth it, and we are here to help every step of the way. Our gift to you this Thanksgiving is some tips and advice on how to treat your skin right.
Leaving your skin exposed to the sun throughout the day can do more harm than you think, even when summer is long over. Did you know that excessive sun exposure can lead to wrinkles? A daily moisturizer with sunscreen should be your best friend all year round as it can do wonders in preventing dark spots from forming as well as reduce the effects of aging.
When in direct sunlight, be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses. Sunglasses will help prevent you from squinting too much as squinting can lead to the development of crow’s feet (wrinkles around your eyes). If you can, consider wearing protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants. Be sure to take breaks in the shade when you can.
Sunscreen is a powerful weapon against the sun and a great defense in preventing skin cancer. Without sunscreen, those UV rays can do irreparable damage to your skin. Apply sunscreen all year round. The American Academy of Dermatology highly recommends an SPF of 30 or higher with UVA protection. Be sure to reapply every four hours if you know you will be outside for a while.
Speaking of UV rays, be wary of tanning beds. We know they may be tempting, especially during the winter when everyone wants a sun-kissed glow, but trust us, you don’t want to be kissed by the sun’s rays. The harmful UV radiation used in tanning beds may lead to the development of skin cancer. If you want that golden glow, use self-tanning products such as sprays or creams. When applied correctly, you should have no fear of orange skin, skids, streaks, or blotches.
Wash your face daily with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. We also recommend washing your face before going to sleep to remove any excess oil, toxins, and debris you may have encountered throughout the day.
Establish a proper day time and night routine and stick to it. Be sure to determine your skin type (oily, dry, combination, normal, or sensitive) and choose skin care products that are tailored to your skin type. Keep in mind that as the seasons change you may need to adjust your products to adapt to your skin’s needs.
It is okay to simplify your skincare routine. Less is more. Using too many products constantly can irritate and tire your skin, so be sure to focus on the basics now and then. A gentle cleanser and moisturizer should be your tried and true. Applying a topical retinoid before you sleep may also help in keeping your skin feeling refreshed. Retinoids contain Vitamin A and will help nourish your skin and remove unwanted spots and superficial skin lines.
Don’t forget about your lips and eyes! Use a lip balm to keep your lips from feeling dry and chapped. Be gentle when applying or removing makeup from your eyes as your skin is the thinnest around your eyes.
Moisturize & relax
As we move into cooler months, the humidity will drop and your skin can easily dry out. We strongly urge you to moisturize daily. If you are prone to dry, chapped hands during the winter, then use a moisturizing hand soap as well. Use hand creams throughout the day, and if you catch yourself feeling dry then reapply. It is better to start early as it is easier to prevent dry skin or chapped hands than it can be to treat it quickly.
Applying moisturizing cream or lotion to your face and body at night will help replace daily moisture loss and prevent your skin from becoming dry overnight and developing a worn, tired look.
Avoid hand sanitizer as the alcohol will have a drying effect. For extra moisture, use petroleum jelly on hands and feet.
Hydrate yourself as well! Sometimes the simplest actions yield the greatest benefits. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is a great way to moisturize your precious skin.
Another great way to keep yourself looking refreshed is to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Find healthy ways to manage stress as stress can lead to breakouts and other problems that can affect your skin.
Winter is a good time to check yourself for unusual shapes, spots, and colors that might indicate something more.
Conduct a thorough self-examination by looking at your body in a full-length mirror. Check your front, back, and sides with your arms raised. Be sure to scan over your forearms, underarms, palms, and elbows. Don’t forget to check your legs, toes, and soles of your feet. A hand mirror can help you examine other areas such as your neck, scalp, back, and buttocks.
Look for any asymmetrical shapes, uneven skin, spots with bumpy borders, different colored areas, or spots that might be changing in size, shape, and color. Spots larger than the size of a pencil eraser should be examined, but even smaller spots can be worth a look.
We know it may seem like a lot, but it is important to check regularly and look for any changes in your skin. If you are unsure or unable to perform an examination yourself, we would be happy to do one for you.
Consider visiting your dermatologist this month for a skin exam, especially if it has been over a year since your last appointment. As mentioned above, we will happily provide you with a full-body exam to check any moles or other suspicious spots on your skin. Bring any questions or concerns you may have about skincare and how to have healthy skin. Don’t hesitate to bring up anything that might concern you, often a quick check can help diagnose any spots or areas you may be worried about. For more information, contact us at Esterson Dermatology today.