As a dermatologist I have always been fascinated with the way skin reacts to its environment. Changes in the skin can reveal a lot about your health. Rashes, hives, and itching may be a manifestation of an allergic reaction, a skin infection, or an autoimmune disease. A changing mole may be a sign of skin cancer. The skin is very responsive to its environment; think goosebumps, chills, and itchiness. Did you know that skin accounts for roughly 15% of our body weight? Skin also acts as your body’s thermostat. You can sweat up to a quart of fluid a day to cool your body. And this may be the most surprising of all: your body creates a new layer of skin every 28 days. Skin is our body’s largest organ, and we should take care of ‘the skin we are in’ so as to reap the benefits of having healthy skin.
Even in autumn, don’t let the cooler temperatures fool you; without proper sun protection, our skin can suffer damage, resulting in long term effects, such as wrinkles, excess freckling, rough skin, and most significantly, skin cancer. Dermatologists recommend that a facial moisturizer with SPF be worn on the face and neck all 365 days of the year. These areas are exposed every single day and ultraviolet rays travel through car windows and through clouds. A sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and block UVA and UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide if you prefer to go chemical free.
While the cumulative effects of year round sun exposure, as well as the effects of blistering sunburns, may result in skin cancer, the good news is that most skin cancer is curable if detected and treated early. See a dermatologist, experts in skin, hair, and nails, yearly for a skin cancer screening as skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The cosmetic appearance of sun damage can be reversed via a variety of treatments, such as chemical peels, laser, microneedling, and medical grade cosmeceutical or prescription products recommended by a board certified dermatologist.
Dermatologists like to say ‘Pale is the new tan.” But, If you prefer a tan appearance, keep in mind that the only safe tan comes from a bottle. The main ingredient in self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Remember, though, sunscreens still need to be applied even if you use a self-tanning application as they do not contain SPF.
As the temperatures go down, and we turn on the heat in our homes, a change in humidity occurs, and our skin may become dry and itchy. Dry and itchy skin is one of the most common conditions that brings both adults and children into the office throughout the winter. One of the most common things to dry out our skin is those long hot showers that feel so good in winter! In order to prevent your skin from getting too dry, try limiting your shower to 10 minutes or less and keeping the temperature lukewarm. Apply a moisturizing cream immediately after bathing. If a moisturizing cream is not applied immediately, the moisture from your shower will evaporate, and you will be dryer than when you stepped into the shower!
Hopefully these simple tips will help you and your family to get through the winter with your skin feeling smooth and soft, so you can enjoy all that New Albany has to offer in the beautiful winter months.
Renée Rouleau once said, “ Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.”