Fall and Winter Skin Health

This time of year can be rough on your skin. Apart from dryness and irritation, the cold and dry air takes its toll by dulling your skin and causing you to look older. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent uncomfortable and unsightly dry skin. If dry skin is a recurring problem for you during the fall and winter months, follow these steps to relieve and comfort.

Monitor the thermostat and use a humidifier. When the cold weather really starts to kick in, it can be tempting to combat the cold by raising the temperature inside your home and at work. However, increasing the heat makes the air dry. This resulting dryness will also dry out your skin. Instead of turning the heat up too high, try keeping it at a comfortable temperature without causing the air to get too dry. If the dryness still proves to be too much, using a humidifier is a good way to put some needed moisture back into the air.

Modify your winter bathing and skin care habits. Even though they can be relaxing and soothing, taking long hot baths and showers when it’s cold outside actually dries your skin out. This is because the heat deprives your skin of necessary moisture and oils. Taking warm, short baths (no longer than 15 minutes) is much less damaging. Also, if you exfoliate on a regular basis, consider cutting down to no more than once a week to reduce skin irritation.

Wear soft fabrics. Warm clothes sure do come in handy when the temperatures start to plummet. Unfortunately, some of the warmest fabrics are irritating to the skin. When wearing such materials as wool and polyester, be sure to wear softer fabrics like cotton against your skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.

Maintain a skin-friendly diet. Another way to help your skin look and feel its best this fall and winter is to feed it. Squash, pumpkin, cranberries and blueberries are some of the best foods for your skin because they are high in antioxidants.

Treat your hands with care. To keep your hands from getting too dry, be sure to moisturize and use mild soap. Also, if you use hand sanitizer throughout your workday, try to use a moisturizer-containing sanitizer. This will help to reduce dryness caused by alcohol in the sanitizer.

Enjoy a safe and healthy fall and winter with less discomfort from dry skin brought on by cold weather. If your dry skin gets particularly extreme, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. Do you have other cold weather skin care tips that have worked well for you? Please share!

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Protect Your Skin This Summer

A mile above sea level, over 300 days of sunshine per year, and tons of outdoor activities means us Coloradans are catching more rays than the average American. However, all this time spent outdoors means we are putting a lot more stress on our skin. According to the CDC, Colorado has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the United States. The skin is the largest organ on the human body, and also one of the most susceptible to our outdoor lifestyle, so we must take the time to protect it.

Sun can have major and long lasting effects on people who don’t protect their skin. Taking the necessary steps will help you avoid these dangerous conditions:

  • Skin Cancer. According to American Academy of Dermatology, one in every five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Although most forms of skin cancer are easy to treat when caught early, other forms like melanoma are extremely aggressive and have been known to cause death.
    • According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, everyone should conduct a monthly head to toe self-examination of their skin to find any new or growing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. When caught early, skin cancer has high cure rates.
  • We all get older, there’s no preventing that, but how you take care of your skin will go a long way helping you look and feel younger. Unprotected skin can develop wrinkles, dryness, and age spots, so keep it protected.

Preventing skin damage comes down to only a few basic ideas methods:

  • Wear sunscreen. It’s all about personal preference, so find a brand or SPF you like and that will do a lot more for you as long as you wear it. Apply to your skin 30 minutes before going out, and reapply every two hours you are outside. Look for water resistant formulas to ensure that sweat and water don’t remove it. Also look for broad-spectrum protection, as a sunscreen should block all forms of light, even if it isn’t visible.
  • Understanding SPF ratings. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen SPF is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce sunburns on unprotected skin. So an SPF 10, on a personal who would turn red after only 10 minutes, will last 100 minutes before they should reapply.
  • Cover up. If you are outside in nature, covering up will ensure that your skin comes into minimal contact with irritants such as poison ivy and grass Also, covering up will keep those pesky bugs off you and the sun off your skin. Wear a hat, preferably broad rim, and sunglasses – the sun damages your eyes too. Make sure you use high quality lenses, easiest way to tell is if they’re prescription ready.

Younger children are more susceptible to damage from the sun’s rays. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that children will get 80% of their total lifetime exposure from the sun before they turn 18. Every sunburn a child gets, doubles the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Make sure they wear sunscreen, sunglasses and lip protection.

Spending time outdoors is our reward for living in Colorado. Make sure you cover up and protect yourself and your family when you are outdoors to avoid unnecessary damage from the sun and keep you outdoors enjoying the great summer weather.