Preparing your Skin for the Summer to Fall Transition
It’s that time of year again when shorts are exchanged for sweaters and the long, hot summer days become crisp, cool autumn nights. As we transition from summer to fall, the seasonal change comes with shorter days, drops in humidity levels, and lower temperatures. Along with these changes, it is important to adjust your skincare routine to ensure that your skin stays moisturized and hydrated in the cold and dry months.
Repairing Sun Damaged Skin
There are many factors that can affect your risk of skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to the American Cancer Society, these include, but are not limited to, irregular moles, fair skin, tropical or subtropical climate, and some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. People of all complexions should do what they can to protect their skin, which includes wearing sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
For those who have experienced it, sun damage can be painful and requires a healing regimen that often involves the application of a soothing moisturizer such as aloe vera or soy to treat the skin. As much as we love that summer glow, keep in mind that the skin damage caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays can be long-lasting and lead to wrinkles, rubbery skin, or worse, cancer.
Keeping Skin Moisturized
For the face, many prefer an oil-free, light weight moisturizer in the summer. As the air gets cooler and less humidity is in the environment to keep your skin glowing, it’s time to make the switch to something more hydrating with humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Take a look at the moisturizers your using on both your face and your body – the wording is very important! During the fall and winter, look for the words ointment or cream. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, lotions are less effective than ointments and creams in maintaining the skin’s hydration.
You’ll also be doing your skin a favor by taking the extra minute to peek at the ingredient list. If you have dry, sensitive skin, products that contain fragrance, alcohol, or deodorant soaps may irritate the skin. Using gentle products can allow your skin to heal without stripping away its moisture. Ingredients like shea butter, olive oil, or jojoba oil included in creams or ointment can also help relieve dry skin, especially on the legs or arms.
Skincare is unique to each individual and that includes exfoliation. As the skin loses moisture and becomes drier, you may realize that you don’t need to exfoliate as frequently as you once did in the summer. Keep in mind that for some individuals, exfoliated skin is not affected by changes in temperature and can be continued during the cooler months.
Maintaining Moisture while Showering and Bathing
Washing our bodies may appear to be one of the most routine habits we practice, but it is important to consider the ways in which the body is cleaned to allow it to maintain its moisture. Baylor College of Medicine suggests avoiding hot water during showers or baths because it can cause the skin to become dry and even damage the surface of the skin. Instead, use warm water and apply a thick moisturizer immediately after drying the skin. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, it is also helpful to use a fragrance-free, gentle cleanser to clean the skin.
Adjusting Your Environment
It is also beneficial to recognize that some skin conditions may be linked to changes in the environment. As the temperature drops, it can cause the skin to feel tight, itchy, flaky, or even bleed. Visiting a board-certified dermatologist will address these symptoms and implementing these simple changes to your skincare routine can prepare you for the coming season.
Although the natural humidity that once held moisture in the air is slowly, but surely leaving us, it is never too late to stop by your local drugstore or grocery store and pick up a humidifier. The golden rule with humidifiers is to turn them on at the same time you turn on the heat. Humidifiers increase the moisture levels in the air by emitting water vapor or steam and ideally maintain the humidity in your home between 30-50%. This increased moisture in the air can help soothe dry skin, cracked lips, and even dry sinuses. If you do decide to invest in one of these devices, it is important to be cautious of how humid you are making your home and ensure that it is cleaned properly.
The body draws fluid to the skins surface and therefore needs hydration. It is worthwhile to care for your body internally as much as you do externally by drinking plenty of water and keeping your body hydrated.
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