Tag Archives: prevention

The Importance of Year Round Sunscreen

Image result for sunscreen bottle

Are you still using your favorite sunscreen, even for these late winter/early spring months?  Here are a few reasons why it’s important to use sunscreen year around.

There are different types of UV rays, the most common being UVA and UVB. UVA rays are present and the same strength year round, regardless of the season. They penetrate more deeply than UVB rays and cause premature aging and skin damage. UVB rays are the rays that cause skin to redden and burn. They are not as strong during the winter, so that means you most likely won’t get sunburned and you also will have no warning signs when you’ve had too much exposure.  With snow on the ground that increases your exposure because the snow reflects the sun’s rays, which can result in a double dose of exposure.  So  get into a good routine of using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily.  Ask our SkinSpeaks team for a recommendation today!

3 Winter Skincare Mistakes

8fa70ec9-1630-4313-839d-5bbe392ecb3a

Slacking on exfoliation-

Winter is an especially important time to exfoliate. By removing dead skin cells, moisturizers can actually penetrate deeper providing the extra hydration it needs.

Over moisturizing-

Our harsh Minnesota winters can really stress our skin, leaving it feeling super dry.  It’s a common mistake to layer on the moisturizers, but caking on these lotions can increase clogged pores, bumps, and breakouts. After the skin has absorbed all that it can absorb, the rest just sits on the surface of the skin potentially blocking pores.  Making sure you are using the correct moisturizers for your skin type and adding an oil-free serum can give you the extra boost it may need to survive the winter.

Skipping the SPF-

Even though you may not be getting a sunburn or suntan, you are still getting those damaging rays that cause brown spots and aging. Also, snow reflects up to 80% of the UV light from the sun, increasing your risk of damage. Use an SPF of 30 or high every day and reapply often when spending extended amounts of time in the harsh winter air.

Children and Dry Skin

Boy playing in snow

Now that school is back in session and winter is here, do you notice your children’s hands becoming dry and irritated?  Here are a few helpful ideas to get them through the ‘dry skin’ school season.

* Make sure they put their gloves or mittens on before they go outside. Going from heated buildings, buses, cars, etc. to cold air can cause exposed skin to lose its natural moisture more quickly.

* Remind them to thoroughly rinse and dry their hands after washing. The soaps that schools use are often anti-bacterial and harsh on their sensitive skin. Leaving excess soap and water on their hands can cause them to become dry and chaffed.

 * Use a good moisturizer after each washing (when possible) and before bed. Giving their busy hands an extra dose of emollient in the dry months will help prevent dry, cracked and irritated skin.

 * With teachers permission, tuck a travel size moisturizer into their backpack or coat pocket to keep in their desk to use at school.

 *For areas of cracked, chaffing skin use an alcohol free moisturizer or healing ointment. This will help to eliminate stinging and give relief to those sensitive areas.

 As always, if their hands and/or skin are extremely bad with patches of dry, itching, bleeding areas, this could be a sign of a skin condition other than dry winter skin. Seek advice from your dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

 Happy Winter!

Dry skin – What you can do to prevent it

As we approach the winter months, the air becomes dry allowing more moisture to escape from our skin compared to the humid summer months. This can result in dry skin and flares of eczema/dermatitis. As with most ailments, the best treatment is prevention, so keeping well moisturized with barrier creams BEFORE your skin becomes dry will help to delay or prevent some of these common cool weather conditions.

Quick tips to maintain hydrated skin this fall and winter:
1. Drink plenty of water. Rather than focusing on trying to drink a specific quantity of water per day (which varies with age, lifestyle, and health status), it is a more practical goal to simply to choose water as your “go-to” beverage when you are thirsty rather than dehydrating beverages like coffee and soda.

2. Take short/warm rather than long/hot showers. Prolonged hot showers can more readily strip our natural protective skin barriers. Get clean and get out.

3. Lock in the moisture. After patting dry from a shower, immediately apply your favorite moisturizer to lock in the moisture, then use as needed throughout the day. Our favorite brands are Aveeno, CereVe, Cetaphil, and Eucerin.

4. Humidification. Since the furnace is the primary culprit of dry air in our homes, be sure to turn on your built-in or portable humidifier before turning on the furnace for the season.

5. Avoiding excessive hand washing. It is important especially during the cold and flu season to prevent the spread of germs, but hand washing in excess can strip the natural protective barriers resulting in dry/chapped hands. Continue using soap and water for regular hand washing, but consider intermittent use of moisturizing hand sanitizers.

Flares of eczema and dermatitis often require prescription management when over-the-counter creams fail. Also, skin that develops dry patches that itch, sting, or bleed may be signs of a more serious skin condition.  Over the next couple weeks Skin Speaks will be posting tips to identify some of these more severe skin conditions including psoriasis, skin cancer, and fungus.