Protect Your Skin This Fall With These Easy Steps from Protect Your Skin This Fall With These Easy Steps

Protect Your Skin This Fall With These Easy Steps

The unusually warm weather for September in some parts of the country may have taken your focus off the fact that it’s technically fall, but your skin will notice the difference. Your No. 1 enemy remains the sun. “We educate patients that UltraViolet A, the ray that passes through glass and windows, is present every day—even on non-sunny days, and penetrates the skin deeper than UVB rays causing DNA damage (skin cancer) and destroying collagen and elastin (wrinkles),” Dr. Adean Kingston, cosmetic dermatologist, says. You probably know that you should try to avoid pollution as best as possible, stop smoking, and refrain from tanning of any kind, and that includes sunbathing and tanning beds, Dr. Kingston adds. 

You must use sunblock

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Eliminating the use of sunblock is the biggest mistake Dr. Kingston says she sees people make when fall arrives. “People don't realize that their skin is still at risk of ultraviolet radiation exposure during colder months, but, in fact, that risk remains 365 days of the year— even on cloudy, over cast days.”

Don’t forget the neck and chest

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People usually forget to apply sunblock to the face, neck and upper chest. You still have to, and do it every day, Dr. Kingston says. The skin on the neck is very delicate, just as much as the skin on the face, but it’s often overlooked. You are constantly moving your neck, stretching it in different directions and creating wrinkles without even knowing it.

Use a moisturizer twice a day

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“During the cooler months, one’s skin becomes drier often due to indoor heating as well as the colder climate,” Dr. Kingston says. It is imperative to use a good hydrating moisturizer twice daily if necessary, she adds. Some of her personal favorites are Cera Ve PM, Neutrogena Boost, Triple Lipid by SkinCeuticals, Treatment Ceramide by SkinMedica, Hyalis by Neocutis, Elta MD PM Therapy, and Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer.  “For hands I like L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream and Crabtree & Evelyn Gardners Hand Therapy.”

Always apply lip balm

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You don’t need a Blistex commercial to tell you that the cooler weather can be harsh on your lips. They are very sensitive and can be seriously harmed by the sun. The constant exposure and the added wind will certainly take its toll. Don’t forget to reapply. For lips Dr. Kingston says she likes EpiCeram Lip Balm, Cera Ve Healing Ointment, Rosebud Salve, FixMySkin Healing Balm, and Vaseline.

Use SPF greater than 30 daily

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If there is one thing Dr. Kingston says she wants people to remember about skincare in the fall, it is to continue to use daily SPF greater than 30. “My favorite is Elta MD daily 40 tint or clear and Elta 46 Clear or Tint.” Apply a good moisturizer as often as needed.  If one still feels extremely dry, a visit to a dermatologist for a prescription “moisturizer,” known as Skin Barrier Repair Creams may be necessary, she adds. “My personal favorite prescription cream is EpiCeram and a favorite among our patients.  Other prescription skin barrier creams are Hylatopic Plus Cream/Lotion/or Foam, and Ceracade Skin Emulsion.”

Don’t shower with hot water

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We always suggest lukewarm bathing, Dr. Kingston says. Hot water dries out skin and hair, which can mean rough itchy skin and scalps. Cold water closes up pores temporarily, which will prevent them from getting clogged and makes hair appear healthier and shinier by flattening hair follicles.

Limit baths

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“We often recommend every other day bathing,” Dr. Kingston says.  Over washing and drying the skin can dehydrate it, which can cause the body to respond by increasing its oil productions. Also, scrubbing the skin can actually traumatize it, leading to inflammation and unwanted coloration. Also, other than the face, the body doesn’t need as much washing because it doesn’t produce as much oil.

Use gentle soap

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Dr. Kingston recommends using gentle soap such as Dove. “Dove is a favorite soap among all dermatologists because it has the correct pH balance and does not strip the natural moisturizing factor from your skin,” she adds. Alkaline soaps can really dry the skin by removing its natural oils, making the skin itchy and prone to breakouts.

Apply cream right after a bath

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It is also very important to moisturize the entire body immediately after bathing. The skin prefers to be moisturized while still damp; so apply your moisturizer after a quick towel partial dry, Dr. Kingston says. “Some of my personal favorites are Cetaphil Lotion, Cera Ve Cream, Aveeno Eczema Therapy Cream, EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Crème, and prescription skin barrier creams such as EpiCeram. The other best times to apply moisturizer are before bedtime and in the morning.

Exfoliate 2-3 times a week at most

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One should only exfoliate their skin 2-3 times per week and only if their skin is clear of acne lesions and not irritated, according to Dr. Kingston. “Some of my personal favorite exfoliators are Dermadoctor Physical Chemistry Facial Microdermabrasion, Skin Polisher by SkinMedica, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age-Defying Exfoliator, ZO Skin Health Offects Exfoliating Polish, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub, and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads.”

Not all moisturizers are good

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Look for moisturizers that have Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid, Dr. Kingston says. “These help restore the skins natural moisturizing factor which is often depleted in aging skin.”  If very dry and scales are apparent, look for moisturizers that have Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Lactic Acid such as in AmLactin, Beta Hydroxy Acids like Salicylic Acid such as Cera Ve SA Renewing Cream , or Urea such as Excipial Urea 20% Intensive Healing Cream, she adds.

Get a facial once a month

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“I am a personal fan of facials and treat myself monthly,” Dr. Kingston says. One should treat themselves to facials as their budget allows, she adds. “I recommend finding a Medical Spa that does customized individual treatments focusing on hydrating or detoxing/cleansing the face using gentle skin care products.”

Drink a lot of water

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Hydration with water is also essential to keeping the skin hydrated, Dr. Kingston says. Dehydration makes you sick in many ways. The skin, the body’s largest organ, gets dry, rough and itchy when dehydrated, and that makes it very prone to wrinkles. The skin then doesn’t retain moisture and the flow of nutrients is affected.

Eat foods rich in antioxidants

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Eating a healthy diet is important to maintain skin integrity. Foods especially rich in antioxidants are essential to maintain skin health, Dr. Kingston says. Avoiding everything that sucks the water out of your skin is crucial. Don’t fill up on refined sugar, complex carbs and processed foods.

Consider supplements

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Supplements are also valuable for maintaining skin health, Dr. Kingston says. “One should take a daily multi-vitamin, daily oral Calcium with Vitamin D3, Omega-3 fatty Acids, and Biotin or a Skin, Nail, Hair Vitamin,” she adds.

Exercise

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Exercising increases blood circulation, and better flow carries oxygen and healthy ingredients to the skin which it needs to stay healthy. Stretching improves flexibility. Whatever relaxes the muscles is a great habit. Consider a low-impact exercise and yoga as well.

Get some sleep

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“Beauty sleep” is not just an expression. One of the common long-term effects of sleep deprivation includes prematurely aged skin. When you’re sleep deprived, the body releases cortisol, the stress hormone. It breaks down collagen, making your skin vulnerable to wrinkles, discoloration and paleness. Also, the skin needs human growth hormone to replenish. HGH is released while you’re sleeping.