Caring for Your Skin This November
November is National Healthy Skin Month, making this the best time to check in on your skin! Your skin is the human body’s largest organ and not only acts as a protective barrier, but reveals a lot about your health in a variety of ways. This month brings awareness to the many obvious and not-so-obvious ways to keep your skin healthy, preventing common skin conditions. Below, we will discuss the various ways you can care for your skin, no matter the season or your age!
Your skin is constantly changing. In fact, your skin renews itself approximately every 28 days by shedding around 30,000 micro skin cells per minute. However, the gross truth is that these dead skin cells may make up the majority of dust found within your home! Although your skin naturally changes throughout the year, you can take preventative measures to protect your skin as it changes and ages.
- Make note of your skin type. Whether it be oily, dry, combination, or sensitive− it is important to know what skin type you have so you can properly care for it. Each type requires special care.
- Wash your face, hands, and entire body often with cold or lukewarm water. Try to avoid using hot water as it is harsh on the skin and may dehydrate it. Pick a mild face wash and body wash that will compliment your skin type and try not to use anything too drying or heavily scented. You should thoroughly wash every part of your body (yes, including your feet!) every other day, if not daily. As your skin naturally renews itself, protecting your skin barrier from germs, dirt, and infections is vital for maintaining healthy skin, especially on your face that you may touch often.
- Apply moisturizer to your face and body every day. Moisturizer should be applied to damp, cleansed skin to allow for deeper hydration. This creates a hydrated skin barrier, makes the skin more supple, and protects against wrinkles as you age. Moisturizer is for everyone, no matter your age, gender, or skin type. Your body produces natural oils called sebum that help the skin stay hydrated and protected. People with oily skin produce excessive amounts of sebum, resulting in oily or greasy skin. When these excess oils are secreted from the skin, they carry out moisture and deplete the skin of natural hydration usually without the skin looking dry. People with dry skin do not produce enough sebum, resulting in dehydrated skin that appears rough, patchy, or flaky. Find a moisturizer with no fragrance (artificial fragrances are commonly irritating) that compliments your skin type. Those with oily skin should use oil-free moisturizers, whereas dry skin should use thicker creams.
- Protect your skin from sun damage. Use at least SPF 30 on any uncovered surface of the skin, especially in the warmer months of the year. However, you should continue to use SPF in the colder months as well. SPF is crucial for skin health, as it protects the outer layers of the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and environmental exposure that have been proven to accelerate the skin’s aging process.
- Moisturize your lips with unscented lip balm or petroleum jelly. These products trap moisture on your lips, leaving them hydrated so they will not split or flake. This is especially important as cold weather sets in and lips are more prone to becoming chapped.
- Manage your stress levels. It may be easier said than done, but higher stress levels lead to more acne breakouts or lines appearing on the skin. Managing stress is good for the soul and for the skin!
- Drink plenty of water. This is a hard one! Your body is made up of approximately 60% water, making water essential for the body to function. Drinking enough water each day flushes out toxins within the body and skin, reduces skin puffiness, and lessens the appearance of wrinkles. Water will hydrate and moisturize the skin internally, no matter the skin type.
- Practice monthly skin examinations. Since your skin replaces itself completely about every month, it is important to examine your skin for any unusual spots, bumps, discoloration, or rashes and take note of any sudden developments. Keeping track of these skin changes is crucial in being able to update your dermatologist at your next visit. If anything strange appears or changes quickly, such as a rapidly expanding mole or bump, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Skin Care Takeaways
As we ease into the winter months, it is important to give your skin a little extra love and attention. The air is usually drier, sometimes resulting in chapped or irritated skin, especially on the face and hands. Moisturize and hydrate wisely. The use of a heater may further dry out your skin without realizing it. Although you may be bundled up in layers this winter season, that does not mean that your skin is fully protected. Take the necessary steps above to ensure that your skin stays healthy and protected all year long!
November is the perfect time to schedule an annual checkup with a trusted dermatologist. Make sure to properly examine your skin before your visit to note any changes that you have seen. Providing your doctor with clues about your skin may help them assess for a proper skin care regimen to keep your skin healthy during the cold winter months.
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