Give your Hands a Leg up this Winter
The winter weather can do a number on your skin. If you're not careful, small problems like slight dryness could quickly turn into painful itching and fissures that sting in the cold air. Because we often associate the winter season with increased risk of colds and flu, many people inadvertently exacerbate the dryness problem with excessive hand-washing. Here, we want to discuss how you can protect the delicate skin on your hands to prevent discomfort, not to mention premature aging.
The Skin Barrier
In order for your skin to remain as healthy as possible, it needs a barrier between cells and the outside world. The skin's natural barrier is found on the uppermost layer of the epidermis. It is referred to as the stratum corneum. This barrier is similar in makeup to a brick-and-mortar wall. The "bricks" on the stratum corneum are composed of the cells that are ready to be shed. Another important aspect of dermatologic health is the lipid layer, or mortar, that holds the ready-to-shed cells together. The lipids do more than act as cement; they give the skin its softness, firmness, and hydration.
Protecting your Skin's Covering
Damage to the stratum corneum means an increased risk of irritation. Skin that is unable to hold adequate moisture may become itchy, cracked, and uncomfortable. Winter weather is harsh enough on this barrier. Because there is little that can be done to change Mother Nature, we must take care to avoid harsh products and chemicals that leach the skin of its natural protective layer. We can do this by:
- Limiting use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Washing hands less frequently, and only with mild soap.
- Using thicker moisturizing cream, and applying cream while hands are damp after washing.
- Wearing gloves when washing dishes or cleaning house.
Individuals who are prone to dry skin, or who have a chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, may benefit from emollient-type moisturizer. This thicker formulation is especially useful for nighttime application, and may be complemented by wearing cotton gloves overnight.
Chronic inflammation is an unnecessary pain. If your hands are already showing signs of irritation, call us. We can help you develop a care plan for healthy skin. (832) 770-6388.
Holiday Food Choices and Your Skin
This holiday season, like every other, we look forward to festivities with friends and family. Most of the gatherings we go to will have a fair amount of food, which means we will be forever tempted to indulge in delicious holiday goodies. As you attend one holiday bash after another, or make food choices during the hectic bustle of shopping and home life and work, you might think about the effects the food you eat may have on your waistline. However, there are also several common holiday foods that could affect your skin. Here, we will separate the good from the bad.
- Pumpkin. We hate to say it, but this does not include a daily pumpkin spice latte. Real pumpkin contains zinc, vitamins, and nutrients that benefit the skin. For example, the vitamin C in pumpkin fights free radicals that can cause premature aging. The carotenoids that give pumpkin its beautiful color give your skin a healthy dose of nourishment that can reverse UV damage.
- Cranberries. This tiny, tasty fruit also contains substantial amounts of vitamin C. In addition to warding off premature aging with antioxidants, the vitamin C in cranberries and other fruits support healthy collagen production.
- Coffee. According to recent research, you need not feel bad for indulging in an extra cup of caffeinated coffee. Just one cup a day of this beverage, due to the components of coffee beans, has been shown to reduce a person's risk of skin cancer (nonmelanoma) by 10%. Caffeinated tea provides similar benefits!
- Cocoa. As if we needed a reason to revel in a rich cup of cocoa, research shows that the epicatechin, a flavonoid in cocoa increases circulation to the skin, thus improving texture. Red wine also contains this skin-nourishing ingredient!
- Alcohol. A glass or two of wine or a few cocktails at that holiday party probably won't harm your skin. However, be sure to hydrate, because alcohol can deplete the entire body of water, which is necessary for smooth, healthy skin. The more alcoholic beverages that are consumed, the more the tiny blood vessels beneath the skin dilate, causing a flushed appearance that may linger.
- Full-fat eggnog. The dairy in this popular holiday beverage may exacerbate acne due to its likelihood to increase oil production.
- Cookies, candy, and other sweet treats. Holiday goodies that are made with white flour and refined sugar can accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Sugar is also a factor in acne breakouts.
Acclaim Dermatology in Sugar Land offers a variety of services to help you keep a beautiful glow throughout the holiday season and beyond. Call (832) 770-6388 to schedule your consultation.
Is it Really Necessary to do a Fall Change up for your Skin?
We've seen it coming for months, and many of us are welcoming the entrance of Fall with open arms. Who isn't ready for cooler nights, colorful leaves falling, and the reminder of how good it can be to let things go. Oh, and let's not forget that yummy Pumpkin Spice Latte! But back to letting things go. Knowing just where to go to buy a cozy sweater or warm cup of cider is one thing. Knowing what may be going on with your skin as the seasons change is another. So let's take a look!
The colder weather of fall is oh, so drying to your skin. As the weather continues to cool down, it is a great time to ditch the bar soap and reach for something kinder and gentler, such as a shower gel loaded with moisturizing ingredients.
It's really sensitive
Something happens to your skin as the temperature drops - it becomes increasingly susceptible to environmental factors. Sometimes, it just needs a break. You can do this by giving its lipid barrier a boost. Also, other than at the hands of your dermatologist, avoid harsh acids or scrubs during this time of year. Severe exfoliation could prove too irritating for delicate skin. When you offer up a little extra TLC, your skin can focus on important tasks like remodeling collagen.
It's in shock
The long, hot days of summer have really done a number on your skin, even if you didn't spend your days shaking and baking at the beach. As we settle in to Fall, you may start to notice the signs of sun damage, such as small brown spots here and there, or a muddled appearance. To renew and repair the damage of summer, add retinoid products to your skin care regimen. The regular use of Retin-A or even a commercial retinol product will work to smooth lines and restore vibrancy.
Another way that summer's aftershock is noticed is in the size of your pores. When it's hot out, more oil is produced by the sebaceous glands. The oil joins with keratin, dirt, and possibly bacteria, which causes the pores to stretch and enlarge. This effect of summer is exacerbated by weakness in the skin caused by UVA rays, which deplete collagen and elastin. To service your pores, reach for gentle products with salicylic acid.
Do you want something extra special to pamper your skin this Fall? Call Acclaim Dermatology at (832) 770-6388!