As we start to say goodbye to summer and head into the cooler months, the weather change impacts our skin. We may notice changes to texture, tone, perhaps some breakouts, and over all ruddiness and damage from being outside enjoying the summer. Here are some of the most common post summer skin issues I see in my practice along with some solutions for them.
1. Sunspots and wrinkles.
Days at the beach or pool can lead to sunspots even if you apply sunscreen. We cannot reach every spot and sometimes we forget to reapply after swimming. Also, even when wearing polarized sunglasses, we may put them on our heads; temporarily squinting leading to crow’s feet.
If you’re noticing some new spots, freckles and wrinkles reach for a retinoid. Your dermatologist can offer prescription strength creams. Deeper wrinkles like the ones between the eyes usually require something like Botox but you can minimize the appearance with creams that feature glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid. These are wonder vitamins for the skin stimulate skin shedding and cellular turn over. A serum used at night will help; but be patient and use it regularly to see a gradual change. Chemical peels and intense light treatments (IPL) can handle any discoloration.
2. Clogged pores and dullness.
During the summertime, we perspire plus we are exposed to daily pollution in the air. When you combine these factors plus daily use of make-up, pores get clogged. Beneath the skin are our sebaceous glands which secrete an oil called sebum. Sebum sticks to dead skin cells like glue and funnels these dead skin cells through the pores. This is a process that is supposed to help you maintain healthy skin.
The problem is when the weather and elements speed up the process pores become clogged. The dead skin cells get trapped along with bacteria and this leads to dull, ruddy skin with breakouts. An exfoliating face wash with glycolic acid or salicylic acid helps tremendously. Your dermatologist can create a skin care regimen based on your specific skin type and issues so you don’t deregulate pH levels in the skin which will only make things worse leading to…
3. Acne flare ups.
Consistent heat and humidity combined with cell phone use and touching our faces after touching dirty surfaces, leads to a post-summer breakout. These breakouts can be cystic which means bigger, deeper, more painful pimples. It also can lead to a cycle of breakouts that include, treat, pick, peel, scar, and heal only to see another pimple and another. Over the counter acne treatments such as face washes with sulfur, black charcoal masks and soaps, spot treatments with benzoyl peroxide can certainly help. However, when the breakouts are consistent a dermatologist can assess your skin and present solutions that may even involve nutritional changes, vitamins and light therapy for mild or moderate acne.
4. Dry lips.
We all know about winter time lip chapping. In the summer lips can get incredibly dry. Using a lip balm with SPF is very helpful but unless we are applying it regularly while at the beach, pool, or working out outdoors, one swipe under lip gloss isn’t enough. Drinking water, and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum helps keep us hydrated. When we are dehydrated, we see it on our lips. Pay close attention to any freckles or discoloration to the lips after prolonged sun exposure. If you see any odd changes, see your dermatologist.
5. Ashy, flaky, itchy, skin.
If you are often in chlorine or salt water you’ll find your skin to feel rough and dry almost as if it is shedding. Also, going from extreme heat to cool air conditioning leads to skin going from perspiration to goosebumps. This rapid drop in temperature affects skin. Taking luke-warm showers and using a gentle exfoliating skin wash followed by a hydrating moisturizer keeps skin supple. Add a few drops of vitamin E to your lotion for added nourishment.
When it comes to the face, peeling foreheads and noses points to sun damage. Oftentimes people wait until something is visible to them or when an is followed by a dry patch. Dermatologists can look at things with a more discerning eye plus magnifiers that enable them to flag something that could escalate into something more. If everyone put October on their calendars as the month to see a dermatologist for a skin check we would see many skin conditions be solved quicker. This includes melanomas.