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Over the past three decades, more people have died from skin cancer than all other types of cancer combined. It is estimated that 9,730 deaths will be attributed to melanoma in 2017 alone. We all know how important it is to protect our skin while outside — whether on a hike or lounging by the pool — but do we know how safe our skin is while traveling in a car? While it is rare to get sunburn through automotive windows, harmful UV rays can still reach those on the inside.
One way to protect your skin while in a car is to apply window film to your vehicle’s windows. Every state has laws to dictate how much tinting is allowed on each window of a car.
The following chart, provided by our friends at Rayno Window Film, makes it easy to understand the state-by-state window tinting laws and regulations, and can assist you with applying window tinting to your car to help reduce sun exposure.
Many consumers don't stop to think about the products they use every day. Unfortunately, many consumer products, from make-up to cleaning supplies to plastic food containers, contain substances that can be harmful. Absorbing harmful chemicals through skin contact can be even worse than ingesting them, because when you ingest them, at least you have the enzymes in your digestive system to break them down.
An FDA survey found that up to 25% of people have had a skin reaction to a skincare or beauty product. Allergic or irritated reactions to these products can cause redness, swelling, hives, itching, and other effects. Everyone finds different ingredients to be allergenic for them, but three of the most common are parabens, formaldehyde, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Virtually every personal care product that contains water will have some type of preservative in it as well. Parabens have been used as a preservative in personal care products since the 1950s. The most common products to contain parabens include lotions, make-up, shaving cream, and hair care products. Unfortunately, parabens can cause allergic reactions for some people. Furthermore, parabens are thought by some to act as endocrine disruptors. What this means is that parabens act like estrogens in the body. This could affect fertility, hormone balance, and risk of breast cancer.
Formaldehyde is a substance found in tiny amounts in humans, plants, and animals. However, in larger amounts, it can be very harmful. The FDA has found that nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains this carcinogen. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry has stated that formaldehyde exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, upper respiratory tract, and skin. Even very low concentrations of formaldehyde have been known to cause allergenic symptoms.
Nearly all nail polishes contain notable amounts of formaldehyde, as well as Brazilian blowout treatments. However, product labels do not always list formaldehyde, even if there is formaldehyde in the product. This is because some manufacturers use "formaldehyde releasers". There are chemicals that, when you add them to water, decompose slowly to form formaldehyde molecules. Formaldehyde releasers include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, and Hydroxymethylglycinate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent. Therefore, it's found in a majority of commercially available soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. Although it is effective for creating lather and for cleaning, it's also extremely harsh and irritating. Sodium lauryl sulfate can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and hair.
Using non-irritating, hypoallergenic products can make a world of difference to your skin's health. When your skin isn't irritated or stripped of its natural moisture, it can function properly and have a healthy glow. Consider making a switch to more natural products such as the following:
Most beauty fans will have a skincare routine they adhere to in order to keep their complexion looking radiant, but a few common mistakes could mean you're inadvertently making your skin prone to breakouts. From exfoliating too much to forgetting to remove make-up before a workout, here are the eight most common skincare mistakes.
Not Removing Make-up Before Hitting the Gym
If you're exercising with a full face of make-up, you risk clogging the pores up with your products, especially as you wipe away sweat with your hands and fingers. Even if make-up is 'non-clogging', it can become irritating to the skin when mixed with the salt of sweat and eventually cause breakouts. Use make-up removing wipes for a quick solution before you hit the treadmill.
Waiting Too Long to Tone and Moisturize after Cleansing
If you leave your skin bare for more than 60 seconds after cleansing, you risk dehydrating your complexion as the air sucks the moisture. Try and immediately use an alcohol-free toner and moisturizer, and leave your toner still slightly damp on the skin to keep it protected.
Exfoliating Too Much
While there's no doubt that exfoliation can do wonders for a flawless complexion, too much can have an adverse effect. If you over-exfoliate you actually end up removing your skin's protective barrier, exposing it to the sun damage and bacteria. Try to exfoliate a maximum of two or three times a week.
Forgetting to Remove Make-up before Bed
It's often hailed as the golden rule of skincare, and for a reason. The products begin to clog your pore and oil glands, making them appear larger – plus this can also lead to inflammation. Make sure to wash your face before bed each night to keep your skin looking radiant and healthy.
Only Wearing SPF Products in Summer
UV rays are present all year round and as they travel through glass, you expose your skin even when you're driving in your car or sitting inside near a window. These damaging rays can damage the skin and cause wrinkles, so it's best to wear SPF products every day to protect yourself.
Having Very Hot Showers
Hot water can strip your skin of essential moistures and natural, healthy oils. Instead turn your heat setting to warm so you can avoid damaging your skin.
Not Washing your Pillowcases Regularly Enough
If you go to bed wearing face creams, with wet hair, or with product in your hair, this rubs onto the pillowcase and is then transferred back into your skin as you sleep for the eight following hours, clogging up your pores with bacteria. Change your pillow case at least once a week and wash them in hot water.
Not Treating Blemishes Properly
If you're prone to acne and breakouts, one of the biggest don'ts is to pick at the spots, as you break down the follicle wall and allow bacteria to spread. If you over-wash your face in a bid to cleanse the skin, you also risk removing the oils prompting your skin to produce more oil to compensate, which can actually make the breakout worse.
Here's advice from the pros on how to protect and maintain healthy skin.
Pour on the Protection
To ensure she layers on enough sunscreen ("the best way to keep skin youthful"), Garland, TX-based dermatologist Lisa Garner, MD, president of the Women's Dermatologic Society, fills the hollow of her palm (about ½ teaspoon) with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to coat her face, neck, and ears. "I usually have to apply two coats to finish what I've squeezed out, but that's how I make sure I'm covered."
Eat a Skin-Saving Breakfast
The first meal of the day for New York City derm Doris Day, MD, includes almonds. "They contain essential fatty acids, which help put the brakes on inflammation that accelerates fine lines, sagging, and blotchiness." Not feeling like a nut? Salmon, tuna, and halibut are good lunch/dinner sources.
Zen Your Skin
If anyone has stress, it's doctors. High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. "Controlling stress keeps your skin calm—but that's easier said than done," says Annie Chiu, MD, a derm in LA. Taking a 10-minute time-out to apply a face mask and relax on her bed works for Chiu. Another trick: Ban the 'Berry. "I turn off my cell phone after 8 at night. Every little bit helps!" she says.
Develop a Bedside Manner
"I often find it difficult to stick to my anti-aging regimen at bedtime," says Francesca Fusco, MD, an NYC derm. To avoid missing her evening routine, she stores these products in a pretty skincare case she keeps on her nightstand. "So if I've forgotten—or was just too tired to apply products at the sink—I can do it easily while in bed." Her must-haves: Renova (an Rx retinoid), EpiCeram (an ultrahydrating Rx moisturizer), SCO lip balm, Earth to Skin Care Cracked Heel Renewal, Creative Nail Design Solar oil (to soften cuticles), and Listerine White Strips.
Wear Your Veggies
Frozen peas help soothe itchy, irritated eyes for Jeanine Downie, MD, a derm in Montclair, NJ. "Once I get home from work, I remove my skincare and put a bag of frozen peas on my lids for about 5 minutes." The cold helps reduce swelling and pigmentation, a side effect of repeated irritation from her eczema. Unlike inflexible ice packs, a bag of peas easily conforms to the shape of the eyes for a faster effect.
Strike a Pose
Most derms will bend over back-ward for great skin. Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC-area dermatologist, bends forward. Yoga moves "like Child's Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation—the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow." Another reason to take to the mat: New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging.
Diet soda is a vice that Audrey Kunin, MD, a Kansas City, MO, dermatologist, just can't quit—she downs up to six cans a day. When she realized that all the sodium in soda (anywhere from 25 to 50 mg per can) made her eyes and jawline puffy, she switched to a brand that doesn't punish her skin: sodium-free Diet Rite soda. "It satisfies my cravings and my skin looks much better."
Cut Back on the Sweet Stuff
The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains; they're naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen.
Pump Iron to Plump Skin
"I am religious about strength-training, and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older," says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. The payoff: firmer skin from the neck down, the result of having better, more supportive muscle tone. "It's like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body," says Farris.
In her teens, Amy Wechsler, MD, an NYC derm, started drinking green and black tea for the taste. Now she drinks three to five cups a day to safeguard her skin. Research suggests that both types of tea contain protective compounds—like EGCG and theaflavins—that help prevent skin cancers and the breakdown of collagen, the cause of wrinkles.
Myth #1: A suntan's fine, as long as you don't burn.
Reality: While even one sunburn may double the chance of eventually developing melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer), your kids are still at risk even if they never burn. "The more sun you get, the more likely you are to develop certain skin cancers," says Martin Weinstock, M.D., chairman of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Skin Cancer Advisory Group, no matter what your skin tone. "Any tan indicates damage to your skin."
Myth #2: A beach umbrella blocks the sun.
Reality: Sand reflects 17 percent of UV radiation, so you're still exposed, says Dr. Weinstock. Nevertheless, it's smart to stay in the shade when the sun's rays are high; just make sure you're also slathered with sunscreen.
Myth #3: Sun can't penetrate through windows.
Reality: Glass filters out only one kind of radiation -- UVB rays. But UVA rays, which penetrate deeper, can still get through. That's why many adults have more freckles on their left side than their right -- it's from UV exposure on that side through the car window when driving.
To protect yourself, apply sunscreen to any exposed areas (like your hands, forearms, and face) before getting into your car, especially in the spring and summer months, says Anthony Mancini, M.D., head of pediatric dermatology at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. If you're buying a new car, consider one with tinted windows, which keep out almost four times more UVA light than regular ones.
You don't need to worry about putting on sunscreen when indoors unless you or your child spends most of your time near a window (for example, if your child's desk is right next to one).
Myth #4: Too much sunscreen causes vitamin D deficiency.
Reality: You may have read that extra exposure to sunshine is needed to help your body make vitamin D. But according to the ACS, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), both kids and adults get plenty of this nutrient through multivitamins, vitamin D-rich foods (like milk and fortified orange juice), and everyday sun exposure. Also, even if you're wearing sunscreen, small amounts of UV rays still penetrate your skin, and that's more than enough to help your body produce vitamin D.
Myth #5: If it's cool or cloudy outside, you don't need sunscreen.
Reality: According to the Skin Cancer Foundataion, up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds. This is the reason people often end up with serious sunburns on overcast days if they've spent time outside with no sun protection. Even in the winter months, you need to beware: Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, increasing exposure. This is especially true if your family's on a ski vacation-- the higher your altitude, the greater your UV exposure.
Myth #6: Eighty percent of sun damage occurs before the age of 18.
Reality: Contrary to previous estimates, recent studies show that we get less than 25 percent of our total lifetime sun exposure before age 18. That means you get the majority of it later on. So while you absolutely should be vigilant about protecting your kids, make sure you take care of yourself, too. While 83 percent of parents arm their kids with sunscreen and protective clothing whenever they're outdoors, only two-thirds practice what they preach, according to a 2005 AAD survey. "Remember, kids don't always pay attention to what you say -- it's more about what you do," says Dr. Weinstock. "If you're making them wear sunscreen but baking yourself, you're sending them a mixed message they may carry into adulthood."
Myth #7: People of color do not get skin cancer
Reality: People of color are less likely to develop skin cancer than Caucasians, but they have a higher risk of dying from it. A very dangerous and fast-spreading skin cancer known as acral lentiginous melanoma is more common among darker-skinned people and may appear as a suspicious growth in the mucous membranes, under the nails, or on the palms or soles of the feet.
Insect repellants affect sunscreen SPF
Insect Repellants reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to 1/3. When using a combination, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
Sunburns increase your skin cancer risk
Over exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can result in sunburns which increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Therefore, check your local UV Index which provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. The UV Index forecast is issued each afternoon by the National Weather Service and EPA.
Sun's UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm
Seek the shade whenever possible! The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so remember the shadow rule when in the sun: If your shadow is short it’s time to abort and seek the shade.
Choose the right sunglasses
Don’t be deceived by color or cost of Sunglasses! The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. While both plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, UV absorption is improved by adding certain chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or by applying special lens coatings. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels will say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same thing as 100% UV absorption.
Protect your skin all year long
Sunburn doesn’t only happen during the summer! Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Protect yourself year round by using sunscreen with protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and an SPF of 15 or greater. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin whenever possible
Skin care and sun safety is as important in winter as it is in summer. You can still get a sunburn on an overcast day because 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through the clouds. UV rays are invisible and UVB rays are the primary cause of sun burning, premature aging of the skin, and the development of skin cancer.
If you are planning on hitting the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding, it is even more important to cover up and wear sunscreen because snow acts like a mirror and bounces UV rays up towards your face.
Did you know:
Source: University of Utah Health Care
Hopefully, the tips in Part 1 has helped your skin and hair remain healthy during this chilly and dry winter. Here are some more tips to help you through the winter and into the new year!
A dried-out scalp produces fewer oils, which can make hair full of static. Don't skimp on conditioner, and simulate natural scalp oils by combing a bit of vitamin E oil through the hair before bed to replenish moisture. Need a quick fix? Run a bit of lotion through strands or run an unscented dryer sheet (really) over the hair before heading out the door.
During the winter, stick to cotton hats (which conduct much less static electricity than acrylic and wool).
Keeping a tube of lip balm in an easily accessible pocket is a good first step, but winter winds can take chapped lips to a whole new level. If lips are flaky, take a clean toothbrush and very gently exfoliate the skin to remove excess skin. Slather on beeswax or a lip balm with lanolin (a natural oily wax extracted from sheep's wool!) and keep reapplying throughout the day.
For seriously dry lips, apply honey or Vaseline to the lips for 15 minutes and then remove with a cotton swab dipped in hot water.
Dry air saps the moisture right out of nails and leaves them delicate and susceptible to breaks and tears. Consider adding biotin-rich foods (also called Vitamin B7) to your diet - this essential vitamin helps the body process amino acids and produce fatty acids. Vegetables (including carrots and Swiss chard) and protein sources including nuts and fish are good ways to pack in enough of the vitamin.
The skin over high-pressure joints like elbows, knees, and heels is thicker to cushion the essential bones underneath. It's great to have some extra padding, but ashy, scaly elbows are uncomfortable and unattractive. The key to keeping elbows (and other rough spots) soft is to exfoliate once or twice per week and moisturize every day.
Dry Face / Windburn
First thing's first: During winter, avoid any face products with alcohol, and switch to a milder face wash and a thicker moisturizer. Another good option? Whole grains and aromatic veggies contain selenium, a compound that gives skin the elasticity to make silly faces. Snack on quinoa, brown rice, onions, or garlic when skin gets tight and dry.
Protect sensitive skin by layering on thick face cream with a high SPF - the only thing worse than windburn is winter sunburn. When heading into the great outdoors, dress for the weather with a hat, scarf, and gloves to avoid windburn and prolonged exposure to cold air.
It’s wintertime and the livin’ ain’t easy—for our hair, skin, and nails, that is. Whipping winds, dry air, and chilly temperatures can really do a number on soft skin and hair. Cold air outside and central heat indoors can strip moisture from strands and pores, making hair rough and skin itchy and dry.
Skin isn’t only the barrier between the environment and our insides—it’s a living organ that’s responsible for keeping the body cool, protecting it against germs and “invaders,” and many other metabolic processes. It’s important to keep these tissues in good condition and working well all year long so they can do their jobs and keep us healthy and safe. Cracked, flaky, irritated, or inflamed skin is normal during winter, though it’s not exactly fun.
A 20-minute long, boiling-hot shower might feel great on a cold day, but stick to warm or lukewarm water for 10 minutes or less. Long exposure to hot water can strip moisture from hair and skin. Slathering on lotion within three minutes of stepping out of the bath or shower is most effective for trapping in moisture.
Load up on vitamin C-rich produce like citrus fruit and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C can help boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that maintains skin and other connective tissues. And don't forget to drink plenty of water.
To prevent hands from drying out, apply moisturizer after hand washing and at least several times throughout the day. Keep a bottle of lotion by each sink in your home and in your desk at work. If hands are very dry, use cream instead of lotion because the former has a higher oil-to-water ratio.
Wearing rubber gloves while washing dishes can prevent hands from getting dried out due to excess contact with hot water, too.
Irritated, Dry Eyes
Wind and dry air are not a good combination for sensitive eyes. Sporting sunnies on a sub-zero day might look weird, but the lenses can protect eyes from glare and wind. Keep a bottle of non-medicated saline tears or eye drops on hand and use it to refresh eye moisture when needed.
Avoid eye drops like Visine, which causes blood vessels in the eye to contract, giving the illusion you 'got the red out.' Instead, use a lubricant such as Systane Eye Drops or Blink Tears.
When outdoors in cold weather, the blood vessels cut off circulation to the nose. After coming indoors the blood vessels dilate quickly, causing a rush of blood (and bright-red color). To bring the nose back to a normal hue, apply a warm—but not hot—compress to the skin for several minutes after coming indoors. Sometimes a winter cold and the tissues that come with it can make the nose raw and chapped, too.
When the sniffles hit, use extra-soft tissues and blot the nose; don’t rub it. Apply a thin layer of moisturizing ointment or lotion to the sensitive area throughout the day.
Rough, Cracked Feet
Scrub calluses with a pumice stone in the shower once per week to slough off rough, dead skin. Moisturize feet, especially the heels, every day with thick cream—lotions containing lactic acid are especially effective—and wear cotton socks to bed.
It may look nerdy, but sporting socks while snoozing can help creams absorb. Warmer feet means sweatier feet (ick), and moisturizers are most effective when applied to warm, damp skin.
Itchy Dry Scalp
Take cooler, quicker showers to reduce the scalp’s exposure to drying hot water. Think about switching to a dandruff or dry scalp specific shampoo. Before hopping in the shower, massage the scalp with Vitamin E, olive, or coconut oil. These oils replenish natural scalp oilsand can moisturize dry hair, too
Photographer Thomas Leveritt is hoping his video will help shed light on the importance of sunscreen and it seems to be having an effect.
The video shows how skin appears when viewed under ultraviolet lights. The difference is like night and day. People of diverse races are seen approaching the camera and then standing to be viewed. Many of them gasp to see the appearance of their skin under the UV light, which shows the appearance of the skin beyond what can be seen by the naked eye.
Also compelling is what happens when people apply sunscreen to their faces. The portion of skin that’s covered by the lotion appears under the UV as solid black streaks. Levitt says this shows that sunscreen can indeed block UV rays.
Here are some skin cancer prevention tips that doctors swear by.
Use Sunscreen Correctly
“Choose a sunscreen labeled SPF 30 or more, and includes the words Broad Spectrum and Water Resistant. Re-apply every two hours or after you swim or sweat. Apply sunscreen liberally. It takes approximately 1 ounce (a shot glass) to cover an adult.”
— Timothy Wang, MD, dermatologist for the Melanoma Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Know What Works and When
“You should wear sunscreen even when driving in the car as window glass only blocks UVB light, not UVA. And UVA light is also associated with skin cancer and as well as skin thinning. The sunscreen in makeup can’t be relied on, as it is typically lower in SPF than claimed by the manufacturer and wears off easily.“
— Bruce E. Katz, M.D. Clinical Professor and Director of the Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Monitor Your Skin
“Be aware of your skin and regularly look for any changes, including new skin spots or moles, or changes in the size, shape or color of existing spots or moles. Take any concerns to your doctor for an evaluation. Have your skin examined annually by a dermatologist to check for signs of skin cancer.”
— Mary K. Tripp, Ph.D., M.P.H., The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Instructor of Behavioral Science
Source: ABC News, Good Morning America
It's important to remember that for your healthiest, most vibrant skin, you must nurture it from the inside out. Here are 5 habits you can follow to help your skin be more radiant.
1. Protect your skin from the sun
Too much sun can make your skin age faster, cause sunburn and even lead to cancer. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, although SPF 30 is highly recommended. Also, wear a hat that covers the face and clothing made of cotton that covers the skin completely.
2. Maintain a proper diet and stay properly hydrated
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and beans. Many healthy foods have antioxidants, which boost skin, hair, and nail growth. Some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.
Make water your first choice of drink. The old adage of 8 glasses a day is no longer true. The basic equation for determining the minimum of water your body needs a day is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would need 75 ounces of water per day. If you are outdoors a great deal, exercise, or doing any other strenuous activity, you'll need to intake more water.
3. Don't smoke
Smoking takes away oxygen and nutrients from the skin. It can cause and worsen loose, sagging skin, wrinkles and age spots. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity.
4. Get the beauty of sleep
Your skin replenishes itself while you sleep. When you don't get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Exercise increases blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the skin. Aim to be physically active 30 minutes a day for most days of the week. Take a nice long walk walk or light jog after dinner. Remember to stay hydrated.
Researchers at the McMaster University in Ontario found that after age 40, the men and women who exercised frequently had markedly thinner, healthier stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. Their skin was much closer in composition to that of the 20- and 30-year-olds than to that of others of their age, even if they were past age 65.
The first line of defense against skin cancer starts with you. You can catch skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin.
Click here to download a body mole map to document your self-examination and know what to look for when checking your spots. The Body Mole Map comes courtesy from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) SPOT Skin Cancer website.
When self-examining your skin, keep in mind the ABCDE's of melanoma.
A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.
B = Border
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D = Diameter
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E = Evolving
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
As winter approaches, our skin is prone to reaching peak dryness. Cold temperatures combined with dry indoor heat and dehydrating long, hot showers zaps the moisture out of our skin quicker than normal.
“We try getting in a hot, steamy shower to get a little moisture, and don't realize that the water itself actually takes water out of us by osmosis," explains Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. "Not only that, the heat and water strip our natural moisturizing oils out of our skin. Then we get out of the shower, and that last bit of dampness evaporating away dries us out even more."
Here are some tips to protect and keep our skin healthy during the dry winter months.
Take Shorter Showers
Hot, long showers strip our skin of its natural moisturizing oils, so it is best to take shorter showers (5-10 minutes) with a warm water temperature. After you get out of the shower, gently pat your skin dry. Rubbing your skin with a towel robs your skin of moisture and precious oils.
Moisturizer: Choose Cream Over Lotion
Choose a moisturizer cream that is thick and fragrance-free instead of watery lotion. A proper moisturizer will lock and seal in moisture, providing protection for our skin to heal.
It is best to apply moisturizer within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower. Use the SunBuddy - Back Lotion Applicator to apply moisturizer to those hard-to-reach areas of your back.
Windy, cold weather and overheated houses zap moisture from our skin, so drinking more water than you want to will help replenish the water you are losing.
Not to mention, our skin is our body’s biggest organ, so keeping it properly hydrated will give you a radiant, healthy, and younger looking complexion.
Skip the Perfume / Colonge
The chemicals in your perfume may irritate your dry, sensitive skin. Also, the alcohol content will strip oils from your skin, drying it out.
Apply Lip Balm and Hand Cream Often
Don’t forget that our lips need protection too and are prone to premature aging and skin cancer! Using lip balm with a SPF of at least 30 will keep them soft and supple.
Don’t skimp on washing your hands, as it is important to remove harmful bacteria and viruses. Use hand cream after each wash to retain much-needed moisture and to reduce skin cracks.
No Loose Powder Sunscreens
Loose powder sunscreens such in the form of mineral makeup are designed to be applied on the face and scalp. Although they contain zinc and titanium particles that offer strong UV protection, it is difficult for users to judge if they are applying a thick and even coat.
But the bigger problem is inhaling the tiny zinc and titanium particles. Based on studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, inhaled titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” FDA’s current rules no longer allow loose powers to advertise an SPF or make claims of sun protection. But the FDA granted small companies until the end of December 2013 to remove their powders from the market. Be on the lookout and avoid loose powder sunscreens.
No Spray Sunscreens
Although ever so convenient, like loose powdered sunscreen, there is a growing concern that these sprays pose serious inhalation risks. Although the FDA has expressed concern about the safety of spray sunscreens and are currently researching into inhalation risks, companies continue to turn them out.
If you must run spray sunscreen, it is best to spray it on your hands and then rub the sunscreen onto your skin. But that basically defeats the purpose of using a spray-on product, so you’re better off with using lotion-based sunscreen.
No Sunscreen Towelettes
The FDA ended the sale of sunscreen wipes and towelettes, but these can still be purchased online and some are even marketed as safe for babies. The biggest concern is that these towelettes do not get enough sunscreen on your skin to ensure sun protection. This is another example where the convenience is not worth the risk.
No Combined Sunscreen/Bug Repellents
“Studies shown that combining sunscreen with DEET caused the skin to absorb insect repellent more than three times faster than when used alone”, according to WebMD. Also, you’ll need to reapply sunscreen more often than bug repellent, so using a product that combines both is not a good idea. Luckily, bugs are typically not a problem during the hours when UV exposure peaks, so skip these combination products.
Keep In Mind
As summer ends and fall begins, it is essential to not forget that UV rays can damage your skin yearlong. Overcast clouds may block out sunshine, but the UV rays still get through and many times, we let our guard down believing dark skies equals less UV exposure.
Keeping your lips healthy is important year-round. We often take our lips for granted even though they play a crucial role in our speech and for identifying different types of food.
Lip cancer is a malignant tumor, or neoplasm, that originates in the surface layer cells in the upper or lower lip. Nine out of ten cases of lip cancer are diagnosed in people over age 45. As the cells in our lips get older, they lose some of its ability to repair itself. This breakdown in the repair system combined with damaging UV rays from sunlight allows for the uncontrolled growth of cells.
If a part of the lip is affected by cancer and must be removed by surgery, there will be significant changes to one’s eating ability and speech function. Men are at a greater risk for lip cancer than women, sometimes two to three times more likely. Also, fair-skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer than those with dark skin.
Here are some tips for keeping your lips healthy, soft, and sun safe.
Use Lip Balm to Moisturize and Protect
Since your lips are exposed to the sun every day, they are highly susceptible to disfiguring and to developing skin cancer. Use lip balm or lipstick with a SPF 15 or higher. Keep in mind that your lower lip receives the most direct sunlight.
Much like sunscreen use recommendations, remember to reapply lip protection every two hours. Reapply more often if you have been eating or drinking.
Unlike the rest of your skin, lips do not contain oil glands and therefore tend to dry out and become chapped easily. Drink lots of water to hydrate your lips and avoiding licking them, which actually saps moisture.
Sunburns can be tricky to avoid. After a long day in the sun, you can still end up with painful, lobster red sunburn despite your best efforts to protect your skin with sunscreen.
Most of the time, sunburns are mild first-degree burns on your outer layer of skin that turn red. With second-degree sunburns, the more severe type, your skin is red, painful and blistering. Fortunately, these two types of sunburns can be treated at home but if you are experiencing more serious problems, seek professional medical help.
Typically, sunburn symptoms continue to worsen during the first 24 to 36 hours after the sunburn. There are times where your sunburn does not show up until hours after you’ve gone back indoors or left the beach.
After 3 to 5 days, sunburns will begin to go away. However, it may take 3 to 6 months for your skin to fully repair and return to normal.
Here are some natural remedies for treating sunburns:
Your skin is inflamed after being sunburnt. Soak a towel or t-shirt in either cold water from the faucet or iced water and slip it on or lay it over the burn. Repeat every few minutes and apply several times a day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes each time. Cold compresses will cool down your inflamed skin and help reduce the swelling. Besides just cold water, you can use common kitchen foods too. Believe it or not, oatmeal is very effective. Wrap dry oatmeal in a cloth and run water through it. Discard the oatmeal and cold compress in the liquid. Also, cold compressing with a combination of 1 cup of fat-free milk with 4 cups of iced water works too.
Avoid soapy water and bubble baths. Soap will strip out moisture from your skin and further dry and irritate your burned skin. If you must use soap, use a mild brand and rinse if off very well. If you are really hurting and wish to take a bath, try an oatmeal bath or baking soda bath. Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is made from oatmeal. Alternatively, you can grid a cup of oatmeal and sprinkle it into a tub of cool water. Swish the bath water around until it becomes milky. Soak yourself for at least 20 minutes and gently pat yourself dry with a soft towel. If you don’t have oatmeal, sprinkly baking soda into your cool bath, soak for 20 minutes, and then let the solution dry on your skin. Baking soda is nontoxic and will soothe your pain.
Do Not Pop Your Blisters
If you get a blister, you have a more severe case of sunburn. Although very tempting, it is best not to pop your blister. A blister is a bubble under the skin that is usually filled with fluid and form to protect the skin. Popping a blister can lead to an infection and even more irritation and pain.
Your skin loses much moisture from a sunburn and becomes very dry. Thus, it is crucial to aid in the repair process by frequently applying moisturizing cream or lotion. Be sure to not apply so much that your skin cannot breathe. Also apply aloe vera, a natural soothing, anti-inflammatory gel that has been used for thousand of years to treat wounds and burns. For added relief, cool your lotion of aloe vera in the refrigerator before applying to your skin. Hydrate Your skin and body has lost a lot of essential fluids and you may now have a fever or headache. Often times, these are signs of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and eat fruit to combat dehydration. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe
Take It Easy
Stay indoors, avoid the sun, and give your skin time to repair. Wise up and be more sensitive about your sun exposure and protect yourself with sunscreen, hats, and clothing.