Protecting Your Skin in Hash Weather

Health & Beauty

32

Among my favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway. I will always remember a bit of advice he once gave to novice writers. He said that when you begin to write always start with a simple, true, declarative statement. Taking his advice, I will declare that most women are concerned enough about their appearance to spend some time and money on skincare. They also are interested in receiving information on the latest research on aging as well as reminders of basic care. Therefore, I believe much of the best advice on skin care bears repeating.

We are beginning what is often the harshest weather month of the year in West Texas. March is, for the most part, very dry and very windy. Often sand and dust particles are in the air. These are certainly not the conditions which are conducive to maintaining a lovely, dewy complexion. Add on our lack of humidity plus a relentless abundance of bright sunlight and you have the formula for major skin damage. Damaged skin becomes weathered, lined, and blotchy.

Nevertheless, do not despair, because in the last two decades or so there have been many breakthroughs in our understanding of the causes of skin damage and the creation of effective  products to both prevent and treat it. First and foremost, there currently seems to be almost universal agreement among dermatologists that the greatest culprit in damaged skin is the sun. Skin that is not protected from frequent exposure to the sun becomes prematurely aged. Look at parts of your body that are not exposed to the sun. Unless you are very young, there will be a marked difference. Unexposed areas will generally be smoother and more even in tone—-younger in appearance. Certainly West Texans cannot avoid sun exposure; however, there are many ways to minimize the damage.

 

The first line of defense is by wearing protective clothing like long sleeves, wide brimmed hats, and sunglasses The problem is that many of us aren’t willing to go to such lengths to achieve protection. Luckily broad spectrum sun screen of at least 30SPF over all exposed areas of our bodies is a precaution almost everyone can and should take. The sun screen should be applied to face, neck, and all of the body that will be receiving direct sunlight.  Remember though, sun screen must be frequently and liberally reapplied, especially if you are around water or participating in activities where you perspire.  It is also important to choose when you are out; the sun is strongest between 10:00 and 4:00. Therefore, try to get in your daily walk or run early in the morning or late in the evening. When near water the reflection intensifies the sun’s power to damage your skin. Sunlight is also harmful to our eyes and is strongly linked to cataracts.

Smooth healthy skin is, for the most part, the result of good care. Interestingly enough, while keeping   our faces and our bodies clean is a priority, soap and hot water are not wise choices. Instead use soap-less cleanser and warm water.  The Rodan and Fields line of skincare that I am a consultant for incorporates multi-med therapy. The doctors stress the use of a cleansing mask which provides a mild granular exfoliation to remove dead skin and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture barriers as soaps do. Following the cleanser, a non-alcoholic liquid toner serves to tighten and firm fresh clean skin. (Alcohol found in many skin products is not good for the skin and dries it.) Finally treat your skin to deep hydration, ideally containing a derivative of Retin-A and peptides. The best and most convenient moistures now also incorporate a concentration of broad spectrum sun screen of at least a 30SPF. Last, but of importance, is to always apply a thin layer of moisturizing eye cream. Encircle the eye; covering both the upper and lower lids.

Once you establish a good skin care routine you will probably be so much happier with the appearance and the feel of your skin that you will not want to deviate from it. Remember your neck is treated the same as your face. The rest of your body responds to cleansers that do not contain soap, creams which provide rich hydration, and broad spectrum sun screen of at least an SPF of 30.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. And remember to always smile as a smile is an instant face lift.

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