Photograph: Irina Patrascu; Art DIrection: The Magazine of Yoga
Combination Skin and Springtime Bumps
Seasons change, and so should your skincare
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST ELIZABETH GOLDBERG, M.D., FAAD
Dr. Goldberg is Director of Urban Dermatology, New York, NY
It seems that I have a ton of men and women coming in my office this time of year complaining of serious combination skin: breakouts and acne, flaky but oily skin. Basically there is a sense of frustration.
I’m not sure if this isn’t because we have had the longest, snowiest winter I can recall in my almost 40 years. Regardless, it is my job to take it all at face value and help my patients achieve clear skin…so let’s get right to it!
The way we treat our skin
There are two things going here and normally I would say take out your pens but since this is online you can bookmark this important information and access it again next winter when you may need it.
First, the air is cold and dry, our apartments are hot and dry, and as a result, our skin is just plain old dry. Many of us are either using anti-aging or anti-acne products that also are drying such as retin-A, salicyclic acid, vitamin C among others.
The key to having beautiful skin year round is to adjust your regimen based upon the season, or really the ambient air temperature and more importantly the humidity.
So the second factor is, a lot of us deal with the cold and dry/hot and dry by slathering on greasy, oil based moisture creams. For many, this does the trick, but for others, breakout is the result and we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of drying acne products layered with oily acne producing products.
So how do we clear it all up?
Let your skin breathe
Like anything else in life, my belief is everything in moderation.
As the winter starts to wane and the spring is just around the corner, I generally recommend the following:
Use a cleanser with alpha or beta hydroxy acids at least a few mornings a week or even every morning if it doesn’t irritate your skin. This will help to chemically exfoliate the dead skin cells off the top in a continual manner.
Often harsh physical exfoliators (i.e. beads) will be irritating to the skin and we end up using more moisturizer to combat the irritation. This is something I try to get my patients to limit to once a week, if at all.
– Separate your moisturizer from your sunscreen. If they are one product for the morning you are forcing yourself to moisturize each time you sunscreen.
The skinny on sunscreens, moisturizers and breakouts
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled you are sun-screening! But starting in spring through fall, you need to give yourself the flexibility of moisturizing in the morning only if it is necessary.
Try using suncreen alone in the morning; if you feel you still need the extra moisture then go ahead, add a little moisturizer to your sunscreen in your hand before applying to your face.
I like to have the workhorse of the moisturizer be at night. At that time it can help to really hydrate and repair the skin over night for that 8 hours while you are sleeping(hopefully). If you tend to be acne prone, try to find oil free products including your moisturizer. Look for lotions or serums which tend to be a bit lighter than creams.
At least a 30 SPF – then fresh air and exercise!
As far as sunscreen, use at least a 30SPF at this time of year and please look for UVA as well as UVB coverage. I tend to recommend products with physical sunscreen ingredients including zinc.
As the weather becomes nicer we tend to spend a bit more time outside even if it’s walking to and from work or enjoying lunch at an outdoor café. If you spend even more time outside exercising, or picnicking in Central Park, make sure either your sunscreen is water resistant (which means it will last more than 2 hours unless heavy sweating or water activities occur) or you reapply around lunch time.
Sunscreen not only protects you from skin cancer but also from the evil wrinkles and other signs of sun damage!
Speaking of wrinkles there is still room in this regimen for anti-aging but that is for another post – see you next month!
Elizabeth I. Goldberg, M.D., FAAD
Director, Urban Dermatology
New York, NY
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.