5 Skin Tips for the Winter Months

5 Skin Tips for the Winter Months

During the winter months, the weather gets colder and the humidity drops. This means that your skin loses moisture and can get dry or painful. If you do not know how to keep your skin soft and moisturized during this time, you could even end up with cracks or scabs in your skin. If you struggle to keep your skin moisturized, or with dry skin in general, here are some of the top ways of keeping your skin healthy during the winter.


Keep a Humidifier Around and Use It Regularly

By keeping a humidifier going during the winter, your skin can stay hydrated. It keeps extra moisture in the air, which prevents those painful little shocks when you touch anything metal, too. You should have a humidifier going in the rooms you are in the most, including the bedroom.


Make Sure to Expose Your Skin to Less Heat

It may seem counterintuitive, but during the cold months you want to keep your skin away from heat. This means taking warm showers instead of hot showers. Also, keeping the temperature of the house as cool as you can tolerate, too. This keeps as much moisture in your skin as possible, no matter what type of weather is going on outside.


Use Fragrance-Free Moisturizers and Cleansers

Most moisturizers and cleansers with fragrances have alcohol as the base of the fragrance. Alcohol is known for its drying effects. By eliminating the ingredients that dry your skin most, you keep more of the moisture in your skin. You want to make sure to cleanse your skin regularly and use a moisturizer often, especially on any exposed skin like the face and hands.


Always Put on Sunscreen

Many people forget to use sunscreen in the winter because it’s cold outside. You think you will not be hanging out or sunbathing due to the cold weather, so why put on sunscreen? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the snow can reflect a lot of light. The truth is, as much as 80% of the rays coming off of the sun are reflected at you when those rays hit the snow. If you forget your sunscreen, not only can you get a sunburn, but you can also cause damage to your skin. This could result in issues like age spots or skin cancer.


Stay Hydrated

Nutrition is a vital way of making sure that your skin stays hydrated during the coldest months of the year.  Along with drinking plenty of water, eat foods that will also keep you hydrated. These foods include omega fatty acids, as they help keep damage from happening in the cells of your skin. Try to avoid salt, because it dehydrates all your tissues.

No matter what the weather is like outside, your skin needs moisture to stay healthy and pain-free. What you do and what you put into your body make a difference when it comes to your skin staying fully hydrated and moisturized. The harsh winds and cold temperatures really affect your skin, so take the time to care for your skin during the winter. Take care of your skin daily through cleansing and moisturizing, plus making sure you eat and drink the right things to benefit your body. The more you can do to take care of your skin now, the longer your skin can go without seeing or feeling the negative effects that winter weather can bring. Complete Family Dermatology can help guide you throughout the year to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.

Why Moisturizing Is So Important

Whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, moisturizer is an excellent product to incorporate into your daily skin care routine. Moisturizer can help keep your skin hydrated and refreshed. As we age, the oil glands that keep skin healthy begin to lose their power, making it to where they create fewer oils. Moisturizing daily causes the glands to not have to work as hard to keep your skin healthy throughout your life.

 

Decreasing Skin Issues

When your skin dries out, many issues can pop up with your skin due to the imbalance that occurs. You may notice increased redness, more instances of acne, and even shiny skin from an overreactive production of oil. To avoid this, what you want is a moisturizer that balances your skin. For dry skin, you should go with an oily cream to hydrate your skin and balance out the oil content. For naturally oily skin, you want to go with a lotion since the amount of oil in those moisturizers tends to be significantly lower.

 

Looking and Feeling Younger

Certain areas of your skin tend to replace the cells more frequently than the rest of your skin. This can include your ears and neck, chest, and the rest of your face. When your skin is fresh and new, it could be more susceptible to the effects of the sun’s rays and the weather. These are the areas that tend to have the highest risk of developing skin cancer. It also means the skin in these areas is far less resilient than other areas of the body should any type of trauma occur. By using a moisturizer, your skin can replace only the areas that need replacing since the skin is healthier when it is moisturized.

 

Moisturizer Also Helps Fight Wrinkles

No one wants to look old before their time. By adding a moisturizer into your daily routine, you can keep wrinkles to a minimum. Your skin plumps up when you add moisturizer, giving your face a firmer appearance and showing fewer wrinkles. When the skin dries out, the wrinkles become more obvious and people tend to look older.

 

Bonus: Moisturizer Can Keep Your Skin’s Pores Full of Good Elements

Each day, our skin is exposed to several environmental pollutants. Some of them are in our homes or businesses, while others are outside. If you go outside without any type of protection on your skin or in your pores, those pollutants can fill in your pores. By moisturizing your skin each day, you fill up your pores with necessary hydration and keep more of those pollutants out of your pores. This helps your skin stay healthier and reduces the risks of getting sick or injured by the daily pollutants that are literally floating in the air.

 

Conclusion

A daily moisturizer is not a personal care treatment that you should skimp on. It only takes a minute or two each day, but it provides you with long-term benefits. Make the time to protect your skin from the elements and from life itself and put on moisturizer each day. If you do not know which type of moisturizer is best for your skin, then speak to us here at Complete Family Dermatology. We can look at your skin and recommend the best type of moisturizer to give your skin that glowing, youthful appearance you want and the daily protection you need. Call us today. We would love to help.

What Are “Age Spots” and When to Have Them Checked

Many people develop age spots as they get older (some folks refer to them as liver spots), which are areas that appear to be darker blotches of skin and can range in color from barely noticeable to quite dark. Have you ever wondered what they are or why they show up? Most people do since they are inevitable for some people to develop. In most instances, though, an age spot is nothing more than the accumulation of years of sun damage becoming visible on your skin. Do you need to be “aged” to get them? Not necessarily….


What Causes Age Spots?

The more time we spend outside in our youth, the more likely we are to get age spots as we get older. Age spots can show up for some while they’re still in their 30’s, while others may not notice them until several decades later. Typically, an age spot will be brown or gray in color, and the color will be uniform across the spot. The edges of the spot are easy to define, and they most frequently show up on your hands, chest, neck, and face.


Are Age Spots Something That Require Treatment?

In nearly all circumstances, age spots will not require any type of treatment. They are simply there and cause no ill effects other than the aesthetic aspect. However, if you do not like how the age spots look, there are many treatments that your dermatologist can review with you – one treatment of age spots that tends to be quite effective is a prescription-strength cream that can help fade the look of the spots, allowing them to more evenly blend in with your natural skin tone.


When Are Age Spots Something to Worry About?

It’s important to note that, over time, age spots may change – making it difficult to tell when you should have them looked at by your dermatologist. However, there are some warning signs that you can look for when it comes to changes in your age spots. These signs include:

  • The pigmentation of the skin gets very dark or takes on a blackish hue.
  • There are several colors noticeable within the spot.
  • The spot grows rapidly. If your age spot goes from tiny to large in a short period of time, this is a sign we need to take a closer look.
  • If your age spot begins to hurt, bleed, or itch.

Age spots are common and, most of the time, they’re nothing to worry about. However, at times, what starts off looking like an age spot is actually something else. If you ever have any concerns over spot – or if you notice any of the signs listed above – please don’t hesitate to give our office a call to schedule an appointment. If, after a thorough examination, we see anything that we feel warrants additional testing, we will talk to you about what we see and what the testing means. No matter what your age spot(s) may look like, we will always take the time to look at the spot and make sure it is not something that could affect your overall health. The healthcare providers at Complete Family Dermatology are committed to helping keep our patients’ skin is as healthy as possible!

The Importance of Skin Checkups

When was the last time you came in for a skin checkup? If it’s not been relatively recently, then you’re probably due to an appointment. Making sure your skin is healthy is just as important as getting your annual physical, or biannual checkups from your dentist. To achieve an optimum state of health, your whole body needs to be healthy – which, of course, includes your skin! And, routine skin checkups help to ensure that if there ever is an issue we can catch it before it goes any further.


Early Detection Is the Key to Risk Reduction

As with all health issues, if the problem is caught early, there are typically more treatment options available. For example, if you have a tiny cavity, it is easy for your dentist to fix but, if it is left untreated, you could be putting the entire tooth at risk. The health of your skin is no different – if we can find a problem when it is in its earliest stages, then it is much more likely to be treatable than if it is left to get worse or progress.

To give you the best chances of reducing the risk of problems turning into something more, you need to make sure that you take the health of your skin as seriously as the rest of your body. After all, your skin is exposed to a LOT – sediments in the air, sun exposure, the chemicals we clean with, and so much more. All of these moments of exposure add up over time and can damage our skin. By having regular annual checkups, we can make sure that everything on your skin is safe to be there.


Times When You Need to Come In Between Checkups

There are some specific times when you need to come in to see us in between your regular checkups. If you notice any of these issues, it is important to call us and set up an appointment to get checked out.

  • Moles That Change: When you have a mole on your skin that begins to change, you need to take note or have us take a look. It could be larger, become a different shape, or even add colors to it. When it goes from one color to multiple, it is important that you have us look to make sure it is normal growth.
  • Uncured Itches: When you notice that your skin gets itchy and it will not go away, that could be the sign of dermatitis or even the early signs of skin cancer.
  • Unexplained Scar Tissue: If you notice a random scar show up on your skin but have no recollection of how you got the scar, you need to reach out to us. We will want to look at the scar tissue and make sure it is not some other type of abnormal growth.
  • Colored Spots: When your skin develops redness that does not go away or you get different colored spots, we should take a look. While we keep an eye on these things during your checkups, if something develops between when you see us each year, we need to take a look to ensure it is not a new type of growth.

Getting an annual checkup is important, especially for your skin! Remember – if we can find the problem early, it is often something we have a greater chance to treat. One little area may be totally normal, or it may be a sign of something more problematic that needs treatment. If you’re interested in scheduling an exam – be it for an annual checkup or for any other skin condition you might be dealing with – please don’t hesitate to give us a call! The healthcare professionals here at Complete Family Dermatology in Lincoln, NE are here to help keep your skin healthy and happy!

SPF Makeup — Does It Work?

People are becoming much more keenly aware of the dangers of UV radiation thanks to recent scientific research. Skin damage from UV radiation is the number 1 cause of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, rates of skin cancer over the past 40 years have risen more than 200 percent, more than breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer combined. More than 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year.
The knowledge of the dangers of sun exposure has caused a new trend in the cosmetics industry. Makeup manufacturers are now making makeup products containing SPF (Sun Protection Factor), which are meant to double as both cosmetics and sunscreen. SPF cosmetic products include primers, foundation, lipstick, and more, which promise to deliver protection from the sun.
So, there is a very real question for consumers: Do these makeup products containing SPF actually work? Moreover, can they function as a substitute for regular sunscreen?

Does SPF Makeup Actually Work?

Short Answer: No. Cosmetic products containing SPF do not do an adequate job of protecting your skin from the sun’s rays. When it comes to UV protection, there is no substitute for a dedicated sunscreen.
Longer Answer: Technically, yes, SPF makeup can protect against sun rays, but it is still not an effective means to protect your skin.
Let’s talk about sun rays. UV radiation comes in two forms, UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are normally seen as the UV rays that cause skin aging, while UVB rays are the UV rays that cause sunburn. UVA rays have a larger wavelength and are less energetic, while UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and are more energetic.
Both UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin, but evidence suggests that UVB ray exposure is most associated with the risk of developing skin cancers. Since UVB rays are very energetic, they can damage the DNA in your skin cells, causing them to multiply out of control, which creates the malignant tumors associated with skin cancer.
The fact of the matter is that most makeup products with SPF do not have the right amount of coverage to protect against both kinds of UV rays. While SPF makeups may be able to guard against some of the lower-energy UVA rays, they do not have the coverage to block UVB rays, the most dangerous ones. Makeup products hardly do a good job of guarding against UVA rays, either, as UVA rays make up about 95 percent of the UV radiation from the sun.
According to Dermatologist Leslie Bauman, you would need 7 times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get adequate SPF protection. Moreover, proper sun protection requires you to reapply sunscreen every one to two hours. Imagine applying a half-dollar coin-sized blob of foundation every two hours of the day. Your face would be perpetually caked in makeup if you did that. Makeup products simply are not applied with enough regularity or in high enough amounts to make them effective at protecting the skin from sun damage.
Further, the chemicals that make SPF sunscreen so effective, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are often left out of cosmetic products because they change the spread and wear of the products. Some cosmetics lines use these chemicals as the basis for their products, though.
So, if you are going out in the sun, there is no substitute for a dedicated sunscreen. Experts recommend sunscreen with at least SPF 50, which blocks about 95 percent of the sun’s rays.

Protecting Your Face From Sun Damage

The easiest way to prevent skin cancer is by using sunscreen. Most skin cancers are caused by too much UV exposure, mostly from the sun but also from other human sources, such as sunlamps and tanning beds.

The two major kinds of UV rays that cause skin damage are UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are typically more energetic and associated with a greater risk of skin cancer, but UVA rays can also be dangerous. In short, there are no safe UV rays, so you should try to protect yourself from all of them. UV rays can cause cancer by damaging the DNA in your cells, causing them to multiply out of control and create malignant tumors.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to protect your face from sun damage. From sunscreen to limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Use Sunscreen Every Day

Even if it is cloudy outside, you should use a bit on sunscreen every day. UV rays are different than visible light rays, so they can penetrate through the clouds and we cannot see them. Even on days when it is cold, you can still get sunburnt, as UV rays are not directly related to heat.

To apply sunscreen appropriately, use about 1 ounce (a shot glass or palmful) to cover the arms legs, neck, and face of the average adult.

Apply Sunscreen Every Two Hours

When you are out and about, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Make sure you cover sensitive areas, such as your ears, lips, and the tops of the feet. Even if you do not feel like you need to reapply, be diligent. Reapply every hour if you are swimming or sweating. Even if your sunscreen is a high SPF, that does not mean you can go longer without reapplying.

Choose Broad-Spectrum Sunblock

Make sure to pick a broad-spectrum sunblock that guards against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure the sunscreen is at least SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant. Sunscreens that have a high SPF but no UVB protection will prevent sunburn, but they won’t reduce the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens come as lotions, creams, ointments, gels, wipes, and lip balms. Even some cosmetics, like lipstick and foundation, have sunscreen properties.

Be Careful Around Water and Sand

Both water and sand reflect UV rays and increase the chance of skin damage, so you need to be careful around those surfaces.

Limit Time Spent in the Sun

Try to limit the total amount of time you spend in the sun. If you are working outside, take regular breaks in the shade. The sun is normally the hottest and most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so be the most careful during those times. Keep tabs on your shadow; if it is shorter than you, the sun is too intense, and you should find shade.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

If you are going to be spending an extended period in the sun, make sure to dress appropriately for the situation. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can protect you from the brunt of the damage, and dark-colored clothing blocks more UV radiation than light-colored clothing. Consider keeping a pair of shades and a hat on hand to protect your eyes, face, and neck.

Watch for Medications

Some medications, like some kinds of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and antifungals, can make you more sensitive to the sun’s rays, so make sure to consult with your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Top 10 Skin Conditions Dermatologists Treat

Close-up Of Doctor Examining Skin Acne Of Male Patient With Magnifying GlassAre you unhappy with your skin? You might have a skin condition that your dermatologist can treat. Dermatologists treat a variety of conditions, and some are more common than others. There are the top 10 skin conditions dermatologists treat.

 

1. Eczema

Atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, causes the skin to become red, itchy, dry, and inflamed. It can even make the skin scaly and cause red bumps to develop. Eczema can appear on your face, neck, wrists, elbows, hands, ankles, and feet. While there is not a cure, a dermatologist can create a treatment plan to control the symptoms.

 

2. Cold Sores

Cold sores are embarrassing and can be quite painful. You might think that nothing can be done, but a dermatologist can help. A dermatologist can provide you with medications and creams to treat cold sores and reduce the rate of occurrence.

 

3. Dry Skin

Dry, itchy skin is uncomfortable and can make you look older than you are. A dermatologist can treat your chronically dry skin so you no longer have to worry about the discomfort or embarrassment.

 

4. Psoriasis

Most people consider psoriasis to simply be a cosmetic problem. However, psoriasis can also itch and the affected area might be tender to the touch. Dermatologists have lots of treatment options for this chronic autoimmune disease. Oral medications, light therapy, and topical steroids are just a few of the treatment choices.

 

5. Vitiligo

If you suffer from vitiligo, you might feel self-conscious. The pigmentation changes are noticeable, and you are tired of people staring or asking questions. A dermatologist can restore some of the color that your skin has lost. There are various treatment options, and a dermatologist will choose one based on your skin type.

 

6. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis refers to skin allergies that occur after you come into contact with an allergen or irritant. Treatment begins by identifying the source of the allergic reaction. Then, a dermatologist can treat the condition and help you avoid future outbreaks.

 

7. Rosacea

Does your face often look flushed? Do you notice skin sensitivity and inflammation? You might have rosacea. The condition likely flairs up and then goes away, and you might have noticed some triggers that make it worse. Fortunately, rosacea is a manageable condition when you seek treatment from a dermatologist.

 

8. Melasma

Melasma causes gray-brown patches to appear on the skin on the face. This is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” because it’s so common in pregnant women. Although, anyone can get melasma. When it occurs during pregnancy, it usually goes away after giving birth. However, if you don’t want to wait that long or your condition isn’t caused by pregnancy, a trip to the dermatologist is in order. From laser resurfacing to topical medications, your dermatologist has lots of treatment options.

 

9. Warts

Warts are caused by viruses that infect the skin. Cutting or damaging your skin makes you more susceptible to getting these unsightly growths. The virus that causes warts is contagious, so the problem can spread. If you need help getting rid of warts, visit a dermatologist.

 

10. Actinic Keratosis

Do you have scaly, rough spots on your skin? It might be actinic keratosis. These patches form due to overexposure to the sun and it is possible that they can turn into cancer. A dermatologist needs to diagnose the condition and then provide treatment.

 

Don’t Suffer From Skin Conditions

If you have a skin condition, you are not alone. Your dermatologist is there to help you with treatment, so schedule an appointment today.

What Is Psoriasis?

illustration of a doctor holding a blackboard with psoriasis textYou’ve likely heard of snakes shedding their skin, but you probably don’t know that humans do the same thing. Your body makes new skin cells and replaces the old ones constantly. In fact, over the course of a month, your body will replace all the skin you see. Although, sometimes the immune system sends too many signals to the cells, causing the process to go haywire. If your body produces skin cells in days instead of weeks, the excess skin cells will build up on the surface. This autoimmune disorder is diagnosed as psoriasis.

Types of Psoriasis

There are five types of psoriasis. You can be diagnosed with a single type or have two or more types.

 

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common of all the types. This condition causes scaly and thick patches that are referred to as plaques. You can get plaque psoriasis on any part of your body, but the scalp, lower back, elbows, and knees are the most susceptible.

If you have this condition, you could have a single patch by itself or several patches that touch. While the size of the affected area varies, the symptoms are usually the same. Plaque psoriasis is extremely itchy, and it can also cause stinging and burning sensations. Some people also complain about it being painful.

 

Inverse Psoriasis

Have you noticed smooth, red patches in the folds of your skin? The patches likely feel raw and are sensitive to the touch. This is inverse psoriasis. The patches remain smooth due to the moisture in the skin folds.

If you have inverse psoriasis, you likely have another form of psoriasis on other parts of your skin. For instance, many people gain weight after developing plaque psoriasis. The weight gain puts them at an increased risk of getting inverse psoriasis.

 

Guttate Psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is the second most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. Instead of appearing in patches, you will have small drop-shaped spots on your body. Some people get guttate psoriasis on their faces or scalps, although the limbs and torso areas are the most likely to be affected. If you have plaque psoriasis then develop an infection, you could end up with guttate psoriasis. For instance, if you get strep throat, you might end up with guttate psoriasis as well.

 

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is extremely rare. The extra skin cells look like burns and often cover large portions of the body. You also might experience dehydration and run a fever with this condition. If you have erythrodermic psoriasis, it is considered a medical emergency.

You are more susceptible to getting this form of psoriasis if you already have plaque psoriasis. It can develop if you don’t control your plaque psoriasis, have an allergic reaction, or sustain a severe sunburn.

 

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis presents as pus-filled bumps, typically on the feet or hands. During a flare-up, you might feel like you have the flu. You can experience fever, chills, muscle weakness, and a loss of appetite. While this condition can develop on its own, you can trigger its occurrence if you have plaque psoriasis and stop taking your steroid pills without tapering off the medication or if you develop an infection.

 

Controlling Psoriasis

Psoriasis is usually a chronic condition, meaning it lasts for an entire lifetime. There isn’t a cure for this autoimmune disorder, but you can control it with the right treatment protocol. A dermatologist can help you identify your triggers to control the outbreaks and recommend a skincare routine. Your dermatologist also might prescribe medication.

Psoriasis can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but your dermatologist can help you alleviate the symptoms. You don’t have to worry about this condition interfering with your life.

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