Fall Skin Care Alert: Prepare Now for Drier Weather

Courtesy of Trpster*

Courtesy of Trpster*

Serious Fall Skin Care 101 with Rob Hardwicke, President and Product Master at Awakening Skin Care.

It seems that every September 21st or so, I find myself suddenly scrambling around the house, trying to find the lip balm I carelessly tossed aside in April. And what about my hands? All summer, I haven’t given them much thought, and yet one day in late September, leaves beginning to turn, a little bite in the air, I notice that they’re drier than sin. What gives?

What many people don’t realize about fall is that not only does it get cooler and crisper, but much of the moisture in the air disappears. This triggers an immediate cry for help from your skin, and sends people like me scrambling through the junk drawer to find that tube of “lip dope” I haven’t seen in four or five months.

And as if the sharp decline in moisture in the air weren’t enough, many of us are coming off what I like to call a “skin bender” – 3 to 4 months of heightened exposure to UV rays, chlorine and salt water.

Been spending a lot of time at the pool? Well aside from the fact that your hair may be several shades lighter than it was at the beginning of the summer, the pH of your skin is probably pretty wrecked. Your skin is naturally acidic, and that is a big factor in its ability to stay healthy. In fact, there is a protective barrier on the skin called the “acid mantle.” This layer blocks infections, viruses, and bacteria by neutralizing those alkaline invaders. Chlorine strips the acid mantle away, disrupting the structure of the skin cells, which not only leaves you prone to acne and eczema outbreaks, but diminishes the skin’s ability to keep moisture in.

Add to the mix a lot of time in the sun, which is a corrosive, oxidizing agent (that is, the sun AGES you much more quickly) and you can imagine that the added impact of super dry air puts more than a few of us at risk. And if you are already prone to various skin conditions that are hydration-related, like eczema and psoriasis, or keratosis pilaris, chances are you’ll experience a noticeable jump in flares at this time of year.

Today’s article will be focused on specific suggestions for people who suffer from these kinds of skin conditions, but my advice will do wonders for anyone who’s feeling uncomfortably itchy and dry as the fall continues its irrevocable progression to winter.

1. Eczema tips for Fall

Eczema is commonly misunderstood as a “skin disease,” but recent scientific research has classed it as an “immune vulnerability.” Eczema sufferers have a set of about twenty genes that have developed abnormally, making the stratum corneum (the skin’s barrier) overly susceptible to irritants. These irritants – which don’t pose any particular problem to normal skin – trigger an immune response, which manifests as an itchy, flaky rash (also known as “atopic dermatitis”).

For this reason, many eczema medications work by suppressing immune function, an approach which in extreme cases can be helpful, but which is unfortunately not a long-term solution. After all, you need your immune system to function properly for a lot more than healthy skin!

In fact, the main cause of recurrent eczema is improper or poor skin hydration. This is why eczema sufferers often see such an increase in outbreaks at this time of year. The dry air literally sucks moisture right out of your skin, and sets the stage for eczema.

So the key, as an eczema sufferer, is to take action at the first sign of the drier fall climate. For a larger set of guidelines, please have a look at our article about eczema medication and alternate treatments. In the meantime, consider the following three steps to either prevent or deal with an onset of eczema:

A. Humidify

Most of us wait until the deep of winter to break out the ol’ humidifier from its dusty shelf in the back of the garage, but many people in drier climates find that getting a jump on this in the fall, when humidity percentages plummet, makes the transition into winter that much easier. In other words, it’s easier to keep your skin healthy now, while you’re still in good shape, than to try to get back to normal once things have gotten out of hand.

B. Bathe carefully

Remember, eczema flares can be greatly reduced by correcting what eczema expert Dr. Adnan Nasir calls “errors in bathing.” Relatively brief oatmeal baths in lukewarm water should be the norm for you at this time of year. Hot showers with chemical soaps are definitely out.

C. Moisturize properly

It is absolutely crucial to hydrate your skin. We have had the honor and privilege of helping some eczema sufferers who’ve been blown away by the power of Dead Sea minerals as an eczema treatment regimen. Our luxurious, completely natural, mineral body cream is a great place to start for getting the deep hydration your skin really needs.

2. Psoriasis tips for fall

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder in which the skin cells grow and reproduce at a rate way beyond that of normal skin cells. The result is a buildup of dead skin cells that form scaly, itchy patches on various parts of the body. In fact, the itch is part of its name: psora is the ancient Greek term used to describe itchy conditions.

There are several competing theories about the root cause of psoriasis, but one thing is clear: the symptoms are triggered by things that put stress on the human body. It is interesting to note that much of the available literature on psoriasis will offer a list of triggers like this: drinking too much alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep, stress, caffeine. Which is strange, because the thing that too much alcohol, caffeine, lack of sleep, smoking and stress all have in common? They’re all STRESS. I feel strongly that we need to widen our definition of stress to include more than just being overworked and having too many activities on our plate. But that’s a topic for a different article…

As we move into cooler, drier months, remember that this change is just one significant stressor AMONG OTHERS. Successful management of psoriasis requires you to consider the stressors on your body collectively. So with that in mind, what’s going on in your life right now that might be increasing your OVERALL stress? Remember, stress is like a domino effect – one thing happens which tends to set off a reaction of escalating stress.

Consider the following: It’s fall. So, you’re back from summer vacation, kids are going back to school. Already, a shift from relaxed to busy. You have a ton to do to get the kids ready, and probably extra work at the office. Another shift. To get everything done, you start missing out on some sleep. Maybe you’re down to 6 hours a night for a week. Another shift. Then, to compensate for the tiredness you’re experiencing, you add in a few extra blasts of sugar and caffeine to keep you going. Another shift, which makes you even less likely to get restful sleep when you DO have the time for it. You’re back at the office hustling (or at home, hustling the kids around to their various activities), so you don’t have time to eat well, and as a result, you start grabbing whatever you can, which usually means lower quality. Another shift. And so on, and so on, into a spiral of stress that will make you extra susceptible to psoriasis flares.

There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are tactics that will help soothe and reduce the flareups considerably. As you probably know, the range of psoriasis treatments (the so-called “psoriasis treatment ladder”) goes from topical ointments for mild psoriasis to light-based treatments to systemic (internal) treatments for severe cases. In fact, probably the best (and ironically, historically oldest) psoriasis treatment is visiting the Dead Sea region. Psoriasis is actually one of the oldest recorded skin conditions, and sufferers from this and various other chronic health conditions (not only skin-related) have been visiting the Dead Sea region for OVER 4 MILLENNIA, in order to benefit from the unique combination of soaking in mineral-rich waters and long-term exposure to low UV light (the Dead Sea is at about 300 BELOW sea level).

Sadly, a quick visit over to the Dead Sea is just not realistic for most of us. But we can replicate some of the conditions we would experience if we could go there. For example, soaking in high-quality Dead Sea salt-infused bath water (lukewarm) is a tried and true method for soothing psoriasis. If you’ve never tried this technique, shut off your computer NOW and run down to the drug store and get yourself some Masada Dead Sea bath salts. You’ll be amazed. After bathing, make sure to provide your skin cells with what they need to function optimally. The best thing you can put on your skin is a concentrated Dead Sea mineral cream, which contains both potassium (the body’s natural hydrator) and magnesium (the skin’s major healing agent).

3. Keratosis pilaris tips for fall

Karatosis pilaris (or KP) is a genetic condition in which the hair follicles become inflamed because the body overproduces keratin, a protein in the skin organ. Keratosis pilaris is sometimes referred to as “chicken skin” because it causes many small bumps on different parts of the body. The condition is almost always painless/itchless, and rarely needs medical attention. It is typically in the fall, however, when KP will need some special attention. This is because, like so many skin conditions, the thing that sets it off is dryness. (Are you starting to see why our mantra around here is “Hydrate & Heal”?)

Besides moisturizing twice or three times daily with a mineral body cream, consider taking the approach that many acne sufferers have found to be effective. Deep yet gentle cleansing, using pure Dead Sea mud with the entire spectrum of 120 Dead Sea minerals, will pull the excess keratin from your hair follicles and alleviate the symptoms of KP dramatically.

Click on one of the images below to try our award-winning cleansing or hydrating mineral skin care products, risk-free. That’s right, I said risk free!

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Awakening Mineral Therapies has been hand-crafting unique Dead Sea mineral skin care products for over 15 years. For more information about this and other natural mineral-based skin care remedies, visit our main site at: www.awakeningskincare.com

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One Response to “Fall Skin Care Alert: Prepare Now for Drier Weather”

  1. Dry weather makes our skin obviously drier. But whether dry or humid, we must take good care of our skin all the time. If you've seen my skin before, maybe you'll get scared, because it was dull and ugly. But since I've been going to a dermatologist, my skin now has life. My dermatologist in West Palm Beach would always advise me to drink a lot of water everyday if I want to keep my skin youthful and blooming. And of course visiting her regularly will lessen the chances of having breakouts again.