DO exfoliate gently to decongest and enhance the way your skincare works for you. Summer sun is dehydrating which can actually compromise the way your body is designed to protect you from its damaging rays. The right kind of exfoliation will enhance your skin’s barrier function while also readying it for medical-grade skincare ingredients that keep you well defended.
Hydrate with light moisturizing gels and serums that leave the skin feeling supple, not sticky. Most of us need to rethink our lotions and potions in the summer to avoid feeling like an oil-stick and subsequently becoming congested. Even dry skins that revel in the warm and humid weather may benefit from a lighter formulation. Some of our office favorites are: SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, SkinMedica HA5and MDRejuvena Pore Perfecting Complex.
Apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher every morning and reapply every 2-3 hours during the day into the early evening. Remember your neck, chest, ears, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. If applying SPF to your body daily seems cumbersome, use a moisturizing formula before you get dressed in the morning in place of your regular lotion and be sure to have a travel tube in your purse for when you’re on the go. It’s worth it! We lovePCASkin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45and Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50.
Drink plenty of water and eat your fruits and vegetables. Not only is your skin likely to become dehydrated in the sun, but so is the rest of you! Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily and infuse it with lemons, herbs and fruit to activate its potency and absorption. For the best defense, take Heliocare every day.
Trust the experts! We are here to guide you to the best products and cleansing treatments to ensure you keep your skin healthy and beautiful for life!
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Fads come and go, some take social media by storm and seem like they’re here to stay, and fiction becomes fact by virtue of repetition. We see the same information over and over, and somewhere along the way we accept it without questioning the source. Anyone with a following is accepted as a credentialed expert and source. Sometimes there’s some truth to some parts of the story which makes it even more difficult to know how much of that source to trust. You’ll see what I mean as you read my top 5 ingredients I would rather have you apply to your skin than put in your body:
This is among the newest of the fads to hit the scene. I’ve seen article after article and blog upon blog touting the multitude of benefits to brain, heart, immune system, and every other organ of the body including the skin. I wondered how it was possible that this common ingredient that’s been around forever and which I remember from my childhood as being tasty but my dad telling me it’s full of fat and not entirely healthy for you could somehow be a panacea overlooked for so long. I scoured the medical literature and found it contains medium chain fatty acids, and as with most plants it has antioxidants- all good in helping protect the brain and other organs avoid disease and destruction. But it also contains a good amount of saturated fat which is not good in the quantities that I’ve seen being promoted. For most people a little goes a long way. The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement pointing out that 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fat. Compare that with butter which is 63% saturated fat and beef fat which is low in comparison at 50%. Pork fat looks downright edible at 39%. They are not fans of saturated fat saying it raises the bad LDL cholesterol and increases clogging of the arteries.
So now you know not to put too much of it in your body but how about on your body? That’s another area where it’s been overblown but still has benefits. All that fat makes it an easy DIY hydrator for the hair and body if you need something fast and easy or should you unexpectedly run out of your hair conditioner or body cream. If you use it in your hair, make sure to add shampoo and create a lather before trying to rinse out the coconut oil, or you’ll be left with a greasy heavy mop of hair that will take days to wash out, proving the point that oil and water truly don’t mix. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties also have some benefit against the bacteria that causes acne so if you break out but have dry skin it may be worth a try as spot treatment but be warned that it is occlusive which means it can block pores and that can make acne worse. It may also be allergenic which means you need to watch out for allergic reactions to it. I do like coconut oil as a go to for hydration and the smell works well as a relaxing aromatherapy.
As a food, it’s sugar. Ok a little better than simple sugar, but still sugar. Having lost 50 lbs myself, part of my success came from teaching myself to enjoy the natural flavors from foods without adding extra sweeteners, including too much honey. It’s amazing how we get used to sugary flavors and how that sabotages our weight and health.
When it comes to honey and the skin, the story has a much sweeter ending. Honey is one of my most favorite ingredients for healing and barrier repair and it’s one of the few times the word natural means something when it comes to skin care ingredients. There are thousands of published studies in the medical literature on the benefits of medical grade honey for use in healing chronic ulcers of the skin in diabetics and in patients who are immunocompromised. It creates a breathable barrier that behaves as a layer of healthy skin would, has antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties and is readily available. I would caution against using it in an area where there are bees or flies as it may also attract them and cause greater problems than what you were trying to treat with the honey!
Three of my favorite uses for honey:
Dab on a pimple that has been irritated or picked at. I know you would never do that, so tell a friend.
Add to DIY home scrubs and masks to help thicken them while adding skin benefits
Apply over a burn with aloe and over the counter cortisone to help reduce pain, inflammation and risk of infection while also speeding up healing and lowering the risk of scarring
It may be good cooking oil but otherwise not great for those trying to lose weight or optimize health. It’s one of the old school offers my professors used to tell patients to use for the treatment of dry skin if they had skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Add it to the list of saturated fats good to put on the skin in a pinch if you need hydration, not in the arteries or on the hips.
Coarse Brown Sugar
This is sugar, sugar leads to inflammation, and inflammation ages you. There you have it. Now that you have all this sugar and no plans to eat it, mix it with coconut oil and honey and you have a great scrub!
A little salt is good, too much leads to dehydration of the skin and body and is not good. That’s why you would die of dehydration if you got stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. If you work out a lot or do hot yoga or hot workouts you may be sweating and peeing out all your natural salt so you may be one of the few who need to add it to the diet, but for the rest of us we get more than enough, I would even say often too much, from the foods we eat so don’t add more. Instead, follow instructions above for coarse brown sugar and make a nice scrub or mask for your skin. Especially good if you have oily skin or large pores.
For all of these items, each has it’s place and moderation is key. I would not advise putting coconut oil all over the face of oily skin with acne nor would I use a coarse scrub on dry irritated skin. Listen to your skin, pay attention to detail and know that common sense should always rule the day.
I’ve always loved to travel and if you follow any of my posts on instagram, twitter or facebook you’ll know I travel a lot for work to lecture and serve on advisory boards. My love of travel goes way back to my childhood when as a little girl, my parents would pack up the three kids and take us away on family trips for work or fun as often as my dad could manage around his busy doctor schedule. The airport itself was as exciting as any destination we reached and we dressed up for the plane as if we were going to a party. Travel by car or train was just as exciting and the idea of an adventure always got my heart racing with excitment – the feeling has never worn off. It may have something to do with the fact that I still live in the same city and even in the same building where I was born and raised so I have the comfort and security of knowing where home is and that makes a new place, hotel and scene intriguing. Or maybe it’s just me.
As I sit here now, on a plane on my way home from a great dermatology meeting in Dubai, I can still feel the excitement of going to the airport, the thrill of the plane making its way down the runway, the exhilaration of takeoff, the soothing hum and rhythm of the cabin as it cradles it’s precious passengers and carries us miles above the earth giving us heavenly views of clouds and the land and sea below, taking me to or from a place I’ve heard so much about and have been looking forward to exploring. I love the work when I get there, I always learn as much as I teach, and I always leave myself time to walk and explore, and of course post pictures on my social media so I can share the experience and look back on the memories later myself too.
Adjusting to Time Zones
The one thing about travel that can be the most challenging is dealing with the havoc it wreaks on the skin. Totally not acceptable. Sounds superficial, I know, I’m used to it and I know better. I know it’s more than just skin deep and when I see tired travel-worn skin I know there’s way more going on below the surface and adjustments that need to be made to stay healthy in mind, body and skin in order to make the entire trip more productive and fun.
When I travel to different time zones, I do my best to transition to that time zone during the flight by planning my nap and awake times and adjusting the light to help me acclimate even before I arrive. I try to pick flights that optimize the process. It takes a little planning but makes all the difference in minimizing jet lag and getting the most out of the trip. This way I hit the ground running and can be the most productive when I work.
Hydration is key. This means more water, less salt and less alcohol. I said it was important, I didn’t say it was fun. I also said less, not none. The longer the trip the more important this is. I’ve seen people whose feet and ankles swell to 3 or more times their size, and that can take days to resolve. Wearing compression socks can help along with leg elevation when possible, walking during the flight or stopping to walk if you’re in a car, and also doing flex and point foot exercise when sitting. And of course, I repeat, more water, less alcohol, less salt.
Packing for Your Skin
Preparing your skin for travel starts even before you leave the house. If you’re a last minute packer, I recommend making a skin-travel kit that’s always ready to go. Most of us notice our skin gets dry when we travel and if you’re prone to eczema or psoriasis this can trigger a flare. It’s especially important to have a great moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking water won’t make the outer layers less dry so you need to moisturize and hydrate the skin directly. If you have oily skin and break out, the stress of traveling can trigger a flare leaving you both oily and dehydrated at the same time. It’s not always easy to pack all your acne medications when you travel but it is important to maintain your routine to minimize any breakouts when you least want one.
The one thing you need to coordinate and organize ahead of time is a travel skin-care kit so you can avoid any skin catastrophes that might ruin your trip.
Carry-on (travel size):
Hand cream: can also be used on the body as needed
Pre-moistened cleansing cloths: test the brand ahead of time and look for one with cloths that are softer rather than abrasive on the skin
Sunscreen: a good tinted sunscreen can double as a foundation for travel purposes
Hair tie- scrunchy: they may be out of vogue for public use, but are perfect to keep your hair off your face on a long flight or car ride without pulling or stressing your hair
Airplane socks: a travel luxury, yet totally necessary. You can buy them at any drug store and enjoy warm, soft feet on the plane.
Eye cover and ear plugs: nothing says beautiful skin better than a good nights’ sleep, or a nap on the plane in this case (the baby screaming behind me was barely audible once my earplugs were in). Tip: noise cancelling headphones are good but may not be as comfortable for sleeping.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Avene water spray
It’s very helpful to have an emergency travel kit. This should include:
Cortisone cream: this will save you in a pinch if you get a pimple, bug bite or any irritation of the skin that leaves it red and itchy. When you travel, you come into contact with so many different materials your skin isn’t used to and this can be an issue for those with sensitive skin.
Zeasorb powder- this is great for shoes and the body for those who sweat when they travel. It is absorbent and will keep you dry and comfortable and will help prevent your feet and shoes from getting stinky, which will make you much more popular with your fellow travelers.
Benadryl: great to help you sleep and also good if you tend to have eczema or allergies that flare when you travel. Be careful not to take if you’re the driver. In other words, don’t “operate heavy machinery” after taking.
Ibuprofen or Aspirin: depending on what your stomach tolerates.
Cleanser, moisturizer, serum, prescriptions products from your dermatologist: it’s important to maintain your regular routine as much as possible.
Never count on the hotel soap or moisturizer to keep your skin healthy when away from home. Depending on the length of your trip you can pack a separate set of products for your trip or use the travel size from your carry on. I’m a master of packing so I take carry-on for almost every trip. When I do check in a bag, I go all out even adding my absolute favorite products and perfume – it almost makes it worth checking a bag. Almost.
We are almost into descent and time for me to sign off. I had a great trip, so happy I planned ahead and made the most of the time. A little, simple planning made all the difference. I’m ready to get back to the office and see my patients, which is my greatest joy and passion.
Preventing sun damage is much more than just a cosmetic issue, it could save your life. More than three million cases of skin cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2015 alone, according to the American Cancer Society. But properly applying sunscreen takes more effort than slopping it on when you arrive at the beach. Follow these tips and you’ll never get burned again.