3 Signs your skin is trying to tell you something, and why you should listen…have you ever had the experience where your skin is perfectly normal and then you wake up one morning and you swear a skin apocalypse happened while you were sleeping?? I surmise, that like myself, most of you have experienced this at one time or another. Sometimes, our skin is just changing, and it’s as simple as that. After all, considering that our skin is our largest organ, it’s not that hard to believe, right? However, certain signs, or “gentle reminders”, as I like to call them, are important and shouldn’t be ignored. Let’s start off with one of my favorites…
You’ve noticed that for the past week or so, your skin seems particularly oily. Let’s say for the sake of the example that generally, you have a normal/combination skin type. You may have noticed an oily t-zone in the past but this increased oil production brings it to another level. Many of my clients will come into my treatment room with this concern, and almost always, they attribute the increased oil production to over moisturizing their skin. Although that is a possible contributing factor to the increased oil production, it is highly unlikely. Most of us don’t even come close to moisturizing our skin to the level it needs. So, coincidently, it’s almost always dehydration that is causing the skin to increase its oil production. This occurs because our bodies are amazing at protecting themselves. When you drink water, your skin is the last organ in the distribution line. Basically, whatever hydration is left over after the rest of your body is taken care of, goes to your skin. If you aren’t drinking enough water that adequately supplies hydration to your entire body, your skin goes into protection mode. It signals the sebaceous glands to increase oil production in order to create a balance in your body. So, the next time you are feeling unusually oily, not only should you apply moisturizer (water based, oil free ones count too), but you should also reach for some refreshing water. My guess would be that you’ll notice a huge difference when the hydration level in your body is balanced once again!
“My skin is sensitive all of a sudden, I’ve never had sensitive skin”.One of the best parts of my job, is that I am able to educate every client I see on a road to better skin health. Once again, in this situation, 9 times out of 10, your body is trying to tell you something with this new sign. Let’s first discuss the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin. Sensitive skin, is a skin type. You would use this skin type to describe one’s skin the same way you would use the terms; normal, oily, dry, combination. Our skin types are genetically predetermined. Although environmental factors can influence our skin, they will not change our skin type. Which leads me to the next point, sensitized skin. Sensitized skin, is a skin condition. It can be treated and is always caused by some type of environmental or external factor. Many times when people are concerned about their skin being sensitive, they really mean sensitized. When your skin is sensitized, the barrier function of the skin is impaired. It can be caused by environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, wind/sun exposure, etc. It can also be caused by other external factors. Some of these include: using products that are too active for your skin (harsh scrubs, high potency retinol creams, or over exfoliating in general). Shaving, especially for men, can cause sensitized skin as well. So how do we treat sensitized skin?? That depends on the cause. If it’s product related, a visit to your skin care therapist would be recommended. She/he could evaluate your skin and make appropriate adjustments to your skincare routine that will help to heal the sensitized skin condition. If it’s environmental in cause and even when the cause is due to shaving, I would recommend adding a product that specifically works to improve barrier function. Dermalogica’s Barrier Repair is a fantastic choice!
New or changing moles…this is a scary topic, but an important one to discuss. Many of us know the importance of seeing a dermatologist yearly for a full body exam to aid in the early detection of skin cancer. The recommendation in between these visits is to do a self-examination, every three months, looking for any new or unusual moles. If you discover a mole that is new or an existing mole that has changed over time you should make an appointment with your dermatologist to have them checked. This is especially true if you notice the mole is irregular in shape, painful, pink in color, scaly, or bleeding. These are all signs that something serious may be going on and require a call in to the dermatologist. In addition to regular screenings and self-examinations, taking general precautions when you are outdoors during peak sun hours will significantly reduce your risk of developing a sun related cancer. The sun is generally at its strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm. If you are outdoors during these times it’s important to follow these simple steps to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. ALWAYS apply sunscreen!! SPF 30 or higher is recommended and remember to reapply every few hours and even more frequently if you are swimming or excessive sweating. Wear a wide brimmed hat when you are exposed to direct sunlight. Cover ups and protective clothing, especially those with SPF built into them are great added protection as well! As long as you are protected, the sun can be a perfect summertime companion!!