by Lindsay Cole, Medical Aesthetician
Autumn is officially here in the Midwest and November brings us some of the most beautiful Fall colors, along with invigorating crisp fresh air! I think there is a consensus amongst most Midwesterners that we are blessed to experience all four seasons in all their glory, however, the continual shift in seasons can affect nearly every aspect of our lives, including our skin. Sometimes those effects are good and sometimes not so good, so how do we make the not-so-great side effects, better and while we’re at it, help reverse premature signs of aging? This is a question I often pose to our patients when coming to us with skin concerns and I love to see the look on their faces when I do, because clearly, we aren’t here to discuss the weather, however, if you stop and look around, you will always find amazing correlations in nature to our skin. It’s important to understand that our environment & its seasonal changes do impact our skin health. At pēkomd, we like to help our patients look outside of the box and consider these factors.
Our skin is our body’s largest living organ. It is constantly fluctuating, as well as ebbing and flowing to the environmental shifts and changes in temperature and humidity; whether traveling on vacation from one climate to another, or acclimating from one season to another, we are continually transitioning with our surroundings, so it’s naïve to think that we should always be using the same products or doing the same thing with our skin all year round. It is beneficial to mix things up! Let me elucidate…
When I began working in skin health a decade ago, I used to think that keeping the skin balanced was unachievable and unrealistic, but thankfully that turned out to be simply untrue. Once I began to understand and embrace the world more around me and its environment, I started to anticipate the skin adapting to these inevitable Midwestern fluctuations and how to maintain the health of skin better and more proactively. Living in a climate that is ever-shifting and evolving, I always encourage others to literally step outside, stop, look up, down, and all around! Right now, we see the trees becoming dull and dry, their leaves turning from their beautiful, lush colors to their eventual browns as they wither and fall to the ground. Even bark on trees resembles skin cells underneath a microscope. Nature goes through a cycle of renewal, growth, and shedding so it can make way for the “new” during its incredible rejuvenation process. Nature always inevitably sheds the old, inactivated, and lifeless; our skin does the same thing! Our skin is literally begging us to shed the dead skin cells instead of always caking on inactive cremes or moisturizers that put our skin to sleep, thus inhibiting the natural cellular rejuvenation process that it WANTS and NEEDS to do to stay healthy and be able to grow, flourish and thrive!
Picture the birch tree … it’s bark sheds constantly and reveals its beautiful, smooth, soft, healthy trunk of the tree! When the bark sheds, we know the tree can continually grow, thrive, and flourish. We would never take sap or molasses and cake it onto the trunk of the tree! What would happen if we did that? We would inhibit the growth of the tree … it would begin to wither, and millions of yucky microorganisms would fester underneath all the old bark. The tree would become dull, stunted, lifeless, and asphyxiated. The birch tree is my favorite metaphor for skin because its old bark resembles our dead skin cells! So, when you feel as though your skin is becoming “dryer”, just remember that approximately 7-10% of our GLOBAL population has clinically dry skin! Perhaps you need to shed the dead more effectively … so before you run to that O.T.C. moisturizer that is filled with inactive ingredients that put your skin to sleep and prematurely age it, try a medical-grade exfoliator first! We have so many options to choose from at pēkomd that are safe and won’t microscopically puncture, abrade, lacerate, or inflame your skin. When you exfoliate the old, you are contributing to the amazing cellular renewal process that your skin WANTS and NEEDS to be at its healthiest, while aging gracefully with better cellular functioning.
So, during the Fall and Winter, don’t be afraid to exfoliate! This often leads to a beautiful and harmonious balance in the skin. If you still feel like you need a little hydration, try a more hydrating cleanser or a gentle enzymatic leave-on exfoliator, and never forget to tone as this step immediately brings your skins’ pH back to its neutral state after cleansing and exfoliating. Toning can often take away from the dry, tight, itchy sensation our skin often feels after we cleanse or get out of the shower, particularly this time of year! If you do that and feel like your skin still needs a little more hydration, then give it something to drink with a nutrient-rich medical-grade antioxidant. Feed your skin cells with peptides, amino acids, growth factors, and vitamins, but remember if you feel dry, especially this time of year, EXFOLIATE! Don’t do things that will put your skin to sleep or slow down its natural cell turnover process, which often leads to premature aging and decease processes in the skin.
This November, be sure to talk to your pēkomd Provider about what in-office treatment specials we have that will help give your skin a healthy boost, and what would be ideally suited for you in order to keep your skin cells revitalized and balanced! The last thing we want is for your skin to fall into a “hibernation state”. If you feel like your skin is becoming “dryer”, thirstier or more sensitive, then it may be time to let us help you tweak your regimen to ensure you’re maintaining the overall quality and integrity of your skin cells, and to keep it looking truly beautiful!
Never underestimate how essential it is to make necessary tweaks with your skin throughout the ever-changing seasons in order to keep it functioning at its most optimal!