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Skin Care for the Changing Seasons

How to take care of my skin in changing seasons

Just like nature, our skin changes with the rhythms of the seasons. It reacts to the humidity levels, UV rays, wind, cold and heat. It is exposed to dust, dirt and pollution on a daily basis.

Your skin continuously produces sebum (oils) and sweat. The skin also constantly generates new skin cells at the lower layer (the dermis) and sends them to the surface (the epidermis). As the cells rise to the surface they gradually die and become filled with keratin. These keratinized skin cells are essential because they give our skin its protective quality. But they are constantly sloughing off to make way for younger cells. As we age the process of cell turnover slows down. Cells start to build up unevenly on the skin’s surface, giving it a dry, rough, dull appearance.

One of the key benefits to regular professional facials is to help you reveal healthier more radiant skin. Exfoliation delivers a tighter, firmer, smoother look and feel of skin.

1. Why exfoliate?

When done correctly, exfoliation is an important part of both facial and body treatments to leave the skin feeling smoother and fresher looking. Exfoliation removes the oldest dead skin cells that cling to the skin’s outermost surface (epidermis). It stimulates the production of new skin cells and collagen and makes it easier for facial products like serums and lotions to penetrate.

Mechanical Exfoliation. The dead skin cells are physically rubbed off with an abrasive. Examples of mechanical exfoliation include

*Scrubs (with sugar, salts, coffee grinds or seeds) should use small, round, gentle abrasives like jojoba beads. Stay away from something harsh like apricot scrubs, which can cause micro-tears in your skin.

*Rub-off cream (gommage mechanical peel) that you apply in a thin layer, let dry for a few minutes, then rub the product off and it takes the dead skin with it.

*Brush (rotary bristles)2. Common types of exfoliation

Microdermabrasion is a process that is achieved by using a highly controlled spray of fine micro-crystals under pressure and vacuum. It is also available in crystal-free, or diamond-tip. Most effective as a series of 4-6 treatments, this procedure acts to remove the outermost layer of skin by a gentle abrasion or a polishing type process. (feels very similar to a rough cat’s tongue) Microdermabrasion is effective in reducing fine lines, fine crow’s feet, mild age spots and superficial acne scars and acne marks.

Chemical Peels.These provide a deep detoxifying and cleansing effect without being overly irritating to most skin types. This treatment stimulates blood circulation and renews the cellular systems to help brighten and clarify your complexion. Results have shown that long-term use of chemical peels encourages the stimulation of collagen growth in the skin, which slows the development of lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.

Types of Chemical Peels. Enzymes (biological or herbal), alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) or betahydroxy acids (BHAS) loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to slough away. These facial peels are a form of chemical exfoliation. Chemical peels can either be very gentle or very aggressive, depending on how the strong the peel is. Body treatments might use mild chemical exfoliants like pineapple enzymes.

3. What you need to know about exfoliation

Over-exfoliation triggers the inflammatory response, leading to a compromised lipid barrier that won’t function properly, a sensitized skin condition, and accelerated premature aging.

*Talk to a good esthetician about the product and frequency that is best for your skin. Be extra careful when exfoliating delicate skin of your face. It’s easy to over-exfoliate.

*Over use of peels can remove too much of your protective layer and end up exposing the living dermis.

*Microdermabrasion can make thin, aging skin even thinner if you get too many treatments too quickly.

*Avoid the sun after microdermabrasion or peels.

*Never use body scrubs on the face. They’re too rough.

*Never wax if you’ve had a peel recently. It might expose raw, living skin, which will have to scab over to heal.

4. How often should you get a facial?

It is recommended that you get a facial with each change of season, or every three months or so. Your skin reacts to the changing seasons and it is important to ensure that you are continuing to use products appropriate for what your skin is requiring. For example, when the season gets colder, you will notice changes in your skin as well. Oily skin may become more normal, or those normal skin types might feel their skin is suddenly drying out. In the Spring, you may notice dulling of your complexion from the build up of dry skin cells. In the summer, you may experience break-outs from the higher humidity and sweating. Consulting a skin care specialist who can analyze your skin on the spot or during your facial treatment can help ensure that you are following the proper skin care regime for your particular needs.

Trudy Albert