It’s no surprise that Colorado can get cold – plenty cold. And the air is dry. It’s the kind of weather that makes your skin cringe. But wait, there’s Summer, and heat can bring relief. But for Colorado, Summer is still dry, though maybe a bit humid now and then. The hard truth is, Colorado’s climate is tough on skin, no matter the time of year.
Should you resign yourself to red, rough, itchy skin? Stay indoors all the time? Heck, no! Colorado is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. We look forward to those 300+ sunny days each year brings us. And there’s no reason to miss a minute of it – as long as you take action to protect your face and the rest of your body from our harsh weather.
Altitude exacerbates problems
There are certainly benefits to living at a high elevation. Just think how powerful your lungs are, compared to people from the lowlands! But the higher you go, the thinner the air. With less “atmosphere” to protect you, more of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays sneak through. And they’re aimed right at your skin.
Sun, dry air and wind don’t only cause chapped skin. All that UV light and squinting speeds formation of fine lines and wrinkles, too. And let’s not forget that UVA rays barge right through windows to get at your skin when you’re driving, at work or at home. With all that in mind, let’s take an “up close and personal” look at best skin care practices for our Colorado climate.
Skin care products
Most of us don’t think of our skin as a body organ, but it is. It’s the largest organ, one more reason to take good care of it.
Moisturizer is a must, for your face and the rest of your body right down to the soles of your feet. Men, this goes for you, too. In our climate, it’s best to apply less, more often, rather than smearing on one thick layer. Think continuous hydration for your skin. And be sure to moisturize after every hand washing. Your lips and the skin around your eyes is the thinnest – and therefore the most vulnerable. So wearing moisturizing lip balm with SPF 15 or higher is also a must.
Use facial exfoliants sparingly. Skin care experts suggest once or twice a week is plenty, giving your skin a few days to renew itself in between.
Keep your body moisturized from the inside, too, by drinking plenty of water. This simple step offers multiple health benefits. Among them, it improves your skin’s elasticity, which in turn can slow formation of permanent, mobility-related wrinkles such as crow’s feet and smoker’s lines around the mouth.
Best practices shift as the seasons change, in part because change stresses your skin. This kind of stress happens when the day’s temperature fluctuates significantly and when you move back and forth between indoor warmth and the frosty outdoors, but also when warm summer gives way to winter cold.
Because summer is usually more humid, you won’t need as much moisturizer as in winter. But you need to be even more vigilant about cleansing your face daily to remove makeup, oils, and sunscreen.
And speaking of sunscreen, daily use is #1 on the best practices list. Especially when you’re dealing with a climate like ours.
Personal hygiene and daily living
You can’t do anything about the climate except fight back with all the skin care best practices you can muster. But your skin is at risk from more than the weather -- self-inflicted damage caused by the products and practices you use on your body or in your home as part of daily life. So here are some skin-friendly tips:
- Tempting as a long, piping-hot shower sounds in winter, take shorter showers in warm water instead to keep from dehydrating your skin. And don’t scrub. Use a soft brush instead of a rough washcloth. Pat yourself barely dry after a bath or shower instead of toweling off vigorously. (And then moisturize right away. It’s more effective if your skin is still damp.)
- Choose fragrance-free, mild soaps for your face, hands and body. Antibacterial products (including hand sanitizer), deodorant and other things many of us use daily can rob skin of its natural moisture barrier. Household cleaning products can irritate skin, too. Read labels carefully, because “unscented” does not mean fragrance-free.
- Don’t sit too close to the woodstove – or the campfire when you’re overnighting outdoors. Cozy as it feels, the extra heat is extra-drying for your skin. Indoors, consider using a humidifier to boost your home’s humidity level to around 50%.
- Don’t make a habit of drinking from straws, as this has the same effect as smoking when it comes to producing lines around the mouth.
- Eat a healthy diet, especially fresh fruits and veggies high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, pomegranate, cranberries and tomatoes.
There are hundreds of skin care products out there, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Which are best for you? Dr. Jeff Raval has you covered, with the Raval RX line-up. These products have been developed as a unique combination of the latest medical knowledge, the highest quality clinically-proven ingredients, and Dr. Raval’s extensive personal experience with in-office and surgical cosmetic enhancement procedures. His Colorado experience.
The Raval RX line includes:
- Essential Night Treatment Cream, which brightens skin tone by inhibiting melanin production and reduces skin irritation and dryness with green tea extract. This cream can be custom-tailored for each patient.
- Lightening Serum, which dries quickly and is tolerated well by most skin types. This product does not contain retinoids, steroids or sulfites.
- Antioxidant C & E Ferulic Serum, which blends powerful antioxidants with a hydroxyacid, for both short-term and longer-term benefits. This serum enhances collagen production, reduces cell damage caused by free radicals, and helps brighten skin tone.
- Gentle Foaming Cleanser, which a plant-based and 100% fragrance-free. This cleanser helps reduce redness and remove excess oils while maintaining the skin’s natural hydration.
- Intense Moisture Cream which restores the skin’s moisture barrier to reduce the dry, flaky appearance that can follow microdermabrasion, lighter chemical peels or other non-ablative treatments. It contains no fragrance or steroids.
- Mattifying Face Lotion, formulated for blemish-prone or combination skin. It contains no oils, fragrance or paraben, and will not block pores.
- B5 Hydrating Complex, which moisturizes and reduces signs of sun-related aging. It can be worn alone as a light moisturizer, or underneath makeup, sunscreen or another moisturizer.
- Essential Eye Cream, which soothes and firms delicate skin in the eye area.
- Tri-Bleaching Cream, which combines three essential ingredients to lighten or eliminate the appearance of freckles, hyperpigmentation and melasma.
The key is consistency
You may be naturally inclined to buy and use everything you can find to keep your skin looking its best. Or you may be more of a minimalist. Either way, we hope you’ve learned a few new habits to add to your skin care repertoire. Focusing on these best practices will help you develop a skin care regimen tailored for our Colorado climate and your skin type.