How Seasons Change Body and Skin
Seasonal changes arouse skin changes. So, it's no coincidence that September is National Skin Care Awareness Month, September 13-19 is Eczema Awareness Week, October is Eczema Awareness Month, and November is National Healthy Skin Month.
In honor of this month, we’ll chat about skin care and awareness to specifics for fall. As winter approaches, people with or without skin conditions can suffer from skin triggers.
Some people do well in the summer warmth while others do better in the winter cold. One example is that drier skin can provoke eczema. My rosacea flares up around this time and I have to prepare ahead of time in hopes of avoiding them.
There's more meaning to the saying "Fall Is in the Air." Around mid-August, ragweed pollen begins pollinating. To irritate us more, this transitional period may have stronger winds that spread the pollen and mold spores. Because of this, the fall air is known to set off hay fever and other sinus issues. When raking up those colorful leaves it's best to wear an N-95 mask to minimize any sinuses.
To reduce allergens, the Mayo Clinic suggests keeping your indoor air clean. They also state:
"Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there's a lot of pollen in the air. These steps can help you reduce your exposure:
- Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
- If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
- Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest."
Many people don't realize that skin care check-ups are important, especially after the summer where ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Our skin is our armor, therefore, we want to make sure it's fortified through yearly check-ups, a healthy diet, and good skin habits.
Some of us are lucky to not have to recalculate our normal routines. No matter the season, it's still important to continue making skin care a permanent fixture in our lives.
What else can we do to encourage better inner and outer health in the fall?
All dermatologists agree that people can improve their water intake. We may develop headaches which could be traced back to dehydration. I know that I get some pretty bad ones in the summer. Then, I realize that I forgot to drink water after my meal. Of course, there are other reasons. All in all, having a hydrated body promotes hydrated skin. I know those sweet, festive drinks are good! Just remember to balance them with plenty of water.
Omega-3 rich foods, such as fish, tofu, nuts, and avocados are so much more important in the colder seasons for our health and skin. Omega-3 is an outstanding eczema food, too. Increase immune-boosting foods. Mushrooms are said to be beasts when it comes to protecting our bodies. Their potency is being tested on some cancer patients, as their immunity can be depleted from chemotherapy.
"A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks. Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins," reported Science Daily. The patients could not be vegans or vegetarians, and could not drink tea or take antioxidant supplements before the study.
When your favorite fruit or vegetable isn't in season, opt for frozen. But don't miss out on the awesome choices exclusive to fall and winter!
"While fall can get a bad reputation for sweet and carby indulgences, it’s actually a really good season for healthy produce. Why? The cabbage family and their arsenal of antioxidants come into full force in the fall, bringing kale for salads, Brussels sprouts for roasting, and cauliflower for pizzas, rice bowls, and whatever else you can think of. Keep an eye out for specialty greens like endive and radicchio too, which are packed with nutrients, and a perfect accent to rich holiday fare." Imperfect Foods said.
Vitamin D deficiency is quite common this season because we typically absorb less sunlight, even the leaves fall because of it. It helps us absorb calcium and has been found to prevent seasonal depression. Make sure to safely add vitamin D to your diet through supplements or food by following the recommended intake.
Harvard T.H. Chan explains, "Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D3. The best sources are the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils. Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Certain mushrooms contain some vitamin D2; in addition, some commercially sold mushrooms contain higher amounts of D2 due to intentionally being exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet light. Many foods and supplements are fortified with vitamin D like dairy products and cereals."
As the CDC warns us that COVID-19 will spike in the fall and winter, David Meltzer, MD, Ph.D., Chief of Hospital Medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead author of a recent Covid-19 study said,
"In a retrospective study of patients tested for COVID-19, researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found an association between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections."
Acne can be both hormonal and dietary. Paying attention to your stress levels is major. Autumn can irritate your skin from the weather, allergies to lower levels of vitamin D. Avoid foods that you know can arouse acne.
Try a clean serum that moisturizes without clogging your pores like Rescue Skin serum. Sometimes chemicals in skincare can stress out skin; possibly leading to a breakout.
Those with acne-prone skin can have a tough time in colder seasons because their skin is dry on the outside and oily underneath. Try a gentler cleanser that cleanses while maintaining moisture. They're so satisfying, but stay away from hot showers which strip much-needed moisture.
Keeping the pores clean, a good diet, changing pillowcases, no face touching, and using an oil-free serum and moisturizer will arm anyone against breakouts.
As the earth's days become shorter and the nights longer, some people believe that we don't need sunscreen. It's a no from me. Although the UV index is lower in the fall and lowest in the winter, the sun still shines those UV rays. Location and time of day play roles in the sun's strength. Don't slack on the sunscreen. As the Aussies say, "Slip, Slop, Slap! Mate!" "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat." Australian Cancer Council explains. Sunscreen is the ultimate preventative choice when it comes to premature aging.
Take care of your skin. Boost that immune system! Get your body moving. Hydrate your insides. Make any adjustments to your skin care routine. Add Rescue Skin serum into your routine. You'll see your skin change for the better. Moisturize and prevent unnecessary stress and aging to your skin. Be healthy and safe. Smile!