Persistent redness is a problem for many of us and usually we cover it up with layers of foundation, concealer and powder. But there are steps you can take in your skincare routine to combat redness and help break the cycle of inflamed and blotchy skin. You can:
1. Pick the right cleanser. Squeaky clean is not a good thing if your skin is sensitive and redness-prone. Harsh cleansing agents like sulfates can strip the skin of its delicate protective lipid barrier and dry it out, leaving it tight and dehydrated which can cause further irritation. Choose pH balanced sulfate free cleansers that gently remove makeup, dirt and debris but also contain moisturizing ingredients like aloe and glycerin.
2. Ease up on the exfoliating. If your skin is already prone to redness, exfoliating will only aggravate blood vessels even more. Chemical or physical exfoliants, when over used, can remove too much of the skin’s protective barrier and leave it more exposed to irritants.
3. Avoid overly aggressive skincare actives. Retinol and acid ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid do wonders for skin tone, texture and appearance, but a lot of people can’t handle the potent strength and their skin flares up. Be cautious when trying new exfoliators and only use what works with your skin.
4. Build up your skin barrier. The skin barrier is the best line of defense for skin that is in a constant state of inflammation. Look for barrier building ingredients like natural oils, ceramides and fatty acids that fill in the cracks of skin to hold in moisture and keep out irritants.
Winter is here, and biting winds, freezing temperatures, and dry indoor heating can mess around with our skin. Here are some easy dos and don’ts to keep dull, dry and flaky skin at bay this season. Do
• Add an ointment or rich balm to your skincare regimen. Mix a little into your face lotion at night to create a richer and more protective cream that locks in moisture.
• Drink a glass of water close to bedtime. This keeps the body and skin hydrated overnight.
• Use hand cream after hand washing. Most hand soaps can strip the moisture from hands, making them more prone to chapping, cracking and irritation.
• Protect hands with gloves when going outside in the cold. Don’t
• Exfoliate excessively. You may be tempted to banish dull skin with a good scrub or peel. Overdoing it will remove too much of the skin’s protective barrier and cause irritation. Once or twice a week is enough. Always follow up with a rich moisturizer.
• Take extended long hot showers or baths. The hot water can loosen the skin’s natural oils which are the ones that keep it soft and hydrated. Hot water can also trigger sensitive skin.
• Skip post shower moisturizing. The best time to moisturize skin all over the body is after bathing to lock in the surface moisture left over from the water. Hydrating results are more intense and long lasting if you leave the skin damp before slathering.
What happens to the skin on your feet during winter, and why?
Skin on the feet tends to be the driest, thickest and roughest on the body due to constant pressure from walking and standing, as well as friction from footwear. Winter’s cold temperatures and low humidity, coupled with dry indoor heating can potentially suck what little moisture there is from the feet and heels rather quickly.
How severe are dry, cracked heels? What causes dry, cracked heels?
Dry, cracked skin on feet and heels is a signal of severe dehydration. The skin on feet is quite different than the rest of the body as it lacks oil glands which typically keep skin self lubricated. Cracks or fissures can form do to the lack of natural moisture because skin is brittle, less elastic and injures quicker.
What are 3-4 recommended ways of taking care of your feet during the colder months, and why?
The best way to keep feet hydrated and protected is to exfoliate weekly and moisturize daily. Eliminating dry, dead skin cells with a pumice stone or body scrub keeps skin smooth and allows moisturizers to penetrate and keep feet protected. When moisturizing feet and heels pick a product with an extra thick texture. Apply nightly and wear socks to bed. This drives the moisturizer into the deeper levels of skin and allows the cracks to start healing properly.
What are people most surprised to realize about the skin on their feet?
The skin on the feet is the thickest part of the body at 4 mm thick where the eye lids are the thinnest at 0.5 mm. Foot skin lacks oil glands which is why it is prone to dehydration and cracking in dry environments and cold temperatures.
What types of products are recommended to someone who has cracked heels or dry skin that wants to improve the look and feel of their feet? Why?
Dry cracked skin on the feet is a common concern from people. Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter or 12 Hour Miracle Ointment are recommended because both of these formulas contain high levels of botanical oils that moisturize deeper and protect skin longer than a typical lotion. These high levels of emollient ingredients also help protect the skin barrier and keep skin soft and smooth. Apply them nightly and wear socks to bed. This drives the product into the deeper levels of the skin and allows the cracks to start healing properly.
Is there anything else in regards to taking care of feet?
Our feet are the hardest working part of our bodies that we all typically neglect on a daily basis. Moisturizing feet daily with products that are rich and emollient can ward off serious skin problems.
Have you taken a good look in your medicine cabinet lately? Chances are, it could use some updating as the weather turns cooler. Lighter lotions can be swapped for more emollient rich creams with protective healing power. It’s also a good time to look into using a universal relief ointment, a skin remedy that can be used on dry, cracked skin from head to toe. Ointments contain fats and oils and unlike creams they don’t contain water, for a more concentrated treatment. This type of concentration provides a protective layer against irritants and soothes inflammation and damaged skin.
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What are some quick tips for managing baby eczema?
One of the most important things is to be consistent. Moisturize with the same products consistently, bathe with the same temperature water consistently, and use the same skin care practices consistently. It is easier said than done but I think it’s so important!
How often should you moisturize babies with eczema?
Babies with eczema should be moisturized twice a day. Make sure that one of the times is after bathing. I also advise parents that if skin looks dry in the interim, then it is dry. If it looks dry, then you should go ahead and moisturize!
How much of an impact do genetics play on the development of eczema?
Genetics do play an important role. Parents often say that they had eczema as kids and I see siblings that have similar skin findings.
If your baby is at risk for developing eczema due to genetics, at what age should you start moisturizing?
I think moisturizing is important from early on in life. That does not mean you have to use layers and layers. But once the initial infantile vernix has shed (once the infant is past the first few weeks of life), moisturizing should begin. I think that baseline moisturizing, especially post bathing is important to help protect the skin. I do recommend consulting with a board certified dermatologist and a pediatrician to discuss an infant and child’s skin care.
Is there a correlation between food allergies and eczema?
I have seen a correlation between children with food allergies and their eczema. In particular, if the child is genetically predisposed to developing an atopic condition such as atopic dermatitis, food allergies, and asthma. In fact, I had a child with a wheat allergy whose skin findings and lung issues seem to be highly correlated to wheat exposure. Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Seemal Desai is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and a Board Certified Dermatologist. He has been active on a local, state, and national level with numerous medical organizations. His major accomplishments have been with the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Medical Association where he has held more than 6 elected positions. He is also actively involved in teaching and mentoring medical students and residents. He serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Desai is the author of numerous publications and has been invited to present at numerous international Dermatology events. These include the World Congress of Dermatology, the French Society of Dermatology, and most recently the International Congress of Dermatology. His clinical interests include the treatment of vitiligo and other disorders of pigmentation, psoriasis, acne, skin cancers, inflammatory skin rashes, and phototherapy. Dr. Desai is the current president of the Skin of Color Society and President-elect of the Texas Dermatological Society. In addition, he is a Past President of the Dallas/Fort Worth Dermatological Society. He also serves on the Board of Directors of SkinPAC, the Congressional Policy Committee, and as Chair of the AAD Leadership Development Steering Committee. Most recently, Dr. Desai was elected to the American Academy of Dermatology Board of Directors and will represent the interests of over 18,000 dermatologists worldwide. He also serves as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology and Pigment International.
October is Eczema Awareness Month. There are over 36 million people in North America living with this itchy, red and uncomfortable skin condition.
Six years ago, Amy Regan was actively looking for a steroid free option to use on her daughter’s eczema. She truly believed that there was a better way to heal her daughter’s skin that didn’t include irritating ingredients like steroids, sulfates, parabens or phthalates. When she heard that a local pharmacy in her hometown was compounding a healing balm which worked wonders on dry, red, itchy skin – she was intrigued. With her 20+ years experience in the beauty industry, the balm fascinated her with its unique combination of natural medicinal ingredients. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the formula and the results! She purchased Skinfix and created the Eczema Collection so that the balm could be shared with the world.