Everyday dangers to skin health and tips for future care | Feature Stories

July 24, 2021 0 Comments

The skin is the body’s largest organ and a vital protector against pathogens. During the summer months it is at its most vulnerable. 

On the PULSE sat down with dermatologist Holly Shadle, of UPMC, to discuss the importance of skin health and tips for skin care over the summer and year round. 

“People don’t think about sitting in your car everyday where the sun’s beating down on you constantly. Guys that are a little bit balding on the top, they have to be careful, we see a lot of cancer or precancerous spots from sun damage there.,” Shadle said. “You don’t think about that everyday sun exposure that really does lead to the long-term damage just as much, if not more, than most of your burns.” 

Q. How important is skin health? 

A. “Skin Health is actually really important, I think what people don’t realize this skin is actually the largest organ in the body, and it’s responsible for a lot of things that helps to protect your body from like pathogens and from getting damaged it helps with temperature control and sensation and touch, but it also helps to maintain moisture and prevent dehydration. So it really is important that we take really good care of it because it’s kind of like our outward armor to protect the rest of our body.”

Q. What are the biggest threats to your skin? 

A. “Sun is one of the biggest things that comes to mind. You definitely have to wear SPF when you’re outside, we recommend at least 30 Plus. You don’t really have to get anything higher than that but you don’t want to really get anything lower than that either. So that’s really important to kind of maintain your skin and prevent some damage because that can lead to things like skin cancer and also increased things like aging and decrease the moisture in your skin. 

There’s other things that people don’t think about as well like I mean, rashes, things like eczema can kind of pop up in the summer, so it’s really important to kind of make sure that you’re moisturizing your skin on a regular basis. Simple things like when you get out of the pool or when you get out of the shower instead of rubbing your arms you want to kind of pat them dry more. 

Also, make sure that you’re moisturizing at least once a day, especially after showering. All that can be really helpful and we honestly recommend to our patients using products that are free and clear of any sort of fragrances or additive ingredients and the good thing is now they make those and a lot of like easy to get products like tide and gain and things like that so it really is simple, but all those can kind of help with your daily skin health.”

Q. Should skin health be a year-round practice? 

A. “Skin health is important all year round and I think that’s important to realize even simple things like sunblock in the winter for your face especially people forget about that, but we recommend just a daily moisturizer with SPF for your face on a regular basis, and simple things like moisturizing daily especially after shower and trying those free and clear products up and all the time thing.”

Q. Does age affect your skin? 

A. “Your skin definitely changes as you age, as you get older your skin tends to get a little bit thinner, it loses the elasticity, it loses some of the moisture and so you remember it’s kind of like the barrier and the protector of our body. 

And so as you get older you have to use extra caution you have to make sure you’re definitely using sunscreen you definitely have to use those moisturizers. And simple things like Tide detergent that some people may have used their entire life, as your skin changes they might become more irritating for you, so you really might have to consider switching to more sensitive products. 

The other thing we find is a lot of people use things like ivory or dial soap which are great soaps, but as your skin changes sometimes those become too harsh and switching to more sensitive soaps like Dove or something like that can be helpful as well.”

 Q. How should people treat acne or eczema?

With that, one of the best things that you can do on a regular basis that kind of helps curtail that or prevent that, is just wash your face once daily, with a good face wash something that’s hypoallergenic and mild, not a lot of fragrances, and then follow that up by a good moisturizer that can really help kind of prevent acne. And then also simple things like after you have been at the gym or you have been outside just kind of washing your face. Those can all be helpful as well and you want to look for products that say their dermatologist recommended and non acne forming or non comedogenic, those are important things to look for as well. 

Eczema can be a little bit more tricky. Not everybody has that but certainly a lot of people do. It really is just the kind of a chronic dry skin condition and some of those other things that we talked about can certainly help to prevent that or at least manage it for those that have it.”

Q. Is there a connection between skin health and diet? 

Read the answer to this and more on On the PULSE

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