Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Back-To-School Skin Care


Submitted by Doug Leone, MD, and Adrienne Schupbach, MD, Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute

As summer draws to a close, many people will reminisce about weeks spent relaxing by the pool, sunny days at the ball field, a recent beach vacation, or maybe just days spent in the yard or garden. While summer days may be refreshing for the mind, summer can be harsh on our skin. As the warm days wind down and we prepare for the upcoming school year, it’s a perfect time to evaluate, tweak, or begin a new skin-care routine to revive and achieve healthy, beautiful skin.

You may notice that your skin is showing more dark spots, lines, and wrinkles as a result of too much sun exposure. Early fall is a good time to determine and implement your anti-aging skin care goals. Products designed to fade sun spots, lessen wrinkles, improve skin tone, and generally impart a more youthful appearance usually make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Many non-surgical treatments like micro-needling, laser resurfacing, and chemical peels can improve the look of your skin dramatically, but they will also cause the skin to be more sun-sensitive. Since you are likely not outside as much once school starts, it’s an ideal time to get started. By starting now, you’ll see the best results by the time the holiday season rolls around.

An important step in anyone’s skin care routine is exfoliation. It often isn’t as important to exfoliate in the summer, but as summer comes to an end, the dead cells tend to build up, leading to skin that may be rough and dull looking. Exfoliation removes these dead cells and can help to repair the skin from the ravages of the summer sun. There are many different kinds of exfoliation treatments, both chemical and physical. Your skin type and its condition will determine which ones are best for you. After the skin is exfoliated, it is much more susceptible to sun damage, so take extra care with your sunscreen or stay out of the sun all together.

It is extremely important to continue to use sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 every single day. Many people do not realize that sun damage can easily occur in fall and winter, even though it’s not hot and you may not burn like in the summer. UVB rays are the ones responsible for causing suntan and sunburn. While they are not as strong in the fall and winter, the UVA rays, which are the ones that cause skin cancer and premature wrinkles, are strong all year long.

One tricky thing about caring for your skin in September is that the weather can be quite volatile — hot and humid one day, cold and blustery 24 hours later. While we still have a month or two before the winter cold really kicks in and it becomes imperative to combat the effects of drier air and bitter winds — you’ll want to replace the lightweight moisturizers and cleansers that were effective in the summer with something more hydrating. Getting your skin in tip-top shape now will help avoid dry, chapped winter skin later on.

No matter what the season, our skin is always adapting and responding to internal and external changes. Pay attention to signs that your skin care routine isn’t sufficient. Breakouts, dryness, sensitivity, or a lackluster appearance are all signals that a change is in order. When problems occur, people commonly switch products or try new things, which may just make the problems worse. It’s best to consult with a skin-care professional who can evaluate your skin, recommend the proper at-home products, and provide professional services so your skin will look and feel smooth, healthy, and radiant.

For more information, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451-DERM (3376), Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Dr. Leone is one of the few Mohs-trained surgeons in the area. Their practice is located at 3024 E. Empire St. 2nd floor, in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center.