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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Health and Beauty 201:

Skin care for beginners

    Itchy, flaky and scratchy sound like they may be cartoon characters, but for people with dry skin, those words are all too familiar this time of year. Dry skin affects people year-round, but due to harsh winds and cold temperatures, winter can be a nightmare. Knowing the difference between dry skin and a more serious condition is imperative to ensure you find the right treatment. Dry skin is defined as skin that does not produce a sufficient amount of oil. This could be temporary or constant depending on the person’s skin. It is often more sensitive to weather conditions because it lacks the natural protection from oil secretions.

    “We refer patients to a dermatologist when we see large patches of irritation, scales or lesions. It is most likely eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, and we do not treat those conditions at our business” says Rosalind Wakefield, registered nurse and medical spa owner.

    Since dry skin lacks moisture, the first thing you might want to do is dollop on some cream. “Using moisturizer on dry skin is important, but first you need to exfoliate the dead skin cells off. Otherwise you are just applying moisturizer onto a layer of dead skin, and it’s not actually able to provide lasting relief,” says Kristi Reasons, esthetician and medical spa manager.

    Also, using products that are meant for your body and face are two different things. I have clients that come in and are using Vaseline and heavy body creams on their face, and we explain to them that the skin on your face is totally different than the skin on your body.”

    Dry skin often affects people in the worst spots like elbows, hands and knees. Gently exfoliating your body with salt or sugar scrubs from the store or home can help loosen the dead skin on the surface, allowing lotions and creams to hydrate.

    Applying lotion right after the shower helps lock in moisture from the water and prevents your skin from drying out, especially in the winter when indoor environments are so dry.

    Keeping a small bottle of hand cream in your backpack will remind you to apply lotion to hands, an area that is most exposed to the elements aside from the face. “We tell people that they can be a little more rough when exfoliating the skin on their body. Your face is more sensitive and could be dry for a large variety of reasons.

    If you are trying to stay on a budget, scrimp on the body products and spend more on the face products because you can target the issue with better products,” says Julie Koppelman, medical spa owner.

    Knowing the cause of dry skin might be best left to a professional. Your skin is living and breathing and when it is not properly cared for, it can appear dry and irritated.

    “When people tell us they have dry skin, it is often dull skin. Some people do produce less oil and are therefore characterized as more of a dry or sensitive skin type, but with the proper products we have seen people’s skin change within a matter of weeks,” says Rosalind Wakefield, registered nurse and medical spa owner.

    “The right balance of exfoliating products such as glycolic acids and hydrating moisturizers will change your skin. This will stimulate new cell growth and get your skin back to a healthy glow.”

    Before long, spring will be upon us and those with weather-sensitive dry skin can expect to find relief, once air conditions are more humid and it is less cold in temperature.

    Shedding dry winter skin will allow you to have smoother and less irritated skin for the upcoming season.

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