Face Spring with Fresh New Skin

Spring Beauty Tips Palo Alto CAWe want to start with a cleaner slate if you will, more of a blank canvas,” Dr. Orna Fisher explains of the best way to begin transitioning your skincare routine as the season changes from winter to spring.

“Skincare is important to be maintained throughout the entire year — both maintaining how your skin is now as well as preventing your skin from developing issues from environmental and aging related damage should be a priority,” details Dr. Fisher. “The bottom line is people do much better by having a good skincare regimen and exfoliation may or may not be part of that.”

To get your canvas ready for spring, exfoliation is one place to start and there are several choices to consider. “It’s a good time to clean up the skin of those little pigmentary areas that we have, which includes existing sun damage or areas of hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Fisher. 

One exfoliation option she recommends is IPL, intermittent pulse light, which targets hyperpigmentation on the skin’s surface. “IPL takes care of those areas with freckling and hyperpigmentation by targeting the pigment. After the treatment, the skin becomes darker for about a week and then those areas just flake off and the patient has clear skin.”

Another non-invasive option for freshening up the skin is a chemical peel. The treatment involves using glycolic acid in a very controlled way, which causes the surface of the skin to slough off within a week. “Underneath is fresh skin that has fewer areas of pigment. It’s not quite as dramatic as IPL but it does allow for some smoothing of the skin,” explains Dr. Fisher. “For people who have textural issues with their skin such as skin that is rougher, has larger pores, or areas that are more dry and oily, it creates more of an even or smooth effect.”

Finally, the last non-invasive option is the Clear + Brilliant laser, which is a true laser. “It stimulates collagen deep within the skin so it does have a rejuvenating effect and over time skin has a better texture and is a little thicker,” explains Dr. Fisher. “It also treats surface skin issues of hyperpigmentation and textural changes – all with no downtime.”

There is one more treatment a patient can consider but it’s an invasive procedure. Called micro-needling, it involves using a mechanized pen that holds 12 to 36 very tiny needles to create little micro-injuries to the skin. “At a certain depth it stimulates collagen, evens out skin tone, texture and pigment, and helps with acne scars but it is a little bit more invasive than the other treatments. It’s also been marketed as a vampire facial when it’s combined with protein rich plasma (prp).”

Maintaining Moisture

Similar to exfoliation, moisteners may or may not be important — it all depends on your skin type and your age as skincare is different for every decade.

“Not everybody is the same, the older the person is, the more moisturizer they need,” explains Dr. Fisher. For instance, she elaborates, a lot of young people don’t need to use moisturizer because they already have enough natural oils in their skin and using moisturizer may cause them to break out.

The opposite is true as you age. People who are older need to keep their skin hydrated or keep moisture from evaporating off of their skin.

Weather is also a factor to consider says Dr. Fisher, who notes that “skin may need more moisture during the dryness of winter as compared to the spring, whereas somebody who gets a lot of sun, and is protecting their skin with sunscreen, may need to address drier areas.

Because different ages require different things, it’s very important to see a skincare professional advises Dr. Fisher. “In our practice we have a very unique multi-modality approach that entails advanced skincare aestheticians as well as medical and surgical treatments. We go from least invasive to the most invasive, tailoring a plan using different professionals in the practice to address each patient’s needs. We can make physician-only skincare recommendations for skin type pertaining to their stage of life.”

Beauty Begins Within

One of the most important things to consider when the seasons change is your diet. “Our diet does have an effect on our skin. It’s important to eat seasonally, we stop eating those foods that are heavier and switch to eating lighter fare when the seasons change, which means eating more raw fruits and vegetables that are in-season, rather than cooking them,” explains Dr. Fisher, adding that drinking more water is another key to healthy skin.

Dr. Fisher also suggests taking Vitamin D3. “Even with some sun exposure, most people are deficient in Vitamin D and the deficiency of D3 has been associated with a number of conditions so it’s important to take that one,” she instructs.

“All of those things will have an impact on our skin, taking care of yourself from the inside will have effects on the outside as well. Eating fruits and vegetables will provide antioxidants so even though we like putting antioxidants on our skin, we like to have antioxidants from within too,” elaborates Dr. Fisher.

Safely Sunkissed

People tend not to use sunscreen as religiously in the winter, but when spring rolls around the days are longer and as more time is spent outside and the UV index becomes higher, it’s definitely important to protect your skin. Dr. Fisher recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen. “It must prevent both UV and AV rays because each of those represents something different as far as damage to your skin. That’s why it’s very important that your sunscreen is a broad spectrum that covers everything.

“It’s also important that the sunscreen be 50 or over as far as SPF. For the most part, 30 can be fine for most skin types but for many it should be 50 or close to it,” Dr. Fisher cautions. “Also, I prefer barrier over chemical. Barrier is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as opposed to chemical sunscreens. The bottom line is the barrier is preferable because it’s a literally a physical barrier that reflects off the sun. It doesn’t interact with your skin in any way, whereas the chemical sunscreens do interact with your skin and it’s through that interaction that the rays are blocked. It’s just better to avoid anything that has a reaction with your skin.”

If you do forget to protect your skin adequately from the sun, Dr. Fisher has a few tips. She suggests aloe or a hyaluronic acid serum can be helpful, but cautions against putting anything on your skin with an oil or petroleum jelly base. “It’s most important to put something on your skin that’s cooling, although not ice, ice can be very damaging. Sometimes a towel that’s been put in the refrigerator can help.”

Taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can also be helpful. “I would say it’s mostly symptomatic at that point, there’s really not much to do because, unfortunately, the damage has been done once the sunburn has happened.”

The best treatment is prevention. “Sunscreen can give people a false sense of security. Whatever time it’s going to take you to burn and that’s different for every person, some people burn within 30 seconds, some people burn within five minutes, and so whatever that time is – and no one should be testing that out on themselves,” Dr. Fisher says with a laugh, continuing, “theoretically with a 50 SPF you can be out 50 times longer without getting that burn.”

However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting any damage because some of the rays do get through. UVA and UVB rays are the only ones sunscreen is able to block. There are others and, in turn, environmental damage does occur. Dr. Fisher recommends that regardless of the type of sunscreen, it should be reapplied as well as you should limit your sun exposure, cover up, and wear fabrics that have SPF.

Also knowing your own skin type and family history is important in determining what it is going to take to prevent becoming sunburned.

“It’s just remembering we are now about to be exposed to more sun and as far as the appearance of the skin, we are looking for fresh,” says Dr. Fisher, who finishes by emphasizing that “all those things we talked about – exfoliation, moisturizer, food and sunscreen — will brighten up the skin and give you that fresh look you want for spring.”

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