19 November 2007

Skin care in autumn

As your summer tan (real or fake) fades to sallow yellow, the remains of mini-scars from insect bites and scratches from your camping trips loom into view on your now-pale skin.

As your summer tan (real or fake) fades to sallow yellow, the remains of mini-scars from insect bites and scratches from your camping trips loom into view on your now-pale skin.

With the air less muggy but still warm in many areas, this is also prime running, biking, rock-climbing, and hiking time.

Weather changes may not be avoidable, but seasonal skin havoc is - if you strategise. Check out these state-of-the-art seasonal tips, compiled with the assistance of noted dermatologists around the country.


With dry skin, if you’d been using a strong, detergent-based cleanser over the summer, switch to something milder.

Chances are the summer heat had you drinking lots of water, and now you’re drinking a lot less. But you shouldn’t stop your water intake. Keep in mind that with the lower humidity, you start losing body moisture. Drink about 10 glasses per day. That’ll help keep your skin hydrated and clear.

If your skin is normal, and you’d been using a light moisturiser and foundation during the day, try a richer, thick formula instead. Apply a moisturiser at night, too, on your neck, ears, and collarbone area, as well as on your face.

If your skin is normal-to-oily or oily, and you’d avoided a moisturiser all summer, try an oil-free formula for both daytime and overnight use.

If your skin is normal-to-dry or dry, and you’d been using a light moisturiser all summer, switch to a richer, thicker, creamier, but non-clogging formula.

Whatever your skin type, be sure to moisturise your body as well as your face. With your skin slightly damp after showering or bathing, apply a body lotion or cream, concentrating on shoulders and rough spots - elbows, knees, feet. Dermatologists frequently recommend body moisturisers containing an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), which helps exfoliate the skin’s uppermost layer.

Even though the sun may no longer be generating summer heat, don’t take that as a sign to stash your UV block in the back of your medicine cabinet. Dermatologists now frequently recommend an SPF of at least 30 for all skin types in summer, and a minimum of 15 - 20 during autumn.


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Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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