A Minnesotan’s skin sees it all, from the stress of the summer sun enjoying our great outdoors and lakes, to the onset of cold, dry winter months. As November comes along, it is a good time to slow down and take a few minutes to look at your largest organ~ YOUR SKIN! That is why November has been designated by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) as National Healthy Skin Month. At Central Minnesota Dermatology, our goal is to help bring awareness about your skin, its health, and how to maintain it.

We know that beauty starts on the inside. BUT the better you take care of your skin and body, the better you will look and feel. A healthy skin glow helps us to feel better which lets that inner beauty shine! That is why we are so passionate about what we do and the services we offer.

Did you know that the average adult has approximately 16-22 square feet of skin which weighs around 9-11 pounds?

Did you know the skin renews itself every 28 days? A large part of the dust in your home is made up of dead skin cells.

Did you know that the skin is 64% water? So, Stay Hydrated!

Your skin is your first line of defense. It helps to keep dangerous substances from entering the body. It also helps with regulating body temperature, protecting against trauma, and keeping crucial nutrients in the body. Changes in the skin may be a sign that there is a problem with your overall health. A new growth or changing mole could be a sign of skin cancer. Itching or a rash could be a sign of an allergic reaction, an infection, or even an autoimmune disease. Routine checks with a dermatologist, or your primary physician, can help monitor your skin for any of these changes.

Your skin is made up of 3 layers: epidermis (a thin outer layer), dermis (a thicker middle layer), and the thin inner layer (subcutaneous tissue or hypodermis).

The epidermis (outer layer) is a translucent layer made of cells that function as protectors from the environment. The superficial portion of the epidermis is made up of dead cells that you continually shed. This layer also contains basal cells (which are responsible for skin renewal), keratin (a protein that helps protect from harmful substances), and melanin (which gives the skin its color). The epidermis is responsible for the look and health of the skin. It holds a large amount of water. That is why it is important for the health of your skin to stay hydrated.

The dermis (middle layer) provides strength. It is made up of two types of fibers: elastin, which gives skin its elasticity, and collagen, which is responsible for warding off wrinkles and fine lines. As we age, the supply of these fibers lessens, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle.

The thin inner layer contains the hypodermis, as well as the sebaceous and sweat glands. The hypodermis is mostly made of fat that contains blood vessels that expand and contract to help maintain your body temperature. This layer also protects your inner organs. Reduction of this layer can also cause the skin to sag. The purpose of sebaceous gland is to help keep the skin from drying out. It does this by secreting an oily substance helping to reduce water loss from the skin’s surface. The job of the sweat gland is to produce sweat which evaporates, helping to cool you. There are also special sweat glands called apocrine glands that emit sweat that when it encounters bacteria on your skin, causes an odor.

There are specific skin care needs depending on your circumstances and desired results. At Central Minnesota Dermatology, we are proud to offer an array of options to meet those needs. From a board-certified dermatologist providing professional medical care to special procedures addressing aging skin, loss of collagen, and dark spots, dermal fillers, neurotoxins, and select skincare products. All aspects to help you love the skin you’re in!

To maintain healthy skin Dr. Britton recommends four basic products. These include cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, and anti-aging products. Depending on your skin, she may recommend a gentle cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide wash or an oil-free acne wash. Some patients need to wash their face once a day, while others may need to wash it twice a day. Not all moisturizers are good for the skin. We recommend moisturizers that are fragrance free, dye free and won’t clog your pores. Recommended products include CeraVe, Cetaphil, Aveeno, Neutrogena and Vanicream. The number one anti-aging product is sunscreen. Daily sunscreen use is important to combat the damaging rays of the sun. Dr. Britton recommends using a facial moisturizer that contains an SPF 30 to be used year-round. If you spend time in the sun, it is important to re-apply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours. After sunscreen, a topical retinoid is the next best anti-aging product available over the counter.

It is important to remember that even with the best skin care routine, there are issues that will require the help of a professional. Establishing a relationship with a dermatology clinic is an important step to maintaining the health of your skin. We are here to help you with all your skin, hair, and nail concerns.