May 26, 2020 Skin 101
Seasonal Changes and Impact on Skin
One thing that's cool, and at the same time inconvenient, about being a human is our adaptability. Plenty of other animals don't bother with things like continuing to operate all year long.
Bears have a good idea: they hibernate. A lot of animals native to the world above the Arctic circle do.
There's this beautiful moth that burrows underground for several months and says, "forget about it," to the whole idea of winter.
Elsewhere in the world, there's a kind of frog with an opposite idea. When summer starts to bake the rivers, this frog'll burrow into the mud and just hide until autumn brings rain to the river again. The world's full of these clever ways to just not deal with the extremes that this great big world can throw at us.
Know another things these critters all have in common, though? Some human being or other observed them in action.
Nature Was Real Careful the Way It Designed All Those Animals.
That moth from north of the arctic circle could not spend a summer hanging out around the same river as that frog
. Most animals can't move out of the biosphere they're adapted for.
Not without a thorough overhaul in the design, achieved over generations or by interbreeding with animals better suited to new biospheres. One of the things that makes humans special is that we're too curious,
or too impatient anyway. We don't like to stay in the ideal biospheres for our physical adaptations.
We don't like it, and we're imaginative enough to cope if your biospheres go through extreme weather changes.
We're Good at Living Anywhere and Through Any Kind of Weather. It's kind of hard to imagine what the ideal biosphere is for a human being.
To that end, here's an interesting theory I heard.
It was proposed because of the fact we're hairless: human beings went through a period of development being semi-aquatic,
possibly to evade predators. Which is a theory further justified by that thing where most of us crave beaches. It's possible we're hard-wired to feel more comfortable in a place we can go swimming
. Food for thought. It's one idea. There are others.
The Result's All the Same: We're an Unusually Exposed Mammal. That brings a bunch of concerns about taking care of all our skin.
It seems to be the case that the human skin doesn't like extremes of temperature or humidity.
Which means that as seasons change, we stubborn humans need to do work to compensate for extremes in our climate.
The phrase "seasonal extremes"
means something a little different depending where you are. But the most prevailing several tips are don't allow yourself to dry out, don't get frostbite, and don't get sunburns. Seasons don't change in exactly the same way in every location.
There are a few things to bear in mind, though. Here are some skincare tips to consider as the seasons change around you. Limit exposure to dry, cold wind as much as possible.
Too much time in freezing temperatures will dry out and damage your skin.
The best tip is to wrap up warm! Cover exposed skin before going out into winter weather.
You might not want to wrap your whole head, mummy-style, in scarves. There are some lotions designed to provide a little bit of protection against the cold.
It might be more effective to get a good lotion
and apply some of it when you get into shelter. Try to keep your lips properly moisturized, also.
And don't forget about sunscreen
. Just because it's cold out doesn't mean you're less likely to get sunburned. In some areas you're more likely to sunburn during winter. The sunlight reflecting off the snow doubles the angles you're being shined on from. If there's a time of year that's least rough on your skin
, it's springtime. There are a few things to remember. Longer days, for one thing, means more sunshine.
Remember your sunscreen. In some areas of the world, spring is a windy time of year.
There's not a product purpose made to help protect from wind. But you ought to use lotion to compensate for the drying-out you get from being blown across by wind. Summer is the time of year that your skin can get dried out by being on a living human being. Keep your lotion nearby.
Because of the increase in sweat production, it's important to keep rinsed off, to keep your pores from clogging. And the obvious one: extra sunshine makes sunscreen important during summer.
Never leave home without it.
In many areas of the world, autumn is the least sunny season.
Still, about half the time that there's enough sun to make sunscreen essential.
Just because it's getting colder we can't forget that I'm a semi-translucent hairless primate who dries up under the vast UV lamp in the sky.
The other major consideration during autumn is wind-chapping. Part of autumn's job is to blow winter in, and that means a lot windy days. The temperatures might be good for skin care, but the wind can be rough.
In the next few weeks we will revisit every single skincare malady and hopeful solutions that come with every season and every day. (PS - What's your skincare regime like, with the changing of the seasons - Tell me in the Typeform below, I come bearing gifts!) - Natacha
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