Every week we meet people who have just moved to Colorado. Oftentimes they have moved from a climate that is much more friendly to their skin and they are now experiencing severe dryness. We are glad that they look to us for advise on helping their dry skin.
But besides dry skin, the Colorado climate can have much more adverse effects on skin. Denver, and most of the front range (east of the Continental Divide) is at an elevation between 5,000 – 6,000 feet above sea level, putting us much closer to the sun. This puts us at higher risk for not only skin cancers, but photoaging. Photoaging is an acceleration of the skin aging process and causes spider veins on the face, pigmented spots (hyperpigmentation), loss of skin tone, accelerated wrinkles, and red, scaly spots (actinic keratoses).
UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin where they damage collagen protein fibers. Elastin production is increased, but the fibers become arranged abnormally. Enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases in the skin are increased. These enzymes are responsible for turnover and restructuring of collagen fibers in the skin. But at this point they often deplete collagen and rebuild it incorrectly leading to leathery skin.
UV light also increases oxidative stress in the skin causing breakdown of macromolecules.
The most serious effect of UV light though is mutations to the DNA that lead to cancer. Please see your physician for any suspicious looking spots such as moles, birthmarks, or other marks that are unusual in color, size, shape, or texture.
What we can help you with is countering the other effects of UV light and climate on the skin. We will periodically put on presentations at our storefront in Longmont that explain the effects of climate on skin and what ingredients and practices can help reverse those effects. This is more important than just beauty. Dry skin can develop into sensitive skin. Sensitive skin can develop dermatitis due to a compromised barrier function. Once this happens your skin looses more moisture to the environment and you are at greater risk of environmental toxins entering the skin.
Because Coloradans love their outdoor lifestyle, we want to help them get outside without fear of damaging their skin. We periodically give presentation at our store to help people learn how to prevent and reverse this type of skin damage. Our next presentation is Thursday, May 30 at 5:30. Come by our store at that time and learn what you can do to revive your skin after being outdoors.