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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Goldwasser, MD

Let's get resourceful: managing, leveraging, and appreciating your skin!

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

One of the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the creativity and resourcefulness that has emerged. Allow me to share some simple ideas to help you keep your skin healthy AND to make it work for you during this time.

What to do for your skin:

Your skin requires:

A. Cleansing--washing your skin with a mild soap or cleanser regularly

B. Moisturizing--simple products are best--put that coconut oil in your pantry to work

C. Sun protection--avoid the midday sun, wear a mineral (zinc and/or titanium) sunblock daily, and wear protective clothing/use protective structures (umbrellas, awnings)

D. Protection from injury--cuts, scrapes, burns, hypothermia, allergens, chemical irritation and friction blisters (see previous blog entry). If you are cooking and baking more than usual, especially with children in the house, remember to use the back burner, turn pot handles inward, and wear oven mitts. The last thing you need is an unexpected trip to an ER these days. Helmets and knee/elbow pads can go a long way to that end, too.

E. Protection from toxins--pollution, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs are the most common. Extra bonus: avoidance will also be good for your general health and immune function at this critical time.

F. Adequate nutrition and hydration--a plant-based diet is best--make it colorful with berries (frozen is fine), sweet potatoes/carrots, beets, mushrooms, and dark green veggies. Include pantry staples like seeds, nuts, beans, legumes, and whole grains. Drink water, brewed unsweetened tea or tisanes, soups, carbonated water, plant-based milks, and fruit/vegetable smoothies. Hot (caffeine-free) drinks are especially nice at bedtime. Clean out your tea cabinet and rediscover the pleasures of a cuppa.

G. Exercise--movement is critical to prevent undue pressure on the skin, and to promote the flow of blood and lymphatic fluids. Change position frequently, and elevate your legs when you sit for prolonged periods of time. Outdoor exercise is best. Explore the myriad parks and trails of lower Westchester as the flowering trees explode with spring color. Aim for a minimum of 5000 steps daily.

H. Self-inspection--this is more critical than ever! Here are 2 links to help you:

I. Professional care/virtual visits--please don't hesitate to call/text me if you notice something suspicious on your skin (914-768-4474). While a virtual full body skin examination may not be ideal, virtual visits can be invaluable for the evaluation of isolated lesion(s), and many insurers, including Medicare, now cover them.

What your skin and hair and nails do for you:

Your skin/hair/nails serve many critical functions!

1. Skin is a sensory organ--a warm soak, a massage, or the use of a foam roller, a microwavable heating pad, or a gravity blanket can soothe jangled nerves. Treat someone in your household to a hair-grooming session. Simple touch and cuddling promote the release of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone.

2. Skin protects you--it is constantly working for you (in concert with your immune system) to prevent germs from entering/harming your body and to prevent cancers from developing.

3. Skin/hair/nails can make you look (and feel) good--spend a little of your found time to pamper yourself or your family members. Exfoliation, manicures, sunless tanner--even temporary tattoos!--and other home "spa" treatments can lift spirits. Keep nails short to make hand hygiene easier, and feet happier on long walks.

4. Temperature regulation--work up a sweat while your skin automatically and unobtrusively regulates your body temperature. Allow your hair to keep your head warm on these chilly spring days.

5. Skin produces Vitamin D--cautious sun exposure will boost your blood levels of Vitamin D, a critical vitamin for optimal immune function and bone health.

6. Ponder the miraculous functioning of your body's largest organ, and be grateful!

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