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Don't fall victim to these autumn skin health risks

As we round the final bend of the season and prepare to leave August behind for September, so too do we get ready to ditch summer for fall. Summer wardrobes and fun in the sun give way to longer sleeves and shorter days – and not to mention, colder air and wind.

If you've spent more than your fair share of time in the sun over the past few months, your skin may be more than ready for a reprieve from the harmful conditions brought by UV rays and salty beaches. But before you run out to jump in the leaves or pick yourself a pumpkin, make sure you're aware of some of the environmental hazards your skin can face in the autumn as well.

Psoriasis
This common skin condition affects both men and women, and can occur in adults and children alike, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears in between 1 and 3 percent of Americans. Characterized by patches of red, scaly skin and an itching, flaking epidermis, psoriasis is present year-round, but can actually be exacerbated in the cooler months of the year. As Dr. David Banks, director and founder of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, told Everyday Health, this is largely due to the dry air present in fall or winter. Drier conditions means that your skin is also more prone to drying out, which can lead to much more frequent outbreaks of psoriasis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the shorter days and more muted sun fall brings can also be contributing factors to psoriasis outbreaks. Interestingly, the Foundation has noted that some individuals with the condition turn to what is called phototherapy – the use of ultraviolet light to reduce symptoms. The UV rays you'd normally be getting straight from the source during the summer must be supplemented in the cooler times of the year through artificial means, such as tanning beds and UV lamps. Of course, it should be noted that those who want to use proactive psoriasis prevention as an excuse to keep their bronze veneer into winter would do well to limit their time in the tanning beds. After all, your skin has just survived a summer of direct ultraviolet exposure, which can be equally damaging to your dermis.

Warm clothing
It may seem odd to say, but the shift from tank tops and T-shirts to sweaters and turtlenecks can actually be irritating to your skin. According to Everyday Health, once the temperatures start dropping again, many people are anxious to dive right into their thermals and wool sweaters. Cozy they may be, but this can send your skin into crisis mode. Scratchy wool and flannel can cause rashes, redness and itchiness. A better idea, the source recommended, is to layer such clothing over softer, more skin-friendly bases like cotton shirts.

Sunlight
You may be surprised to hear that sunlight remains one of the major dangers your skin faces moving into autumn. That means that yes, even when you're gulping pumpkin spice lattes while strolling down a park trail surrounded by changing leaves, you need to take precautions to avoid the sun.

As the Skin Cancer Foundation pointed out, the sun is still out during autumn. The only real difference is that due to more frequent precipitation and cooler temperatures, people are less aware of the fact that they're being bombarded by UV rays, and thus take fewer efforts to protect themselves. If you're planning a fall fling outdoors in the coming months, make sure to cover up and, if you have particularly sensitive skin, don't put the sunblock away just yet.

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