From Dry to Fly

Colorado’s weather gives us the champagne powder in the Rockies, our gorgeous rivers and lakes and more than 300 days of sun. But all of that can cause lots of problems with our skin.

“Colorado can be a tough climate for skin health,” says Kendra Thompson, owner of Harmony Skin & Wellness Clinic in Fort Collins. “Many people who move to Colorado often experience dramatic changes in their skin’s texture and appearance because of the sun, lack of humidity and even being at altitude. The first thing people need to assess is their hydration levels because radiant skin starts internally. Next, it is important to take into consideration what type of skin you have. For many, they experience dry skin.”

She says those with dry skin can sleep with a humidifier next to the bed, always wear a high-quality night cream suitable for your skin type and regularly exfoliate. 

Photo courtesy of Harmony Skin Clinic

Those with more serious cases may need to go to a specialty clinic, as over-the-counter products are limited, says Chrissy Lorenzen, owner of Premier Skin Clinic in Fort Collins. Medical-grade products, just like prescriptions, can only be dispersed in clinics. 

“Over-the-counter treatments cannot go deeper than the first layer of skin,” she says. 

Lorenzen notes that being healthy can help your skin as well. “Eating well and taking care of yourself is a huge part of skin health,” she says, adding that drinking lots of water and using sunscreen any time you are going to be outside for a significant amount of time is vital. “We see a lot of older people who didn’t know the dangers of the sun. But now we see a lot of our younger clients who have had it ingrained in them from an early age to use sunscreen.”

Sunscreen is, in fact, vital to good skin health, Thompson says. 

“Sunbathing can feel amazing, but in the world of skin health, it really is best to minimize your exposure,” she says. “I’ve read 10 to 30 minutes of unfiltered rays first thing in the morning stimulates Vitamin D, which is crucial for feeling good. So, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that limited amount of fresh sunshine. However, for the healthiest skin long term, always wear sunscreen and reapply on sunny days.”

Premier Skin Clinic performs a PDO thread lift on a patient, a technique to lift sagging skin.


Men can use help, too

Both Thompson and Lorenzen say they have seen a definite increase in the number of men who are seeking help for their skin. 

“Men and women can take care of their skin the exact same way by finding products that work for their skin types,” Thompson says. “I have actually noticed that great skin on a man can really stand out. While many people like to enhance their complexion with the magic of makeup, that is not appealing to most men. Having glowing skin can make the rest of a 

man’s appearance stand out and give him a professional and polished appearance.

She says a common Botox injection is often referred to as “bro-tox” for guys. 

Signs of trouble

Some of the issues people have with their skin can be signs of serious conditions such as cancer, melasma or rosacea, Lorenzen says. 

For those and other conditions, going to a skin expert is the best course of action, which can include specialized treatments. Thompson says there are some treatment options that someone can perform at home. “They don’t necessarily work at the levels that medical spa technology does, but they can be fantastic for maintenance between treatments,” she says.  

But there are some devices marketed for sale to use at home that either don’t work or can cause other problems that aren’t easily corrected. 

One word of caution is to avoid invasive at-home devices such as microneedling pens or prefilled injectables,” Thompson says. “Unfortunately, we have seen the effects of these devices and products firsthand, and they can cause infection and scarring. 

Personalized regimen

Everyone should have a skin-care regimen that is unique and can include over the counter and medical grade products. 

“For those of us who are product junkies, we’ll have a more intensive routine that usually consists of cleansing twice a day, using a serum either during the day under a light moisturizer, or only at night,” Thompson  says. “For those concerned about maintaining a youthful skin barrier, it is important to use a good resurfacing and collagen building product for anti-aging, like a high-quality Vitamin C serum at night or a retinol a few times per week. If you love to get into the nitty gritty, using an eye cream or roll-on serum can be luxurious and a worthwhile investment.”

Difference is noticed

Nancy Grice of Bellvue says she goes to Harmony Skin & Wellness Clinic “to rest, relax and rejuvenate…I walk in as one person and walk out as another.”

Like many people in Colorado, Grice had dry, flaky skin. “I felt like my face was going to crack,” she says. 

She started working with the experts at the clinic to develop the right products for her skin. “As we age, we have different needs, and it’s nice to have someone who knows that,” Grice says. 

She says one of the outcomes of all of this work has been a noticeable improvement in her skin. “People who meet me tell me all the time that they can’t believe how nice my skin is,” she says. “Now I don’t even wear foundation and it is very liberating.” 


Jared Fiel is a writer in Northern Colorado.