15 Tips for Healthy Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s important to take good care of it. Because the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has designated November as “Healthy Skin Month,” our board-certified dermatologists want to share with you our top 15 tips to keep your skin healthy.
Protect your skin
An estimated 3.5 million Americans are reported to have skin cancer every year. One of the main goals of National Healthy Skin Month is to remind the public of ways they can reduce their risk of skin cancer.
1. The best way, of course, is to avoid the sun, especially during peak-burn hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2. Always use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, even if you’re indoors and sitting near windows. Recent studies show that UV light penetrates glass far more than previously thought.
3. When outdoors, always wear a hat with a wide brim of at least four inches, as well as clothing made of sun-protective fabric (UV rays can penetrate ordinary thin cloth).
4. Be careful of reflected light, which can even “bounce” beneath a sun umbrella. Anything white, including sand and concrete, will magnify the UV rays, and light reflecting off water is notorious for causing unanticipated sunburns.
5. Avoid tanning beds.
6. Examine your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. Look for new or unusual spots, as well as anything that has changed, becomes itchy, or bleeds. Remember that 95 percent of all skin cancers can be cured if caught early.
7. If you smoke (or use e-cigarettes), the nicotine narrows the tiny capillaries that bring blood to the surface of the skin, inhibiting the renewal of cells and the removal of toxins. And cigarette smoke itself is full of hundreds of toxins that end up circulating in your bloodstream and are then conveyed to your skin.
Baby your skin
8. Wash your face every day and after exercising. Moisturize your skin daily, whether with lotion or cream. The best time to apply moisturizer is while skin is still damp from your shower or bath, which helps lock in the water your skin has absorbed.
9. Know what type of skin you have—oily, dry, combination, normal, or sensitive—and choose skin care products specifically tailored to that skin type. If you have a question about which products to use, especially if you have sensitive skin, please talk to us. We can help you select the appropriate skin care products.
10. Hot water dries skin, and causes redness and irritation in those with sensitive skin. Lukewarm water works just as well. And don’t scrub. Gentle cleansing removes dirt without removing natural oils needed to protect the skin’s surface. Pat skin dry after cleansing.
Nourish your skin
11. Exercise bathes the skin with blood, facilitating the turnover of old skin cells and promoting the growth of newer cells. In addition, it promotes the circulation of lymphatic fluid, which is the body’s way of removing waste and delivering nutrients. Vigorous exercise boosts circulation, which increases cell turnover and helps control inflammation, but even a quick walk around the block will yield benefits.
12. Water moisturizes skin from the inside out, as well as flushing out toxins and plumping up skin cells, so aim to drink 64 ounces per day.
13. Fats, refined flour, and highly processed foods as well as fried foods, and proteins can all break down the elastin and collagen you need to keep your skin looking healthy. Try to eat the recommended five fruits and vegetables a day, as well as lean protein like salmon, while avoiding saturated fats. Also focus on such foods as olive oil, nuts, avocados, berries, and flaxseeds that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. And avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which tend to pull water from the skin’s cells. The Mediterranean diet is best for the skin and anti-aging in general.
14. Sugary foods increase your blood sugar, triggering damaging inflammation throughout the body, including on the skin. In addition, sugar causes a process known as glycation, which damages collagen, the substance that supports skin and prevents wrinkles, so avoid it as much as possible.
15. When you don’t receive the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night, excess cortisol builds up. This fight-or-flight hormone attacks cells throughout the body, interfering with their ability to renew themselves. In addition to getting enough sleep, sleep on your back to prevent permanent wrinkling of your cheeks and chin. If that isn’t possible try a silk pillowcase.
If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, or if you have a question about how to keep your skin healthy, please talk to us.