Are you taking care of your body’s largest organ—your skin? Skin is vitally important. It performs many functions that are essential to the body’s health and well-being, like protecting internal organs and regulating temperature. Caring for our skin is important to our overall health. But it’s natural that we want it to look good too. Luckily, many of the same measures we can take to keep it healthy will also help it look young and more blemish-free.
Control sun exposure.
The single biggest factor you can control in your skin’s appearance is sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can penetrate the skin to cause damage. This can lead to problems like wrinkles, liver spots, thickening skin, and both benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) skin tumors. Take these steps to protect your skin from sun damage.
Wear sunscreen year-round.
Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Look for sunscreen labeled as broad spectrum to ensure that it blocks both types of UV rays. And don’t forget to protect your lips—use lip balm with SPF protection. Make it convenient to protect your skin everyday by keeping both lotion and lip balm handy in your bathroom.
Limit midday sun.
Limit time spent outdoors when the sun is at its peak, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Consider tightly woven fabrics, wide-brimmed hats, and wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection. A wet T-shirt at the beach offers practically no UV protection.
Don’t tan on purpose.
There’s no such thing as a healthy “base” tan. All tanning, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, is a sign of skin damage. Not only does it increase your risk for skin cancer, it also can eventually make skin wrinkly and leathery.
Kick the habit.
Another important step in keeping your skin healthy and young looking is not smoking. Cigarette smoking can cause skin discoloration and premature wrinkling.
Keep your skin moist to diminish fine wrinkles and prevent skin from cracking or flaking. Limit showers to no more than five to 10 minutes, and use warm instead of hot water. Hot water removes natural oils from the skin more quickly.
Seal in moisture.
While in the shower, choose a mild, fragrance-free soap that moisturizes. After you’re done, pat skin dry with a towel. Then, within three minutes, apply a moisturizer to seal in moisture. Moisturizers work best when the skin is still damp.
Eat a healthy diet and drink water.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated. Drinking adequate amounts of fluids and getting proper nutrition (rich in antioxidants) also help keep skin hydrated and healthy.