As the body’s largest organ, one’s skin is impossible to ignore. Despite its obvious importance, skin doesn’t always receive the attention and care that it needs. This failure isn’t always a result of intentional neglect, however. For some people, failure to care for their skin properly is due to a lack of knowledge regarding what it takes to keep it healthy. Even if a person has not been as diligent about skin care as he or she should have, it is never too late to take control of one’s skin care needs. With proper care, not only can a person keep his or her skin looking attractive, but they can also help to keep it healthy.
The sun is one of the biggest dangers to the health of one’s skin. Unprotected and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in skin cancer. Because of a thinning in the Earth’s ozone layer, the threat of UV exposure is heightened. Although people with paler skin and who are of European heritage are at greatest risk of skin cancer, people of all races should take precautions to protect their skin. In the United States, two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer annually.
Protecting one’s skin from the sun starts with using sunscreen. It should be a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides UVA/UVB protection. The sunscreen should also have an SPF of 15 or greater. It should be applied to skin at least 30 minutes before going outside, and used even on days when it is not visibly sunny. In addition to wearing sunscreen, people will want to protect their skin by avoiding prolonged sun exposure, like what occurs when sun bathing. Wearing a hat will also protect as much of one’s face as possible. On days that are not overly hot, long sleeves and pants should also be worn.
Skin Cleansing and Skincare
Cleanliness is another important aspect of skin care and is crucial for healthy skin. People should wash their bodies daily to prevent bacteria growth that can result in odors. Care should be taken, however, to avoid over washing as this can result in excessively dry skin due to washing away natural body oils. When bathing or showering, mild soap or moisturizing shower gels are best. In addition to choosing soap wisely, people should also use water that is not overly hot as this too can affect the skin. More frequent washing may be necessary depending on the person’s activities and contact with crowds, particularly during the cold and flu season.
Although people should wash their bodies once daily, their hands and face should be cleaned more often. A person should clean their face at least twice daily, once in the morning and again before bed. If wearing makeup, it should be thoroughly removed prior to cleansing. Hands require more frequent washing as they can easily spread infectious germs to other places on the body, including the face or in the mouth. Following showers and face washing, the application of a moisturizer or lotion will help to keep the skin moist and also help prevent premature wrinkling.
What people eat as a part of their daily diet affects the condition of their skin. Certain foods can make a person more likely to develop acne while other foods can help to keep the skin clearer and healthier. Food items that are high in unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates can have an aging effect on skin. Instead, people should choose food items that are generally considered healthy for the body. Fruits contain antioxidants, which combat free radicals that can make skin look tired, dull and aged. Healthy fats, such as what is found in fatty fish and nuts are also good for the skin. People should eat fresh vegetables, such as spinach and carrots. Carrots provide the body with beta carotene, while spinach contains vitamin C to protect against damage caused from the sun. Whole grains and eggs contain selenium which helps to improve the elasticity of the skin. What one drinks also can affect the health of their skin and make it look dull. Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol consumption as much as possible as both can dehydrate the skin. Drinking plenty of water during one’s day will help the circulatory system and, as a result, helps the skin to retain a healthy appearance.
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- WebMD: Skin Care Basics
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- Today Health – The Perfect Skin Diet: Ten Foods for Your Face