While skin is a living organ that frequently regenerates itself, the right care can improve its support, elasticity and shine. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent various skin problems.
Protect yourself from the sun
One of the most important means to care for the skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems, as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.
Using sunscreen when outdoors, staying in shade especially at peak hours from 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and wearing protective clothing are among ways to ensure protection from the sun.
One option is to consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings. Special sun-protective clothing are also an alternative – these are clothing specifically designed to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Smoking makes the skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin which decreases blood flow. This deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are vital in skin health.
Smoking also damages collagen and elastin, which are the fibers that give skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions done when smoking (such as the pursing of lips when inhaling and squinting eyes to keep out smoke) also contribute to wrinkles.
The best way for smokers to protect skin is to quit.
Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can have a negative effect on skin. One manner of ‘keeping it gentle’ is to limit bath time. Hot water and long showers remove oils from the skin. It is better to limit bath or shower time, and to use warm water, instead of hot.
Strop soap and detergents also strip oil from the skin. Avoid using strong soap, and go for mild cleansers instead.
When shaving, shave carefully. Protect and lubricate the skin by applying shaving cream, lotion or gel prior to shaving. Use a clean, sharp razor and shave in the direction that the hair grows.
After washing or bathing, gently pat skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin. If the skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider using a moisturizer that contains SPF.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Although the association between diet and acne is vague, research still suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.
Uncontrolled stress actually makes skin more sensitive and more likely to trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind, take steps to manage stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back on your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy.
The results might be more dramatic than expected.
(Mayo Clinic Staff/mayoclinic.org)