Keeping your skin healthy is crucial to your overall health. Skin is the body’s largest organ and one of its most amazing. It protects the body from temperature extremes and chemicals, helps us sense the world around us and even acts as a vitamin D production facility. Healthy skin doesn’t just function better—it looks better too when you take care of it. Below are a few tips to make sure your skins always looks and feels good.
There are seemingly limitless choices when it comes to skin care products. Keep in mind that skin care manufacturing standards vary a great deal from one company to another, which means that quality varies too. Rather than department or drug store items, use private label skincare products offered by the healthcare professionals or medical spas you trust.
Like all other organs, the skin is made up of cells and those cells are mostly water. Without the water they need, those cells cannot function properly. Thirsty skin appears flaky and dry and will eventually become prone to excessive wrinkling. Proper skin care requires that you stay well-hydrated all day, every day. Drink plenty of water and eat foods with high water content like grapes, watermelon and cucumber.
Water is a great start, but skin needs to be fed, too. It is no coincidence that many foods we already consider healthy are as good for skin as they are for other organs. Healthy fats such as those found in fish, nuts and avocados will help your skin’s elasticity and youthful appearance. Foods rich in anti-oxidants like green tea and pomegranates fight harmful free radicals. Eggs, beans and similar lean protein sources help build collagen and other compounds that make up the skin.
It is easy to focus on what you put into your body and what you put on your skin, but it is important to pay attention to what you take off your skin too. Remove grime and make up each night and remember to exfoliate regularly. Several methods of exfoliation are beneficial, so experiment to find out what works best for you. Mechanical methods include scrubs with ingredients like pumice or microbeads. Chemical exfoliators can be better for people with sensitive skin or those prone to acne or dark spots. Follow a schedule that brings out the best in your skin; in general, the more aggressive the method the less often you will do it. Avoid exfoliating open wounds, sunburns or cuts.
The ideal amount of sunlight will depend on the amount of melanin in your skin, but we all need sun. The World Health Organization reports that very low levels of sunlight exposure can lead to autoimmune diseases, whereas proper levels of sunlight can help with immune systems and neuromuscular function. Surprisingly, getting the appropriate amount of sun each day may even promote healthy skin. However, be sure you don’t get too much sun which can lead to skin cancer. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. wear sunscreen or clothing that covers arms and legs and remember a hat to shade your face.
You already know that smoking depletes skin’s oxygen by narrowing blood vessels and that it causes damage to the collagen and elastin critical to skin health. You may not realize it, but smoking also puts you at greater risk for some types of skin cancer. Put simply, don’t use any kind of tobacco. Period.
You have probably noticed that a lack of sleep shows on your face and there is a reason for that: sleep is essential for skin health. During sleep, the body releases a growth hormone essential in producing collagen. Sleep serves other purposes too, like suppressing the stress hormone cortisol, redistributing and replenishing fluids and bolstering your immune system.