You can often tell a lot about a person’s age, health, and lifestyle habits by looking at their skin.
It’s the first thing people often notice and has to hold up against the elements, which is why your skin deserves some TLC.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and works hard to protect against toxins and germs from the environment. The skin helps regulate body temperature, acts as a barrier against the cold and sun rays, and allows your body to feel sensations such as pressure, itching, and pain. Your skin stores water, fat and metabolic products, produces hormones vital for bodily functions, and constantly works to fight off free radicals and rid the body of toxins.
September is Healthy Aging Month
The skin works overtime in the summer when it is exposed to harmful sun rays, pool and yard chemicals, and excessive heat and humidity. Fall is a good time to assess the state of your skin and daily habits that contribute to signs of premature aging.
Incorporate these nine skincare tips into your daily routine to keep your skin looking soft, smooth, and healthy.
1. Wear sunscreen every day
Dermatologists and skin care specialists preach the importance of wearing sunscreen. A good sunscreen protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause sunburns, dark spots, wrinkles, premature skin damage, and skin cancer. For the best protection, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. The SPF rating protects against UVB rays, not UVA, so broad-spectrum protection is important. If you are active, make sure it holds up if you sweat or swim. You should remember to wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy as well as in the wintertime. To be effective, sunscreen must also be applied in adequate amounts and reapplied every two hours. Try a moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen if you don’t want to add another product to your beauty routine.
2. Wash your face at night
It is easy to get lazy and head to bed with your makeup still on. This is a skincare no-no. Just as you brush your teeth at night, you should make washing your face before bed a daily habit. Healthy Aging Month is a great time to make this new habit!
3. Exfoliate on the regular
Exfoliation helps remove dirt, blackheads, blemishes and dead skin cells. It also promotes healthy cell turnover, stimulates collagen synthesis, boosts circulation, and generally rejuvenates the skin. Aim to exfoliate twice a week, but don’t over-exfoliate and be on the lookout for signs of skin irritation. Use a gentle exfoliator and avoid rough washcloths and loofahs because they can irritate the skin.
4. Be mindful of your diet, reduce sugar intake
Diet plays a huge role in your overall skin health. Acne is in part caused by inflammation and infection of the sebaceous glands of the skin. Cutting back on saturated and hydrogenated fats, processed foods, and sugar can help prevent acne, a psoriasis flare, and other skin conditions.
Make sure your diet includes fresh fish, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and skin-loving antioxidants. Skip the chips and sweets and opt for raw vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, oranges, and blueberries as a healthy snack.
5. Monitor room temperature
Hot air can dry out skin, especially in the winter when the heater seems to run nonstop. Use a humidifier in your house or bedroom to keep moisture in the air and counteract the effects of forced air and indoor heat. Even sitting too close to a heat source, such as a space heater, can be harmful. The constant heat can break down collagen and thin or dry out the skin.
In addition, cold weather can be harsh on skin, leading to chapped lips, dry and irritated skin, and early signs of aging. It’s best to avoid both extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures due to the negative impact on skin. During the winter months, make sure to use gentle cleansers, liberally apply moisturizer or body oil, limit hot showers and baths, wear SPF protection, and drink plenty of water.
6. Stay hydrated
Speaking of water, hydration is another important factor for good skin and overall health. You lose water in large amounts every single day through sweat and urination. Drinking plenty of water and limiting caffeinated drinks and excessive alcohol intake are healthy habits to consider during Healthy Aging Month.
7. Remember your neck, chest, and hands
These body parts are often exposed to the elements and get a fair amount of sun exposure, especially if you work outside. Daily tasks such as gardening and washing dishes, exposure to harsh chemicals, or regularly working with your hands also can take a toll. These areas often start to wrinkle first and show early signs of aging. Give your neck, chest, and hands some TLC by exfoliating regularly, using a good moisturizer, and applying sunscreen every day.
8. Research your skincare products
Everyone wants younger-looking skin. People often look to skincare products and cosmetic procedures as a quick fix. Marketers are savvy at making claims that creams and serums will reduce wrinkles and give you a youthful glow. However, some anti-aging creams, serums, and makeup are ineffective, too strong or thick, clog pores, and have toxic ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or plan to try a new product, make sure to research it first. Stop using it if you notice a rash or have an allergic reaction.
9. Schedule an annual checkup with your dermatologist
Your skin is constantly changing. If you frequently sunburned as a child, used a tanning bed regularly or have started noticing dark spots or changes to moles, make sure to visit your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. Yearly exams can help detect skin cancer and other medical issues in the early stages. Your dermatologist also can treat and manage chronic skin conditions, and address other concerns.
APDerm offers a variety of medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology services backed by a team of skincare experts. Highly trained board-certified dermatologists provide professional, individualized care and are dedicated to addressing your skincare concerns. Contact APDerm today and practice good skincare habits throughout the year as well as healthy aging month!
Call us at (978) 297-8420 or fill out the form below to request an appointment or more information.