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How to Keep Your Skin Healthy
The skin is your body's largest organ and your first line of defense against bacteria and environmental hazards. The health of your skin is important because it protects you from the outside world.
Your skin plays many roles, from cooling the body down with sweat to absorbing vitamin D. Your skin can also give you signals about your health, such as reacting to allergens to changing different colors if you get cancer in a certain area of the body. This makes your skin’s appearance a key to understanding your body’s overall health.
Maintaining healthy skin will protect your body’s initial defense system as well as improve your overall appearance. Here are some ways you can practice good skin care to keep your skin healthy as you age.
Protect Your Skin from The Sun
When you go outside, the sun’s rays can damage your skin. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, aging, and wrinkling, all of which can be prevented if you take precautions to protect your skin.
Some ways you can protect your skin from the sun include:
- Wear sunscreen. A sunscreen of at least 30 SPF will protect you from 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.1 You should make sure you lather sunscreen on all areas that could be exposed to the sun, including your arms, legs, neck, and back. A good rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially when swimming or working out.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Long, lightweight shirts and pants can help protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Wide brimmed hats can also keep the sun’s rays off your face.
- Avoid the sun during the hottest parts of the day. The hottest part of the day usually occurs 3 to 5 hours after noon, depending on the time of year. You should avoid going outside when the sun is at its peak to prevent sunburns.2
- Treat sun damage immediately. If you get a sunburn, treat it immediately. By letting a sunburn go and going outside without taking precautions, the sun’s rays can cause further damage to your skin if it isn’t fully healed.
Practice Good Skincare
Having a good skincare routine can help your skin stay healthy. Here are some basic skin care tips you can follow, no matter your skin type.
Practicing proper shaving techniques will keep your skin healthy and prevent cuts or razor burns. This includes wetting the skin to soften your hair and ensuring that the skin’s surface is free of excess oils and dirt. You should also use shaving cream and always shave in the same direction your hair grows. Your razor needs to be clean with a sharp blade.3
Avoid Irritating Soaps and Cleansers
Manufacturers design soaps and cleansers to make your skin feel clean and wash away dead skin cells. However, some soaps can change the pH of your skin, which can cause chemical imbalances such as dryness. Soap can also wash away good bacteria needed to keep your body healthy. Some soaps and cleansers have also been found to strip away oils and moisture, which can worsen skin conditions such as acne.4
Limit Your Bath or Shower Time
It might feel nice to take a hot shower, but hot water can dry out your skin. It is recommended that you use warm water rather than cold water or water on a hot setting. You should also only spend three to five minutes washing yourself because the longer you stay in the water, the more it affects your hair and skin.5
Smoking is a habit that can cause premature damage to your skin such as visible aging and wrinkles. There are over 4,000 toxins found in cigarettes that are linked to damaging collagen, which helps keep your skin youthful. As a result, the skin will age quicker with visible sagging and age spots.6
Another way smoking damages your skin is it causes the blood vessels in your skin to narrow. This reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your skin cells have. Furthermore, the un-inhaled smoke can damage your skin and prolong the healing of cuts and scrapes.7
While skin damage from smoking cannot be reversed, by quitting smoking now, you can protect your skin and prevent further skin problems.
Your overall skin health is affected by what you eat each day. You should eat a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables while avoiding foods with extra sugars.
Some vitamins and minerals found within food that affect your overall skin health include:
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been proven to affect your body’s collagen levels. Collagen is a protein found in your skin, bones, and tissues that keeps your skin healthy and aids in the reparation of wounds.8 Foods with high vitamin C content include oranges, lemons, tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers, and kiwis.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A has been found to impact skin health by helping to maintain the tissues on your skin. Some sources of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, collard greens, papayas, and red peppers.9
- Zinc. Zinc is the most common mineral and can be found in every cell of your body. Zinc plays a role in wound healing and preventing skin conditions such as acne.10 Zinc can be found in oysters, lobsters, chicken, milk, almonds, and yogurt.11
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E is considered an anti-inflammatory agent found within the skin because it protects the skin from UV exposure. Vitamin E also plays a role in the wound healing process.12 Foods that are a good source of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin, and mangos.13
Get Enough Sleep
You may have heard the phrase “beauty sleep,” which refers to the idea of getting enough sleep to maintain your appearance. You might be surprised to find out that there is science that links sleep to your skin health.
Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself, and your body will work to take care of any sunburns, wrinkles, and age spots it can. A poor night’s sleep can cause pale skin, dark under-circle eyes, and wrinkles.14
Some ways you can get enough rest include:
- Don’t use your phone before bedtime
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time
- Avoid eating before bed
- Sleep in a comfortable environment
- Exercise daily
Take Care Of Your Skin
It’s important to have a routine to maintain healthy skin throughout your lifetime. Start taking steps to properly care for your skin so you can help prevent skin conditions.
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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “How to Choose the Right Sunscreen.” Saber Healthcare Group. 28 May 2021. Accessed 7 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-sunscreen
- “The Hottest And Coldest Time Of The Day – When They Occur And Why.” Own Your Weather. Accessed 7 July 2022. Link: https://ownyourweather.com/hottest-and-coldest-time-of-the-day/#:~:text=The%20hottest%20time%20of%20the%20day%20typically%20occurs%203%20to,emitting%20heat%20into%20the%20atmosphere.
- “HAIR REMOVAL: HOW TO SHAVE.” American Academy of Dermatology. 7 July 2022. Link: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/hair/how-to-shave
- Brannon, Heather. Gallagher, Casey. “Is Soap Bad for Your Skin?” VeryWellHealth. 9 July 2022. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-soap-does-to-your-skin-1069544
- Frysch, Paul. “How Often Should You Shower?” WebMD. 17 August 2021. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/shower-how-often#:~:text=Shoot%20for%203%20to%205,for%20most%20types%20of%20hair.
- Ambardekar, Nayana. “Slideshow: Surprising Ways Smoking Affects Your Looks and Life.” WebMD. 13 November 2021. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/ss/slideshow-ways-smoking-affects-looks
- “Is it true that smoking causes wrinkles?” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 19 November 2020. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/expert-answers/smoking/faq-20058153
- “5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Vitamin C.” Saber Healthcare Group. 4 September 2020. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/5-vitamin-c-benefits
- Kubala, Jillian. Jones, Jeryl. “Vitamin A: Benefits, Deficiency, Toxicity, and More.” Healthline Media. 6 April 2022. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a
- “Zinc.” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/zinc
- “Zinc.” National Institutes of Health. Last Updated 7 December 2021. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
- “Vitamin E and Skin Health.” Oregon State University. 8 July 2022. Link: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E#:~:text=Vitamin%20E%20has%20been%20considered,all%20signs%20of%20skin%20inflammation.
- “Vitamin E.” The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/
- Aswell, Sarah. Cobb, Cynthia. “6 Ways to Maximize Your Beauty Sleep for #WokeUpLikeThis Skin.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Accessed 8 July 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/beauty-sleep