Treat Your Skin Gently

Friday, January 20, 2017

Your skin is your body’s largest and fastest growing organ, and it serves a multitude of indispensable functions, the most obvious is keeping your insides, well, inside. But your skin does so much more! It helps keep you warm when it’s cold outside, and it helps keep you cool when it’s hot outside. It creates a barrier against environmental hazards like water, dirt and germs. It also allows provides one of your five senses – the sense of touch. And it serves as an integral part of sexual attraction.

Taking care of your skin just makes good sense, but there has has been a wealth of misinformation, outdated practices, and old wives’ tales about the best methods for caring for your birthday suit. The Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected medical facilities in the world, offers a few simple tips for keeping your skin in touchable condition.

  1. Use sunscreen. A generation of sun worshippers who spent hours per day working on the ‘perfect tan’ has resulted in a generation of people suffering from wrinkles, age spots, leathery skin and an increased risk of skin cancer. The Mayo Clinic recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and reapplying every two hours.
  2. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke…quit. Smoking constricts the tiny blood vessels in the outermost skin layers, decreasing blood flow which depletes your skin of essential oxygen and nutrients. Smoking damages collagen and elastin, resulting in decreased skin strength and elasticity, and ultimately contributing to wrinkles and sagging skin.
  3. Be gentle with your skin. Bathe in warm, not hot water, and use a mild cleanser rather than a harsh soap which can strip the skin of its natural oils. Pat your skin, allowing some of the moisture from your bath or shower to remain on your skin, then use a moisturizer to lock the moisture in.
  4. Eat right. A healthy diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, will help you look and feel your best. Some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates may promote younger looking skin.
  5. Manage your stress level. Stress is inevitable, and some stress is a necessary part of life. But too much stress, when left unmanaged, can lead to a plethora of health issues, including acne breakouts, atopic dermatitis and eczema. For healthy skin, and a healthy state of mind, the Mayo Clinic recommends setting reasonable limits, scaling back your to-do list and making time to do the things you enjoy.