Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your entire body? Human skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and the subcutaneous layers. Sun exposure, too much cleansing, and other factors can all damage the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin.
To keep your skin beautifully healthy, follow these tips:
1) Protect yourself from the sun. One of the most important ways to take care of your 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.
- Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. When you are outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours — or more often if you are swimming or perspiring. Also, be sure to use sunscreen every day—UV rays can harm your skin even through clouds.
- Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Protect your eyes. We all know that the sun can damage skin, but did you know it can contribute to eye problems, too? Protect your face and eyes with a hat and sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
- Avoid tanning beds. If you want the glow of a tan, try faking it with self-tanners or salon spray-on treatments. Avoid tanning beds. They still contain some of the same harmful UV rays as the sun.
2) Treat your skin gently. Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
- Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm— rather than hot—water.
- Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
- Do not scrub. Over-washing and scrubbing can irritate your skin. Gently massage your face in circular motions.
- Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.
- Moisturize your skin. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin. Also, if your skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturizer that contains SPF.
- Remove your makeup. Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. Make sure you throw away old makeup that smells or looks different from when you first bought it.
3) Don’t smoke.
- Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles.
- Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health.
- Smoking also damages collagen and elastin, which give your skin strength and elasticity.
- The repetitive facial expressions made when smoking can also contribute to wrinkles.
4) Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Olive oil, nuts, tomatoes, and leafy greens like spinach all have antioxidants that help blocks chemical reactions that lead to sun damage.
- Fish also has omega-3 fatty acids that keep skin-cell membranes strong and elastic.
5) Manage stress. Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind, take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy.
Visit University Hall’s lounge at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 23rd for free facials, food, fun and facts about skin care!
Written by Carol Fritz, Peer Educator