Five Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Skin Health

Written by Dr. Jonathan Peterson, Updated on September 9th, 2019

elastic youthful skinBelow are five steps that you can take to preserve and enhance the health of your skin.

There are a lot of creams and products out there designed to make your skin look and feel healthier, and a lot of them work, but the best thing you can do for your skin is to treat it well. Understand that the more conscious you are of preserving your skin, the longer that you will maintain the health of your skin.


Limit Sun Exposure and Take Steps to Protect Your Skin

The sun has perhaps the most direct and significant impact upon skin health. Some level of sun exposure is healthy for the skin, of course, because it promotes the production of vitamin D. Evidence suggests, however, that you only need around 15 minutes of sun exposure to get the full production of this crucial sunlight-derived vitamin. Many people think that tanning makes them look more beautiful and spend excessive amounts of time in the sun or tanning beds. This may provide the short-term benefit of darker skin, but long-term, it increases the risk and incidence of age spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer.

To protect yourself from the sun, consider the following steps:

Sunblock! -- This should be obvious, but if you are staying out in the sun for more than about half an hour, you should besun protection putting on sunblock. SPF 15 is the gold standard, but you can get incrementally more benefit out of higher SPF creams. It's important to remember that sunscreen only provides temporary benefits, and you should apply more of the cream every couple of hours.

Stay in the Shade -- To protect yourself, one of the best things that you can do to enjoy a beautiful day outside is to find a nice shady spot to stay situated, especially during the peak hours of sunlight between ten a.m and four p.m.

Wear Clothing to Block the Sun -- It's more bearable than it sounds. Unless you're out for a day at the beach, consider wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts with a high thread count. If you wear reflective colors, this will provide more heat protection than you'd think. There are also some clothing stores which sell clothing items that are specifically designed to protect you from the sun.

Special Laundry Aids -- There are even particular products that you can buy which improve the ability of your clothing to protect you from the sun.

Don't Neglect Protection on an Overcast Day -- Just because there are a lot of clouds in the sky doesn't mean that your skin is safe. A significant amount of sunlight makes it through the clouds, and that sunlight will also reflect downward from the clouds, themselves.

Quit Smoking, or Never Start, for Healthy Skin

stop smoking for better skinAside from sun exposure, smoking is also a massive contributor to wrinkles and aging skin. This is because smoking changes the way that blood circulates to the surface, causing the capillaries which link the skin to the circulatory system to become constricted. As a result, the skin receives neither the full amount of oxygen nor nutrients needed to keep skin looking its best.

Also, smoking impacts the structural foundation of the skin by damaging elastin and collagen. These are structures in the surface which promote both the elasticity and the strength of the skin, which causes your skin to start sagging at an earlier age.

Finally, part of the reason that smoking contributes to wrinkles is that the muscle activities associated with smoking, wrapping one's lips around the cigarette and squinting one's eyes to block smoke, also increases the incidence of wrinkles.

All things considered, if you are a smoker, there's nothing you can do that will benefit your skin more than merely quitting smoking.

Be Easy on Your Skin

Deep cleansing and shaving every day can be rough on your skin. Here are some ways that you can soften up the process:

Take Short Showers with Warm Water -- Both hot water and long baths or showers drain your skin of essential oils which protect and sustain its health. By getting clean and getting out, you preserve the oil and fluid balance of your skin.

mild soapUse Mild Soaps -- Powerful soaps can also draw out these oils, leaving your skin dehydrated and more prone to premature aging.

Shave Cautiously -- Before shaving, make sure your skin is adequately lubricated for shaving with gel, lotion or shaving cream. To protect yourself from abrasiveness, also use a sharp, clean razor. Finally, shave as your hair grows to reduce irritation.

Don't Over-Dry -- After you get out of the shower or bathtub, don't scrub yourself down with your towel, dry yourself softly so that you leave a bit of moisture available to the skin.

Use Moisturizers -- Dry skin is unhealthy skin. Using moisturizers which match your skin profile will keep your skin healthy and exuberant. It can also be beneficial to use a moisturizer which includes sunscreen.

Eat Healthy for Healthy Skin

The foods that you eat encourage healthier skin. Moisturizers and sunblock can protect your skin, but they can't provide your skin with the vital nutrients that it can receive from a good diet. To provide your skin all of the necessary nutrients it needs, eat lean protein supplemented with whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. There is also evidence that processed carbohydrates and bad fats can contribute to acne and poor skin health. Eat healthy fats in conscientious portions, and make sure you get your vitamin C.

Control Stress for Healthy Skin

Stress can be terrible for your skin. Sympathetic nervous system response associated with anxiety and chronic stress increases the risk of hives, allergic reactions and acne, just to name a few. By taking the active steps to mitigate and control stress, you keep cortisol levels in check and promote the optimal production of hormones associated with good health such as Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone.

 

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