Top 5 habits for healthy skin
Your busy lifestyle leaves little time for pampering skin care. The
result: Your skin isn't the baby-soft body glove with which you were
born. With age, your skin gradually becomes thinner and finely
wrinkled. Oil-producing (sebaceous) glands grow less active leaving
your skin drier. The number of blood vessels in your skin decreases,
your skin becomes more fragile, and you lose your youthful color and
Good skin care - such as avoiding the sun, washing your skin
gently and applying moisturizer regularly - can help delay the natural
aging process and prevent many skin problems. These simple skin-care
habits will help you protect your skin to keep it healthy and glowing
for years to come.
1. Protect yourself from the sun
The best way to take care of
your skin is to protect it from the sun. Ultraviolet light - the
invisible but intense rays of the sun - damages your skin, causing deep
wrinkles, dry, rough skin, liver spots, and more serious disorders,
such as noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) skin tumors.
the sun during high-intensity hours. The sun's rays are most damaging
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reduce the time you spend outdoors during these
Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with clothing, such
as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also, keep in
mind that certain clothing styles and fabrics offer better protection
from the sun than do others. For example, long-sleeved shirts offer
better protection than short-sleeved shirts do. And tightly woven
fabrics such as denim are better than loosely woven fabrics such as
Use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen liberally 20 minutes before
going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or
after being in water.
2. Don't smoke
Smoking can accelerate the normal aging
process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles. Skin changes from
smoking can be seen in young adults who have been smoking for as few as
10 years. Smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the
outermost layers of skin. This decreases blood flow, depleting the skin
of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin
health. All of these factors increase damage to the elastic fibers
(elastin) and collagen which give your skin strength and elasticity. In
addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking -
such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep
out smoke - may contribute to wrinkles. It's also possible that
repeated exposure to the heat from burning cigarettes may damage your
facial skin over time.
3. Wash your skin gently
Cleaning is an essential part of
caring for your skin. The key is to treat your skin gently. Use warm
water and limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove
oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time to about 15 minutes
or less, and use warm, rather than hot, water. Avoid strong soaps.
Strong soaps - those most capable of stripping oil from your skin - can
leave your skin dry. Instead, choose mild soaps with oils and fats
added to them during the soap manufacturing process. Avoid irritating
additives. If your skin is sensitive, avoid products containing
perfumes or dyes. These can irritate your skin and may trigger an
allergic response. Remove eye makeup carefully. Use a soft sponge,
cotton cloth or cotton balls when removing eye makeup to avoid damaging
the delicate tissue around your eyes. Pat dry. After washing or
bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some
moisture remains on the skin. Immediately moisturize your skin with an
oil or cream.
4. Moisturize regularly
Moisturizers help maintain your
skin's natural moisture levels. They work by providing a seal over your
skin - to keep water from escaping - or by slowly releasing water into
your skin. Select a moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of
at least 15 to help protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet rays.
If you have sensitive skin, look for products free of heavy dyes,
perfumes or other additives. If your skin is very dry, you may want to
apply an oil, such as baby oil, while your skin is still moist. Oil has
more staying power than moisturizers do and prevents the evaporation of
water from the surface of your skin.
5. Shave carefully
Shaving is a common and inexpensive way to
remove unwanted hair. But shaving can cause skin irritations,
especially if your skin is thin, dry or very sensitive. For a smooth
shave: Press a warm wash cloth on your skin before shaving to soften
the hair. Or shave after a warm bath or shower. Don't shave dry skin,
which can cause razor burn. Apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before
shaving to protect and lubricate your skin. Use a clean, sharp razor.
If using an electric razor, don't use the closest setting, which can
irritate the skin. Shave in the direction of hair growth, not against
it. Rinse your skin afterwards with warm water.