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The Basics of Good Skin Care:

Many people don’t realize that your skin, which is the body's largest organ, works as an active barrier regulating the relationship between the external environment and your body. The passage of elements through your skin is a24/7 process. Among the substances it regulates are air, chemicals, drugs and perspiration. In addition to this regulation, your skin plays a vital role in your health and well-being and serves many functions:

  1. Helps to regulate body temperature
  2. Protects against injury
  3. Prevents infection

What you need to know to care for your skin:

Good skin care, which includes practices such as cleansing, moisturization and sun protection, can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Good skin care should be considered a daily routine that is practiced throughout your life time. It is as important as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. There are five main components to a healthy skin care routine:

Cleanse and moisturize daily.

Your skin accumulates a daily dose of dirt and grime simply from your routine activities. If you’re outdoors for a good part of the day, or if you’re in an occupation that causes you to perspire a lot, you will want to make sure to shower or bathe everyday. The only exception to this good practice is if you’re under a doctor’s care for a skin condition that may not respond well to daily bathing. If this is the case consult with your doctor.

Your skin has an important layer of natural oils called the lipid belayed that can easily be stripped away by very hot showers or baths. So try to use lukewarm water and a gentle skin cleanser. Resist the urge to take a steamy hot shower or bath on a freezing cold day. The use of non-soap cleansing bars and lotions is excellent for sensitive skin.

When you emerge from your bath or shower, don’t rub your skin vigorously. Rather, pat dry and apply a moisturizer within five minutes. The use of an effective moisturizer helps to lock in a precious layer of hydration.

Wash your face twice a day. You may be tempted to wash more often especially if you have oily skin, but don’t. Once again, you will be removing too much of your skin’s lipid layer and your skin may actually try to compensate by producing more oil. Instead of frequent washing, try splashing cool water on your face when you feel the urge to wash, and pat dry gently. The use of blotting tissues can also help eliminate that “oily” feeling from areas such as your forehead or the “T” zone, the area running down the centre of your face.

Do use a moisturizer regularly. Moisturizing is necessary for everyone, even if you have oily skin. Moisturizers help maintain your skin's natural moisture levels. The moisturizer that's best for you and the frequency with which you need to use it depends on many factors, including your skin type, your age and whether you have specific conditions such as acne, dry skin, oily skin or atopic dermatitis.

Select a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 to help protect your skin from the sun. If you have sensitive skin, look for sunscreens with natural physical sunscreen ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Look for products that are fragrance-free.

Block the sun

Invisible rays from the sun, called ultraviolet rays, often referred to as UVA and UVB, have been shown to lead to the development of wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, age spots, and potentially pre-cancerous or cancerous growths. In order to avoid these harmful rays you need to:

  • Limit sun exposure during high intensity hours. Reduce the time you spend outdoors during the hours between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is when the sun's rays are the most damaging.
  • Use sunscreen. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15. Apply liberally 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water. If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF. If you are a water-lover, look for a sunscreen that says it’s waterproof on the label.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with clothing. Keep in mind that certain clothing styles and fabrics, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats, offer better protection from the sun than others. Since it may not be practical to be covered in long sleeves and pants in the warmer weather months, make sure to apply liberal amounts of sunscreen to all exposed areas.
  • Don’t ignore incidental sun exposure. Incidental sun exposure is what you get from walking the dog on a sunny day, driving in your car (glass does not protect the skin from UVA sun rays) or running errands. The sun is everywhere and can damage your skin.
  • Don’t tan. It’s as simple as that. Tanning is bad for your skin and every year the number of people developing skin cancer grows. Opt for a great self-tanning product or go to a salon that offers “spray tans.” They’re safe and natural looking when used in moderation, but they do not offer sun protection. You still need to use a sunscreen.

Seek professional help for skin problems

Your skin is not going to be perfect. It may come close or be way off. It can be dry or oily. It can develop rashes, dry, itchy patches, scaliness and acne, among many other issues. Address the problem with a professional skin expert, a dermatologist is the best place to get help for skin problems.

Examine your skin

You should be the person who is most familiar with your skin. Every month you should examine your entire body to monitor for any changes. If you have a question or concern, it is best to call your dermatologist right away. These changes could range from a simple mole or rough patch to something as serious as skin cancer.

Get a professional body check once a year

Watch for changes in your skin and point them out as you see them develop. A professional skin check annually can help save your life, preventing potentially life-threatening skin cancers such as melanoma from advancing in depth and size. Since you can’t see the back of your body with great clarity, a skin check is a must. Melanomas often occur in men on their backs and upper arms, while women may develop them on the backs of their legs.

Don’t Smoke.

It is not good for your health and accelerates the aging process of your skin. It actually increases the potential for wrinkles. Your skin can show changes from smoking after only five years.

Practical Tips
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