You are probably not aware of just how hard our skin works to keep us healthy and looking good. The skin acts as a barrier to protect our body from the environment. It also regulates temperature and detects and fights off infections. So, it is important to remember that, if you look after your skin, you will enable it to do its job even better.
There are a number of ways we can look after our skin to maintain our health and look good:-
Keeping skin clean and moisturised
We must bear in mind that too much washing or using harsh soaps can wash away the natural oils we need to keep our skin healthy. So, wash adequately and always use good quality mild soaps.
Moisturising protects your skin from the elements as well as preventing it from drying, therefore, it’s very important to moisturise your skin. There is a wide range of products to choose from and you don’t have to spend a fortune on them, as an expensive moisturiser is not necessarily more effective than a cheaper one. Do remember not to neglect your neck and chest, both of which we tend to forget in our daily skincare routine. The skin on these areas is thinner and needs more care than we normally give it.
If you have dry skin, don’t use harsh, alcohol-based products as these can irritate skin and dry it out. If you have oily skin, avoid oil-based products and choose water-based ones instead. Finally, if you wear make-up, always wash it off before going to bed to reduce the risk of bacteria building up on your skin.
Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the main cause of skin ageing and can cause skin cancer. It’s important to protect skin against sun damage at any age, but take special care with babies, children and young people. Serious sunburn before the age of 20 may double the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
To protect yourself, give preference to the shade between 11am and 3pm, use suitable clothing, hat and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun during peak hours, and use sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 at the very least.
Do not forget, however, that it is vital to spend some time in sunlight so that your body can make vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. Just be sensible about it.
There is strong evidence that links smoking to ageing of the skin and it is one of the main environmental factors in premature skin ageing. It is thought to cause the breakdown of collagen and reduce collagen production (collagen is a protein that supports skin strength) and results in wrinkles and a leathery complexion, which makes the skin look old before it should. Smoking also causes the tiny blood vessels in the skin to constrict, reducing the supply of oxygen to the skin. This is just one of the many reasons to stop smoking as soon as possible.
When you drink alcohol, your body and skin can become dehydrated, leaving the skin looking older and tired. It is extremely important to drink plenty of water to avoid your skin drying out but, when drinking alcohol, try to drink within recommended limits and have a non-alcoholic drink, such as water or fruit juice, between alcoholic drinks. Your skin and, indeed, the rest of your body will definitely benefit from that.
Don’t let late nights ruin your skin. If you’re deprived of sleep, this will make your skin look older and tired. A lack of sleep can also cause anxiety, irritation and depression which can cause more sleeplessness and the cycle continues. Make sure you get enough sleep to keep your skin looking healthy.
Stress can disrupt sleeping patterns, leaving you looking tired and feeling run-down and irritable. Therefore, if you suffer from stress, consider taking up an activity, such as running, swimming or yoga. Regular exercise is a great outlet for stress, resulting in your skin looking and feeling vibrant.
These tips – along with a nutritious, healthy diet – will help us help our skin look good and protect our body. Sometimes, however, we need a little extra help and we are fortunate that nowadays that extra help is at hand. Most of us lead busy and somewhat stressful lives but the advances in aesthetic medicine, regenerative medicine and cosmetic treatments can help us achieve even better results for our skin and our appearance.