There is no need to spend hours on skin care every day in order to have healthy, beautiful skin.
Just following some simple steps and making some lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Here are the basics of good skin care:
1. Protect yourself from the sun
One of the best 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.
There are a few simple things you can do to protect your skin from the sun:
- -Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
- -Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest.
- -Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block UV rays.
- -Limit your time in the sun. If you can't avoid being in the sun, limit your exposure as much as possible.
2. Don't smoke
Smoking not only harms your health, but it can also take a toll on your appearance. The habit can make your skin look older and contribute to wrinkles.
Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow and makes skin paler. This also depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health.
Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that 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 — can contribute to wrinkles.
Smoking is a major cause of premature skin aging. If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so it's important to take care of it. To keep your skin 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 milder cleansers.
- Gently pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
- Moisturize dry skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturizer that contains SPF.
By taking these steps, you can help keep your skin feeling soft, smooth and healthy.
4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important for many reasons. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy, and avoid diseases. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help you get the nutrients your body needs.
The connection between diet and acne is not clear. However, some research suggests that a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements, and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates, might promote younger-looking skin. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated.
Making healthy food choices can be challenging. However, there are many resources available to help you make informed decisions about what to eat. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you have questions about how to create a healthy diet that is right for you.
5. Manage stress
If you're like most people, you probably deal with some stress on a daily basis. But did you know that stress can take a toll on your skin?
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. Get enough sleep, set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
So take some time for yourself, relax and let your skin reap the benefits. Your complexion will thank you for it!
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