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One Small Change – Skin Health

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With summer quickly approaching skin health is a hot topic! (Pun intended. 😉)

Did you know your skin is the body’s largest organ?  It serves many functions, including protecting us from harmful bacteria, viruses, and environmental pollution and chemicals. Our skin also helps us regulate our body temperature, maintain fluid balance, communicate important pain signals to warn of danger and acts as a barrier to harmful UV rays.

The health of our skin is affected by several factors, some of which we have control over and others which we don’t.   While factors such as genetics, aging, hormones, and certain health conditions are out of our hands, other external influences and lifestyle choices are 100% controllable. The right skin care routine and lifestyle choices can reduce damage and promote healthy, glowing skin.  Here are some tips to get started!

 

  • Eat a healthful diet. What you put IN your body may be even more important than what you put ON it when it comes to skin health. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. There is some science suggesting that a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote more youthful looking skin.

 

  • Drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep your skin well hydrated to maintain an adequate, intact barrier against the outside world. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces and maybe more during exercise and warmer weather.

 

  • Keep your stress levels in check. Research suggests that too much stress can cause heightened skin sensitivity and trigger acne and other skin issues. Make sure to manage your stress by getting plenty of sleep, setting healthy boundaries, creating more time affluence in your life, and participating in activities like meditation and exercise.

 

  • Treat your skin kindly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing gently twice a day to remove dirt, bacteria, and make-up. Wash with warm water and a gentle cleanser, taking care to not scrub too aggressively.  Follow up with a moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated.

 

  • Protect yourself from the sun and other harmful UV rays. It’s been estimated that 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun. It’s also been shown that regular daily use of an SPF-15 or higher sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanoma by 50%!  The moral of the story is never leave the house without sunscreen and avoid intense sun exposure by seeking out shade and wearing protective clothing. 

 

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to wrinkles and makes your skin look older while also increasing your risk of squamous cell skin cancer. 

 

  • Talk to your health care provider about any skin concerns and always ask for a skin cancer check at your annual wellness exam.

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