In honor of National Healthy Skin Month, we’re devoting November to raising awareness about the skin, your body’s largest organ, and how to keep it vibrant and healthy. This week, we will discuss healthy lifestyle tips to help keep your skin looking its best.
According to Christian Millett, a board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, “While you can’t change some things about your skin, such as your skin type or certain hereditary skin conditions, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to keep your skin healthy. The appearance of your skin can be a strong indicator of your overall health, so use the following tips to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.”
- Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM, regardless of the season. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. If you are taking a ski trip or ice skating outdoors, be aware that the snow can reflect the sun’s rays, so it is especially important to use and reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
- Avoid Stress and Get Exercise
Stress has been proven to increase acne breakouts as well as worsen eczema and other skin conditions, so try to find ways to reduce it, such as yoga and meditation. Exercise can help you both reduce stress, as well as increase blood flow to your skin. Make sure to thoroughly shower and cleanse the skin after exercising and sweating.
- Eat Healthy
Eating certain foods and avoiding others can significantly improve your skin. Foods that have been linked to skin problems are those high in sugar, dairy products, and those containing unhealthy (trans) fats. Instead, add healthy foods to your diet, such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon) and healthy greens (kale), which can help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
- Limit Alcohol and Avoid SmokingDrinking alcohol in large amounts can cause a flare of a number skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. Drinking alcohol can also dehydrate the skin, which can cause it to look flaky, dry, and dull. Drinking plenty of water and limiting alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks can help you avoid these issues.
Inhalation of the many chemicals produced by smoking cigarettes can also cause damage to your skin in a number of ways. Smoking decreases the oxygen in the blood, constricts the blood vessels, and can lead to visible signs of premature ageing, such as wrinkles and discoloration.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Being sleep-deprived causes the body to release stress hormones, which can exacerbate a number of skin problems. Avoid this by regularly getting a full night sleep (7 to 8 hours). This will also optimize the secretion of human growth hormone, which promotes cell turnover and collagen production, keeping the skin glowing and looking fresh.
- Take Time to Rejuvenate Your Skin
If the winter air and seasonal stress of the holidays are leaving your skin looking dull and aged, there are cosmetic treatment options that can address these issues and more. Injections such as Botox and fillers like Resytlane or Juvederm can significantly improve lines and wrinkles. Other procedures such as laser or IPL treatments, chemical peels, and micro-needling can reduce redness, fade discolorations, and even improve the appearance of scars.
Regular use of a prescription topical retinoid can help unclog pores, reduce fine lines, lighten discolorations, and improve skin texture. While these creams can initially cause dryness, flaking, and redness, starting off gradually with every second or third night application can help your skin adjust.
Your Local Skin Experts at Forefront Dermatology are Here to Help
Establishing a relationship with a board-certified dermatologist is an important step you should take to keep your skin healthy, especially if you suffer from an itchy, painful, or irritating skin condition. If you or a family member have a skin concern or would like to schedule a consult, find the Forefront dermatologist nearest you to schedule an appointment or to learn more.