Does your skin glow with health?
Your skin works hard to keep you healthy and you can return the favour by taking care of it. Here are some tips to help you keep your skin looking and feeling good.
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. A blistering sunburn before the age of 20 may double the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
To protect yourself, don’t go in the sun between 11am and 3pm, cover up with clothing, hat and sunglasses, and use suncream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
It is thought that smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity by causing the breakdown of collagen and reducing collagen production (collagen is a protein that supports skin strength). Collagen naturally degrades as we get older, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Smoking makes this happen sooner. Smoking also causes the tiny blood vessels in the skin to constrict, reducing the supply of oxygen to the skin.
When you drink alcohol, your body and skin can become dehydrated, leaving the skin looking older and tired. Drink plenty of water to avoid drying out your skin. When you’re drinking alcohol, try to drink within recommended limits and have a non-alcoholic drink, such as soda water or fruit juice, between alcoholic drinks.
Keeping skin clean
Washing the skin can help prevent smells and infections but too much washing or using harsh soaps can wash away the natural oils that are needed to keep skin healthy. Use mild soaps or bath oils.
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.
People who work in jobs where they frequently have to put their hands in water or come into contact with certain chemicals can sometimes experience inflammation and itchiness on their hands. This is known as contact dermatitis or contact eczema. A doctor can advise on treatment, which usually includes special creams.
Don’t let late nights ruin your skin. Make sure you get enough sleep to keep your skin looking healthy. If you wear make-up, always wash it off before going to bed so that you reduce the risk of bacteria building up on your skin.
Feeling stressed can disrupt sleeping patterns, which can leave you looking tired and feeling run down and irritable. Consider taking up an activity, such as running, swimming or yoga.