Skin Health A Reflection Of Overall Health
Skipping sunscreen on a gray winter day or flopping into bed with your makeup on is unlikely to do any real harm, but too many lapses in your skin care regimen could lead to aging. Taking a few minutes a day for smart skin care can prevent wrinkles, brown spots and more. Whether you’re a repeat offender or just make the occasional mistake, here are five common excuses that could be aging your skin, plus simple solutions to keep your skin looking young.
The two minutes that it takes to cleanse your skin before bed helps ensure a fresh face for years. “Sleeping with dirt, oil, and makeup on causes acne and enlarged pores,” says Audrey Kunin, MD, an associate clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. To easily remove debris, keep no-rinse face wipes in your nightstand.
Exposure to UVA rays, the primary culprit behind aging, happens all year long. And because they can penetrate glass, you’re susceptible even when you’re indoors, says Fredric Brandt, MD, a New York- and Miami-based dermatologist. The number one way to guard against sun damage and keep skin looking youthful: use a sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF 30 that’s labeled broad-spectrum every day.
To save, shop at drugstores. Studies show that mass products are as effective as more expensive skin care brands. “Look for active ingredients, not fancy labels,” says David E. Bank, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Columbia University/Presbyterian Hospital. The most effective anti-aging products include retinoids, AHAs, peptides, vitamin C, and hydrators such as hyaluronic acid.
It can take at least eight weeks to see the results of many skin care ingredients, so give products time to deliver their benefits. Incorporate new skin care products slowly—one about every two months.
“Your skin needs to build up a tolerance to aggressive anti-aging products,” says Dr. Bank. “Going overboard can cause inflammation, which accelerates fine lines, brown spots, and sagging.”
Getting rid of dead cells helps soften wrinkles and brighten skin, but aggressive scrubs can lead to redness and irritation. To slough safely, choose a chemical exfoliator, such as glycolic acid, or gentle cleansing beads. Avoid scrubs with an uneven texture, such as walnut shells. Exfoliate just once or twice a week; if you’re using an OTC or Rx retinoid or AHA, it alone provides sufficient skin sloughing. The biggest skin care mistake, right after forgetting sunscreen iso over-exfoliating. It’s best to exfoliate no more than once a week. This gives the baby-new skin cells a chance to grow, and your skin time to replenish and rehydrate. Over-exfoliation can cause wrinkles, dry skin, and even scarring.
Remember, your skin renews itself while you’re sleeping. That’s why it’s so important to get your 8-10 hours of sleep each night. The “beauty sleep” expression is not a myth.
Finally, you are what you eat. Your skin is a direct reflection of your diet. If you eat junk food, you’re robbing your skin of the antioxidants and other nutrients it needs to stay healthy and happy. Eat well, and you’ll have gorgeous skin.