5 golden rules for taking better care of your skin

Skin Care

by Kirstin Altman, MD   and Katherine Hutka Fiala, MD

Nov 15, 2018

Our faces are sensitive creatures — they burn, they age, they break out. Gentle, mild care is important to maintain the wellbeing of the skin on our faces.

Here’s the truth: What you’re doing to your skin today will affect your skin later on in life. So, what are things you can be doing now for the best long-term results for your skin?

1. Sunscreen: Just do it

We all know it, but we don’t want to take the time to do it. The best thing you can for your face is protect it, especially from the sun. After all, it is our biggest opponent.

Make sunscreen part of your daily routine, no matter how much time you plan to spend outside or what the weather is going to be like. Sun damage also happens on cloudy days. Protection can look like a multitude of things, including hats, shade, proper attire and sunscreen.

2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

There are two big reasons our skin begins to lose moisture — age and temperature. As ages rise and temperatures fall, skin tends to naturally get drier.

Within 10 minutes of exiting the bath or shower is the best time to apply, and what kind of moisturizer you use matters: Lotions hydrate the least, creams are next, and ointments hydrate the most. Using some type of moisturizer at least once a day is great for your skin, but make sure you are applying regularly, not just when you feel like you need it.

Have you heard about gua sha, a Chinese facial tool for healthy skin and pain relief?

3. Nourish from the inside out

Using over-the-counter products that contain either retinol or anti-oxidants like vitamin C can actually improve overall skin tone and slow down signs of aging.

But it’s not just what goes on top of your skin that matters. Your skin mirrors what is going on within your body. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is another great way to work towards anti-aging. Exercise can also help your skin maintain its youthful appearance.

4. Don’t overdo it

Skin care is important, but it’s also important not to go overboard. Antibacterial soaps can be harsh on our skin. Soaps that are made for sensitive skin and that don’t have fragrances are less likely to irritate the skin.

Over-washing your face can actually damage your skin, so I recommend washing it twice a day — once in the morning to remove any oil and other products that may have accumulated overnight, and once at night to remove anything your face was exposed to during the day.

Heavy exfoliation can be damaging to the skin and can cause irritation and redness. Therefore, mild face washes are best.

5. Pay attention to your skin

If you have had skin cancer or have a family history of skin cancer, you may be at an increased risk for developing skin cancer. If so, you should check your skin regularly. Self-exams, where you examine all of your skin — even the bottom of your feet — will help you notice new or changing areas of your skin. I recommend doing these self-checks monthly.

After all, you only get one face, so you’d better take good care of it.

Have more skin care questions? Talk to a dermatologist about how to get and maintain healthy skin.

About the Author

Kirstin Altman, MD, is a dermatologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple.

Katherine Fiala, MD, is a dermatologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Temple.

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