Health News

Healthy Skin Care Tips

Doctors sometimes get asked by their patients, “What would you do?” when trying to decide the best course of care. When dermatologists, or experts in skin care, from the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) were asked how they maintain their own healthy skin, their answers were simple. Newsflash — it did not include costly miracle products.

You have skin in the game

The skin is actually your body’s largest organ, and deserves proper care. Understanding your skin type can make a difference in the effectiveness of your skin care products.

  • Sensitive skin may sting after product use or burn in minimal sun.
  • Normal skin is clear and not sensitive.
  • Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough.
  • Oily skin is shiny and greasy.
  • Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others.

Derm do’s and don’ts

Maintaining healthy skin requires special care. Dermatologists agree on these tips:

  1. Wear sunscreen year round. Apply every two hours — and after swimming or sweating, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause sunburns, skin cancer, and premature aging. Avoid direct sunlight when you can — a brimmed hat, sunglasses and clothing with UV protection, all help when you can’t stay out of the direct sun.
  2. Avoid tanning beds. They give off harmful radiation that causes skin cancer. Consider using self-tanning lotion if you like more color in your skin.
  3. Follow a skin care routine. Cleanse and moisturize morning and night — adding in sunscreen before going outside and reapplying often.
  4. Use skin care products made for your skin type to maximize success.
  5. Don’t overlook your smile; lips can get skin cancer, too. Use a lip balm of 30 SPF before going outdoors. Add petroleum jelly if your lips feel chapped or dry.
  6. Keep your hands off your face. Throughout the day, your hands collect dirt and germs from things they touch, and can cause painful blemishes that may scar.
  7. Check your skin often for any new spots that are different from others on your body as they can be early signs of skin cancer. Of special concern are moles that itch, bleed or change color. If you notice any suspicious spots, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Skin cancer — the most common cancer in the U.S.

Performing routine self-exams is critical in early detection of skin cancer, which affects one in five Americans in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. While most skin cancers start in the top layer of the skin, even the most deadly form, melanoma, is highly treatable when found early.

When checking your skin, don’t overlook the bottoms of your feet, between your toes or under your arms. Use a hand mirror or ask a trusted person to look at areas of your body that are hard to see in a full-length mirror. Learn more here about how to do a thorough self-exam.

Beauty is more than skin deep

Thorough and careful skin care are your best defenses in maintaining healthy skin.  But if an issue arises, see your primary care doctor or a dermatologist before they become serious.