A good comprehensive skin care regimen is essential for healthy and glowing skin and includes the following:
Cleansing removes the dirt, pollutants and pore-clogging oil from the surface of the skin. A cleanser should always be chosen based on the skin type. Cleansers for dry and sensitive skin should be free of alcohol. Moreover, cleansers for very dry skin should be creamier. Oily skin acts as a dust magnet which may clog the pores leading to skin problems such as acne, blackheads and other skin problems. An acidic cleanser is preferred for oily skin. For proper cleansing, the cleanser should be massaged on the face for at least 20 seconds. Facial cleansers should always be soap-free as the facial skin is more sensitive than the skin of the rest of the body.
Exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays causes wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer. Thus mid-day sun, between 10 am and 3 pm, should be avoided. However, if you still have to venture out under sunlight, a generous amount of sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15 with UVA and UVB coverage should be applied at least 20 minutes before going out. Moreover, while in sunlight, the sunscreen should be reapplied every 3-4 hours and after swimming. Use of wide brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts and full pants while going in the sun can also reduce exposure to the sun.
Sun protection decreases vitamin D levels so if levels are deficient, supplementation with Vitamin D should be considered.
55% to 75% of our body is composed of water. Moreover, water helps to remove toxins from the body and skin. A well hydrated skin looks plump and smooth. The body constantly utilises water for various processes and water is also lost through breathing and sweating. One should drink at least 2 litres of water every day to keep the skin hydrated.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) in diet
EFAs are fatty acids that cannot be synthesised by our bodies and hence must be supplemented through our diet. EFAs play a critical role in maintaining normal skin function and appearance. They also protect the skin from UV damage and photoageing. Consuming food rich in omega-3 fatty acids or taking omega-3 supplements improves the skin health and protects it from damage. Omega-3 is found only in certain foods such as walnuts, spinach, kidney beans, safflower oil, flaxseed and cold-water fish like salmon and sardines.
Antioxidants are the free radical scavenging substances found in natural food such as fruits, vegetables and seafood. They stimulate the synthesis of collagen, the structural component of the skin, and promote smooth, plump and youthful skin. Vitamin C and vitamin E are particularly beneficial to the skin. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C while vitamin E is found in nuts and vegetable oils. Other antioxidants, beneficial to the skin, include selenium, thiamine, beta carotene and zinc.
Dry Skin Care
Some people have inherent dry skin while others develop it as a result of natural and age related changes to the skin. Extensive dry skin is more prone to dermatitis and eczema. This can be prevented by keeping the skin well moisturised which can be done by following these simple steps:
- Take only short baths/showers with lukewarm water
- Use a soap with moisturiser
- Apply moisturiser, all over the body, just after the bath/shower
- Use cream instead of body lotion during winter months
Timely treatment of any skin condition is crucial for healthy skin. Consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment of different skin conditions.
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