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Skin Care

Most people don’t think of skin as an organ but is considered to be the largest organ in our body. Quite a bit of money is spent on maintaining it. Foot creams, facial masks and hand lotions are among the products we like to use to help our skin to stay healthy and look young. However, there are other things we can do to help keep it healthy.

Sun. Getting exposure to the sun is healthy for our bodies but too much sun can damage the skin. Using a sunblock with at least an SPF of 15 will help minimize the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Also, avoiding the sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm will also help minimize skin damage.1

Food. Most health experts will say that outside of eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, the diet has little effect on skin. A healthy diet helps support healthy blood flow and this helps our skin get the nutrients we need. However, one study showed that eating low glycemic foods such whole plant foods, may play a role in preventing acne. Researchers suggest that more studies are needed to help understand this connection.2 It has also been reported that foods such as chocolate, soda, and greasy foods can aggravate symptoms.3

Smoking. Next to our skin are tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Tobacco smoke restricts these vessels and our skin does not get all of the nutrients it needs. To help maintain our skin, quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.

Bathe. A daily bath or shower helps the skin to stay clean and helps to maintain moisture. To help keep the skin hydrated, pat dry and avoid rubbing the skin. Keep baths and showers to 5 – 10 minutes. Longer bathing times increase drying the skin. This will help prevent drying. Use ointments and creams 3 minutes after bathing. This will also help keep the skin hydrated.4 Keep skin moisturized with lotions after washing your hands will help skin to stay healthy. Use a lip balm to keep lips from drying out.

As we age, our skin gets thinner, starts to wrinkle and may not heal as fast as our younger days. Developing a few habits can help slow the aging process and keep our skin healthy.

Pamela A. Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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