Skin care matters. The skin is the largest organ. It protects us from dehydration, infection, and maintains temperature regulation. In fact, significant disruption of the skin can be catastrophic.
Here are basic actions that you can take to maintain your skin health.
- Take short lukewarm showers. Long hot showers dry out the skin. Use a moisturizing soap such as Dove, Aveeno, Basis, Cetaphil, Cerave, or Vanicream. Immediately after bathing, towel dry and apply lotion to the trunk and extremities. Moisturizers that contains ceramides help to restore and maintain the water barrier function of the skin. Moisturizers must be applied daily for optimal skin health.
- I cannot overestimate the importance of sunblock. Sunblocks contain the physical blockers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Physical sunblocks are less likely to cause an allergic reaction when compared to chemical sunscreens. Physical sunblocks provide broad protection from ultraviolet radiation skin penetration. Sunblocks get a bad wrap because they can leave a white film on the skin. Newer and more elegant preparations have micronized zinc and titanium particles allowing the sunblock to go on the skin without leaving a film. Benefits of sunblocks include, safe use for children and infants, decreased risk of causing an allergic reaction, and no odor. Medical grade sunblocks include PCA Weightless and EltaMD brands. These can be used by those of all skin complexions.
- Chemical sunscreens have numerous ingredients that, according to the FDA, are safe in their stated concentrations. However, one has to wonder about the long-term implications of applying these chemicals. Studies have shown that common sunscreen chemicals such as oxybenzone and avobenzone may act as hormonal disruptors and may act as a carcinogen in higher doses. I do not recommend sunscreen use on infants and children. Sunblocks are safer. These chemicals are more likely to be associated with allergic reactions.
- Facial skin care. Wash the face twice a day. Those with especially sensitive skin can use Vanicream. Other brands for sensitive skin includes Cetaphil, and Cerave. If acne is a concern, then cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is optimal. My favorite cleanser for acne is the PCA Blemish Control Bar. Anti-aging cleansers contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acids. A great cleanser that addresses dark spots is PCA Pigment Bar. Again, wash the face twice a day. Never commit the mortal sin of going to sleep without washing off makeup.
- Against popular belief, toners and scrubs should not be used on the skin daily. They can strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier. This can contribute to dehydrating the skin and can cause acne.
These are skin care basics. Here’s to GOOD SKIN