Top 3 Tips for Healthy Skin from Ridgeview's Dermatologists
Protect your skin | Treat your skin gently | Eat a healthy diet
Tip 1: Protect your skin
Now that the weather is starting to get nicer and we spend more time outside in the sun, we must remember to protect our skin. Spending too much time in the sun, especially without using a sunscreen, can cause several skin problems like wrinkles, age spots and an increased risk of developing a skin cancer.
Sunscreens. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, at minimum SPF 30. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors—even more often if you’re swimming or perspiring. Be careful with spray-on sunscreens. They need to be sprayed evenly and rubbed in very well. A dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is Vanicream sunscreen with SPF 35 or SPF 50. It is made without harsh chemicals and can be purchased at most drug stores.
Use a moisturizing face lotion with SPF 30 sunscreen in the morning before you leave the house. This will protect you from cumulative sun damage that occurs every day during routine activities. A sunscreen lotion is less greasy than a cream and may be better tolerated on the face, especially by men who tend to have oilier skin than women. Dermatologists recommend Revisions Multi-Protection Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 or Intellishade Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 (both are available for purchase at Ridgeview Specialty Clinic–Dermatology in Two Twelve Medical Center). These products absorb well and don’t make your face look white or cause blemishes.
Shade. When you can, avoid the sun’s rays when they are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wear protective clothing. Great options are wearing wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Many athletic clothing stores sell special sun-protective clothing that is designed to help block ultraviolet rays.
Tip 2: Treat your skin gently
Our skin takes a beating every day with exposure to the elements, harsh soaps and fragrances, and friction caused by tight clothing. In addition, the long, cold and dry Minnesota winter dries out our skin. Keep it simple and gentle: Limit bath time and put on a moisturizer. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time; use warm, not hot, water; and pat yourself dry. Afterwards, don’t forget to moisturize. Use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. If you are suffering from itchy dry skin, make it part of your routine to apply a thick moisturizing cream after you bathe or shower. The skin is still damp and can better soak up and seal in the moisturizing cream. For dry or sensitive skin, you can towel off and apply Robothol bath oil, followed by a moisturizing cream, such as Vanicream, Cerave cream or Cetaphil cream. All three can be purchased at most drug stores. For normal skin that is not dry, you can use a lotion in the same brand as mentioned above. In the spring, summer and fall, consider a moisturizer that contains a SPF.
Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and laundry detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild body cleansers like Cetaphil gentle cleanser or Vanicream bar soap. Generally, bar soaps are less likely to cause problems with contact dermatitis than liquid soaps that contain many preservatives and fragrances. Use an old-fashioned, fragrance-free bar soap to wash your body daily. In the laundry, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to consider using just laundry detergent, like All Free and Clear or Tide Free and Gentle, and no fabric softeners or dryer sheets (even unscented dryer sheets can cause irritation).
Tip 3: Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help your skin look its best and make you feel great. Include foods such as fruits, vegetables (both raw and cooked), beans, seeds, nuts and lean proteins. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake because they can dry out your skin. It isn’t only alcohol and caffeine that results in dehydrating the skin. Other factors, like fried foods, soft drinks, cigarettes, and excess sugar and salt, can also have a similar impact on the condition of your skin.