Summer’s here, which means many women are hurrying to find the best products to protect their skin from sun damage. And while it’s important to protect your skin when the sun is high and hot, making skin health a priority all year can be an important factor in preventing the effects of aging on skin.
“Although it’s normal for our skin to change as we age, it’s easier to be proactive than reactive to our skin health,” explains Rochelle Weiss, MD dermatologist at Lankenau Medical Center. “By taking a few precautionary measures each day to protect our skin, it’s easy to minimize long-term damage.”
Below, Dr. Weiss explores everyday steps you can take to take charge of your skin health and reverse the effects of aging.
Pale is the new tan
Even with all of the knowledge of what the sun can do to age skin and increase cancer risk, it can still take plenty of convincing to get men and women alike to avoid tanning. If you’re truly interested in reducing the effects of aging on your skin, staying away from tanning is the key to success.
Because older skin is more vulnerable to the effects of the sun than younger skin, sun protection becomes even more important with age. Wear sunscreen during the summertime, but also during the fall and winter months. Many moisturizers and makeup now have SPF built in, so look for those that advertise UV protection to save you some time in the mornings. But remember, sunscreen is the last layer of defense, after sun-avoidance, shade, and sun-protective clothing. Learn more about how which SPF is right for you.
Wash your face twice a day
By the end of the day, chances are you’re ready to fall into bed. But if you do it without washing your face, you may not be doing your skin any favors.
“It’s important to wash your face twice a day every day, especially after sweating,” explains Dr. Weiss. “This helps rid the skin of dirt, makeup, and oils, which can dull your complexion.”
When it comes to washing your face, not just any soap will do. Use warm water and a mild, non-soap cleanser on your face and, when you’re finished, gently pat your face dry.
When you’re done washing your face, don’t forget to moisturize! Your face gets thirsty, and moisturizing after each wash and when your skin is dry is important in keeping your skin looking healthy. In choosing a moisturizer, look for a type that’s best for your skin. If your skin is oily, look for products that are best for oily skin. If you tend to have dry skin, look for one that advertises that it’s best for dry skin. If you have questions, talk to your dermatologist.
Get some shut-eye
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason—skimping on sleep can take its toll on your skin. Although a busy schedule can sometimes disrupt your sleep, try to stick to a normal sleep schedule during the week and on the weekends to keep your skin looking healthy. And when you’re sleeping? Try to sleep on your back. Falling asleep with your face on your pillow can lead to sleep lines on your chin, cheeks, and forehead which, over time, can etch lines on to your face.
Hydrate from the inside out
Drinking plenty of water has a number of health benefits, including making your skin look a few years younger.
“Think of water as an internal moisturizer for your skin. It helps it look hydrated and full,” says Dr. Weiss.
And while it never hurts to have a water bottle on hand, you can also look for foods that hydrate your body, like juicy fruits and vegetables. Try fruits and veggies like strawberries, cucumbers and watermelon.
Practice a healthy lifestyle
Practicing an overall healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to ensure your skin will look healthy for years to come. That means exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet with lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, not smoking or using tobacco products, and controlling your alcohol intake.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Make sure you're protecting it. If you have questions about your skin health, or it's been awhile since you've had your skin checked for skin cancer or skin allergies, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Visit our website to find a list of Main Line Health dermatologists in your area.