Five Ways To Keep Our Skin Healthy
There is no denying the fact that skin is the largest organ in human’s body. It protects us from the environment, helps in regulating temperature and plays an important part of our immune system. Therefore, it is extremely important to care for our skin and keep it healthy so that it can perform its various functions. Here are five ways to keep our skin performing its best.
1. Protect your skin from Ultraviolet radiation
The sun is our skin’s worst enemy, yet billions of people every year flock to sunny climates to soak up as much of it as they can. Tanning beds are even worse than the sun since they emit a higher amount of the most damaging ray of the sun. Chronic sun exposure and tanning bed use causes deterioration of the collagen layer which supports the blood vessels that provide nutrients to the skin. It also causes the cells in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, to divide uncontrollably and become cancerous. The amount of sun exposure a person gets is cumulative over their lifetime and cannot be reversed, so protection of the skin at an early age is critical. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds are paramount in protection against ultraviolet exposure.
2. Don’t smoke
Nearly everyone knows that smoking can damage the lungs. However, cigarette smoke also causes a reduction of critical oxygen to the skin by constriction of the blood vessels to the skin and preventing the blood from being able to carry as much oxygen to the skin as possible. Over time, this starvation of oxygen to the skin results in the skin not being able to heal as quickly, and interferes with other vital skin functions. Cigarette smokers have far more wrinkles than people who have not smoked who are the same age. Long term exposure to second hand smoke also causes the same changes.
3. Maintain the barrier function of the skin
The surface of the skin is comprised of oils called lipids that help to prevent moisture loss from the skin and provides a barrier defense against toxins, infections and other hazards. When the skin is dry and cracked, this barrier function is lost and the skin becomes susceptible to infections and water loss which prevents the skin from performing its normal functions. Bathing too frequently, applying chemicals and cleansers strip away this barrier function.
Some people have an inherited tendency to have dry skin. It is critical to keep the skin well hydrated and moisturized so that its barrier function is maintained. Using moisturizing soaps, avoiding over bathing and protecting the skin against solvents and chemicals is a key way to help the skin maintain its barrier. When the skin gets dry, moisturizing skin to help it regain the barrier is important as well.
4. Eat a diet high in antioxidants and vitamin A
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to avoid ultraviolet light, smoking and chemicals, the skin still gets exposed to pollutants and other toxins in the atmosphere. These pollutants and chemicals can cause oxidation and aging of the skin. Eating foods high in antioxidants helps to reverse this type of damage to the skin. Fresh colorful fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants. There is also evidence that applying antioxidant containing creams can help reverse skin oxidation.
5. See a skin specialist or dermatologist regularly
Despite our best efforts, our skin can still fall prey to a myriad of conditions. Insect bites, infections, rashes, and growths can occur and may need to be corrected or treated. Some skin conditions, such as skin cancer may not be recognized, and the severity of a rash may not be appreciated until diagnosed by a skin specialist or dermatologist. Some internal diseases such as diabetes, gluten sensitivity and some forms of internal cancers and conditions may be first suspected and diagnosed by a skin exam. Therefore, regular visits to a dermatologist are important.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and performs many important functions. There are a number of ways we can help to protect our skin so that it can continue to operate efficiently. Protecting against ultraviolet light, cigarette smoke and toxins help to preserve the skin. Maintaining the barrier of the skin by keeping it well hydrated allows the skin to perform its function more efficiently.