Most people with a hectic lifestyle have little time to look after their skin. This results in your skin becoming a distant image of the one-soft skin you were born with. As you age, your skin will gradually become wrinkled and thinner. Your skin will also become drier, as the glands which produce oil become less active. Your skin will also become fragile and lose its colour. This is due to the number of blood vessels in your skin decreasing.
Top quality skin care – such as staying out of the sun, using a regular moisturizer and washing yourself gently – can help to slow down these harmful processes, preventing several skin problems later in life. You can keep your skin healthy and young looking into old age.
1. Protect yourself from the sun
Without doubt, the best way to help look after your skin is to protect it from the sun. UV (Ultraviolet) Light harms your skin, causes wrinkles, rough patches of skin, as well as potentially causing for more serious problems such as skin cancer.
To fully protect yourself from the sun, you should:
- Avoid the sun from 10am-4pm. It is during these hours that the sun is at its most damaging. If possible, you should avoid being in direct sunlight during the afternoon.
- Wear suitable protective clothing.
- You should keep your skin covered with clothing – wear long sleeved shirts, a hat with a wide brim and long pants/shorts.
- Use sunscreen. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you are exposed to the sun. This should be reapplied every 2 hours. If you go in the sea or pool, you should dry yourself and reapply sunscreen immediately.
2. Do not smoke
Smoking tobacco speeds up the normal aging process that your skin goes through – this will increase the number of wrinkles visible. Even in adults under 30 who have been smoking for as little as 5 years, skin changes can still be visible.
Smoking can cause narrowing of blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin. This causes blood flow to decrease, which in turn deprives the skin of vital nutrients and oxygen. This causes damage to the elastic fibers and collagen, which both give your skin added strength and elasticity.
Also, exposure to heat from burning cigarettes can damage your skin cells, leading to premature aging.
3. Always wash your skin gently
You should always treat your skin gently. Daily cleaning is a vital part of your skincare routine.
- Use warm water (not hot). Water that is too hot removes essential oils from your skin. You should also limit your shower or bath time to 20 minutes or less, as prolonged exposure can again remove these oils which are vital to maintain healthy skin.
- Use mild soaps. Some strong soaps strip oil from your skin, which will leave your skin dry and cracked. You should try and choose good quality, milder soaps which have had fats and oils added to them.
- Avoid additives. If you have sensitive skin, you should try and avoid anything containing dyes, coloring or perfume. These can cause irritation, allergic responses and skin damage.
- Remove makeup with care. You should use a cotton cloth or a soft sponge when you remove makeup from around the eyes. This will help to avoid any damage to the delicate tissue around your eyes/nose.
- Pat dry. After bathing, you should always gently pat your skin try with a soft towel, so that some moisture remains. You should then immediately moisturize with a good quality cream.
4. Moisturize daily
Moisturizing helps to preserve your skin’s natural moisture. They achieve this by creating a seal over the skin, which prevents water from escaping, or by releasing moisture into your skin.
The moisturizer that is best for you and how often you need to moisturize depends on various factors, including your skin type, how old you are and whether you have any medical conditions such as eczema or acne. A simple test to check if you need a moisturizer is to wait 15 minutes after bathing, and if your skin feels a little tight you should use a moisturizer.
You should select a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of at least fifteen. This will help prevent skin damage from harmful UV rays. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you should look for a product that does not contain additives, perfume or coloring. If you have dry skin, you should consider applying an oil, for example baby oil, while your skin is still slightly damp. Oil will last longer than moisturizer and will stop water evaporating from your skin. If you have oily skin, you should consider skipping moisturizing altogether.
5. Shave carefully
Shaving is used by a lot of people as an easy and inexpensive way to remove hair. The problem is shaving can cause irritations, especially if your skin is thin, sensitive or dry. For a healthy shave:
- Hold a warm cloth directly on your skin before shaving to soften the hair, or shave immediately after a warm bath or shower.
- Never shave dry skin, this can cause razor burn. You should always apply shaving cream or lotion to protect and lubricate your skin.
- Always use a razor that is sharp and clean.
- Always shave in the direction of hair growth, never against it.
- Cleanse your skin after shaving with lukewarm water.
If irritation of the skin does occur, apply a lotion that does not contain alcohol. Using alcohol based products may feel soothing, but they can cause further irritation as the alcohol will rapidly evaporate from your skin.