How can you have fun in the sun all summer long without suffering any skin problems or dermatological distress? It isn’t as hard as you might think – if you follow a few tried-and-true techniques.
Although we usually take our skin for granted, did you know that it is the largest organ in the body? Pampering your skin with proper cleansing and nourishment not only feels good, but it’s great for the health of the tissue that keeps the outside out and the inside in.
Summer weather is known for being hot and either humid or dry, depending on where you live. Excessive exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun, whether you are tanning by the pool or beach, working outside, or walking from the car to a store, can cause unsightly sunburn and perhaps even peeling skin. Ugh.
Repeated sunburns are now being associated with cancer. The British Telegraph reported that a study of almost 109,000 women, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that “five serious episodes of sunburn by the age of 20 increases the risk of deadly skin cancer by 80 percent.”
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) claims that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.
Over 20 million Americans over the age of 40 have developed cataracts from prolonged UV exposure. Be sure to wear protective UV-blocking eye wear when you tan or stay outdoors in high heat or for long periods of time.
For overall skin health, it’s always good to cleanse your skin with soap and water daily – and after a sweaty work-out or work. While you’re at it, go ahead and use a loofah or pumice stone to remove the outermost layer of your skin – the epidermis. This process is called exfoliating, and it actually lets your skin breathe (absorb oxygen) and increase the hydrating effects of toners and moisturizers.
After a good cleansing and exfoliation, apply emollients – topical (external) moisturizers – directly onto your skin afterward to prevent dryness and itching. Your pores will soak in lotion or other skin products and deliver vital nutrients. Aloe vera gel, which contains vitamin E, can be very soothing, and actually promotes healing.
But the best derma-lube, hands down, is lanolin. This smelly, pale-yellow, natural oil is found between a sheep’s wool and skin. It is considered a waste product after sheep shearing for wool production. Lanolin is a natural water repellent with anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. The oils in lanolin are similar in chemical composition to those secreted by human skin, and form an emulsion with water that is easy for human skin to absorb, softening it and preventing it from drying and cracking.
Waxes, including beeswax, work well as barrier products to protect the skin’s natural oil. Combining lanolin with other waxes, oils and astringents may help smooth skin without clogging the pores.
Another way to step up skin hydration is by using intensive masks once or twice a week.
Hand-washing dishes can lead to dryness and irritation – so keep some lotion near the kitchen sink.
Water hydrates you and feeds your skin when you drink it, but, paradoxically, it dries out your skin on contact. By the way, if you drink beverages containing caffeine, you need to triple the amount of water you would normally drink – eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water is the recommended daily allowance.
To have beautiful, radiant skin all over your body, follow these steps daily:
Cleanse and exfoliate
Disinfect (if needed for broken skin or eczema)
Cover as needed (with clothing, a towel or cloth)
Remember to ALWAYS consult a dermatologist or other skin specialist if you have advanced symptoms of any skin disorder or disease.
When it comes to taking care of our body’s protective outer covering, we’ve all got some skin in this game. Winners keep their complexions clean, moist, and healthy all year long!