As the largest organ in the body, your skin is a marvellous thing, but also something which is easy to forget to take care of. According to the NHS it forms a waterproof, protective barrier around our bodies that protects us from the world around us, while also regulating temperature, fighting infection and hosting nerve endings.
There are many ways you can look after this most vital of organs, and listed below are some of the best ways you can treat and improve the state of your skin to keep it as healthy as possible.
1. Be SMART in the sun
Although it may still be winter and the prospect of summer sunshine may feel like it’s far away, spring is just around the corner. Sunshine is a vital source of Vitamin D, but it’s very important to protect yourself from the radiation of the sun too. UVA and UVB rays can be extremely harmful to the skin, and may lead to skin cancers such as melanoma if you don’t take proper precautions. Follow the NHS acronym SMART to ensure you keep yourself safe and your skin healthy during the spring and summer months:
- Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- Make sure you never burn
- Aim to cover up with a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
- Remember to take extra care with children
- Then use factor 15+ sunscreen
2. Enjoy a tipple in moderation
Alcohol really isn’t good for your skin, particularly in large volumes. While being surprisingly high in calories, it can also cause bloating, cellulite and weight gain. But its most destructive property where the skin is concerned is its dehydrating effect. Alcohol causes your skin to lose vital vitamins and minerals, and over time you may even fall prey to rosacea: a skin condition that causes flushed, red skin and swelling: an affliction also known as ‘drinker’s nose’.
That doesn’t mean you must cut out drinking altogether however: just sticking to the recommended units and having non-alcoholic drinks such as fruit juice between those containing alcohol should limit the damage, something that your skin will thank you for the next morning.
3. Give up those cigarettes
It’s common knowledge that smoking damages your health inside and out, and it can have a very detrimental effect on your skin. According to SmokeFree, smoking reduces the levels of oxygen in your skin, which leads to premature aging of up to 20 years. You’re also three times more likely to suffer from wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, as well as a gaunt appearance and a yellow-grey complexion.
The good news is there’s some evidence to suggest that the skin can somewhat repair itself after you give up smoking, so the sooner you stop, the better. The NHS offers support to those quitting, and therapies such as those with nicotine replacement have been found to be very helpful for those trying to stop smoking. Not only will it mean clearer, better looking skin, but your overall health will improve dramatically too.
4. Clean up your diet
Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to your diet, and it needn’t be too hard to work out a balanced and healthier one. The jury is out on whether more fruit, veg or water can truly have a positive impact on your complexion, but since they are each beneficial for your dietary health, it follows that they should be good for your skin. Nutrient dense foods like broccoli can boost your vitamin C levels and have been linked to the improvement of wrinkles and sagging skin, as well as providing other vitamins such as A, B, E and K, which all contribute to the revival of skin tissues and hair. Keeping yourself hydrated with water and other liquids is also important, and will contribute towards gaining a healthier complexion.
5. Take care of your skin
Washing at least once a day is important, as well as proper exfoliation to get rid of excess dead skin cells. Remember to clean easy-to-forget areas such as the neck and ears, but make sure you use an appropriate soap for your skin type: if you have dry skin, stay away from harsh, alcohol-based products which can dry out the skin further. Likewise, you should avoid oil-based products if you have oily skin, and choose water based ones instead. Other ways to stay clean could be routinely cleaning make-up brushes and razors, sanitising your smartphone, and moisturising skin regularly to keep it hydrated and healthy.
6. Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep can cause premature ageing around the eyes, and may even lead to anxiety, irritation and depression. It is important you get as much sleep as you need, which can be disrupted by stress or anxiety. Try getting more active and exercising regularly, as well as getting to bed a little earlier and working out a relaxing night-time routine for a better night’s sleep- and much better skin in the long term.
Looking for some more advice on skincare or do you have an ailment you’d like checked out? Here are the services that could help you.