Monthly Archives: June 2016

Great Tips for Protect Your Skin

You need to protect your skin because of the vital role it has protecting your body. Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and can quickly become second nature, like brushing your teeth.

These five skin protection tips can keep your skin looking and feeling great, by guarding against a slew of skin woes, from chapped skin to prematurely aging to skin cancer.

1. Limit Sun Exposure

You’ve heard the message a zillion times, and there’s good reason for that unrelenting repetition. Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun cause many types of skin damage:

  • Skin cancer
  • Wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Discolorations
  • Benign growths

Using skin care products that offer ultraviolet protection is one of the best ways to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful:

  • Use sunscreen every day and reapply regularly whenever you’re outdoors for extended periods.
  • Cover skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
  • Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Keep in mind that tanning beds are just as harmful as direct sunlight, as they also emit ultraviolet rays.

2. Stay Hydrated

Keeping your skin moist is essential to skin protection. Skin that is properly hydrated retains pliability and prevents chapped skin or scaly, flaky skin:

  • Drink lots of water. This is key to hydrating your skin.
  • Use the right moisturizing cream or lotion for your skin type and apply it right after drying off from your bath or shower. Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient removes natural oils needed by your skin.
  • Take warm (not hot) showers or baths, and limit them to between 5 and 10 minutes. It seems counterintuitive, but exposure to water actually dries out your skin. If dry skin persists, consider cutting back on the number of baths you take.

3. Take Health Precautions

Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the skin bordering the lips, while bacteria can contribute to acne and other skin conditions. Practicing skin protection means paying close attention to what touches your skin, to lower your chances of exposure to germs:

  • Don’t share any personal items, such as lip balms or toothbrushes.
  • Don’t share drinks with other people.
  • Avoid touching your face with your fingers or with objects like telephone receivers that have been used by others.

4. Use Gentle Skin Care

Washing your face is important to remove dirt, oils, germs, and dead cells. However, scrubbing your face causes irritation that can lead to chapped skin that, in turn, can leave skin vulnerable. For best results, you should:

  • Wash your face twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Gently massage your face with a washcloth, using a circular motion.
  • Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap and debris.
  • Pat your skin dry — don’t rub — then apply your facial moisturizer.

5. Know Your Skin

Pay attention to odd freckles, moles, and growths on your skin, and consult your doctor if you notice any changes. For example, a change in a mole can indicate potential skin cancer. Be sure to treat any cuts that may occur to prevent infection. Other skin conditions that merit a dermatologist visit include frequent acne, inflamed or irritated dry skin, and skin rashes and irritations that don’t go away, as these could be signs of one of the many types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation.

Essentials Care For Beauty Skin

images-56Your body is wrapped in a blanket of skin — about two square yards of it. We all want hydrated and healthy skin, but that blanket can become dry, flaky, and rough. Learn what causes dry skin and how using a skin moisturizer and other treatments will help.

Understanding Dry Skin

The outer layers of your skin are put together in a type of brick-and-mortar system. Healthy skin cells are stacked with oils and other substances that keep skin moist. When those substances are lost, skin cells can crumble away, which leads to dry skin.

Itching is the No. 1 symptom of dry skin, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Your skin may look dull, flaky, or ashy (if you have dark skin), which can progress to skin being scaly or cracked. In the worst-case scenario, skin becomes thick and leathery, Dr. Fusco says.

Conditions Causing Dry Skin

Dry skin can affect anyone whose skin loses water or oil, particularly in climates with low humidity, or during winter months when low humidity and indoor heat affect the natural balance of healthy skin, Fusco says. However, some people are more prone to dry skin than others because of certain medical conditions:

  • Keratosis pilaris. As many as 40 percent of people in the United States have an inherited dry skin condition called keratosis pilaris. More common in children and adolescents, the condition causes tiny red or flesh-colored bumps on the skin, particularly on their upper arms and thighs or on the cheeks in children. The bumps are dead skin cells and make skin feel rough, like sandpaper. Skin may also itch during the winter or in low humidity.
  • Atopic dermatitis. Up to 20 percent of people around the world have atopic dermatitis, a common type of eczema in which itchy patches of skin form. When the skin is scratched, it may become red and swollen and could crack, weep fluid, or scale. This type of eczema often occurs in people who also have asthma or hay fever.
  • Hormonal changes. When your body is going through hormonal changes, you may notice dry or flaky skin cropping up. It’s something that happens even in babies. Newborns commonly develop cradle cap — flaky, scaly skin on the scalp — as a result of being exposed to mother’s hormones in the uterus, Fusco says. Women may notice a change in their skin’s oil production when they begin (or stop) using hormonal contraceptives. And hormonal changes after menopause can also lead to dry skin, she says.
  • Thyroid disease. One of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone) is dry skin.
  • Diabetes or kidney disease. People with diabetes or kidney disease may notice dry, itchy skin on their legs due to poor circulation, Fusco says. It’s a result of the skin not getting the proper amount of blood flow.

Wrinkle Creams That Really Work

That’s not to say that there’s no help for wrinkles. There is. The challenge is wading through all the products that have a minimal effect on any skin wrinkle and finding the ones that have big anti-wrinkle benefits.

How Do Wrinkle Creams Work?

The average over-the-counter wrinkle cream works by moisturizing the skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines by improving skin texture and helping to reflect light, says Richard Eisen, MD, dermatologist and founder of South Shore Skin Center in Plymouth, Mass.

Wrinkle creams also tend to include alpha hydroxy acids, which help slough away dead skin cells and exfoliate, Dr. Eisen says. As a result, your skin will look smoother.

Some anti-wrinkle creams contain antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q10, kinetin, or green tea. Antioxidants can destroy free radicals, the unstable molecules are created by sun damage and can cause skin wrinkles. However, antioxidants work better at preventing future wrinkles than as a wrinkle reducer, Eisen says. So, if you’re going to use a wrinkle cream with antioxidants, wear it under sunscreen to help prevent further sun damage.

Retinol: The Wrinkle Cream Wonder Ingredient?

Wrinkle creams that offer real benefits include retinol, which you can find in products sold over the counter, and prescription retinoids such as tretinoin (Retin-A and Renova) and tazarotene (Tazorac and Avage). They’re all derivatives of vitamin A, used to stimulate the production of collagen and reverse thinning of the skin, which helps smooth wrinkles. Retinoids even improve the pigment of your skin by lightening brown spots.

The biggest reason to use a retinoid: They really do work. Retinoids have been studied and shown to be effective in reducing the wrinkles you already have, Eisen says. They also can help prevent new wrinkles. It takes about 10 to 12 months of treatment to see the full results.

Retinol, which is sold over-the-counter, can give you some benefits, but it’s not as effective as prescription retinoids because it’s a less potent form of vitamin A.

The Downsides of Wrinkle Creams

While skin wrinkle creams do offer benefits, there are some negatives to consider:

  • Limited results. They may help your skin look better, but over-the-counter wrinkle creams aren’t going to give you dramatic results.
  • The cost. Prescription tretinoin can cost $55 for under an ounce, which may or may not be covered by insurance. However, this is far less than some cosmetic-counter creams that don’t deliver on their promises, and it works. Also, because you apply just a pea-sized amount, a small tube lasts quite a while. Drugstore over-the-counter wrinkle creams can cost $15 for less than an ounce and a half, but may give you limited benefits.
  • Pregnancy caution. Because there may be a risk of birth defects, doctors don’t recommend using retinoids during pregnancy.
  • Irritation. Retinoids can cause redness and irritation. If you tend to have irritated or dry skin before starting treatment, retinoids may cause more problems. To get around that, Eisen often recommends that his patients either start with a retinol and move on to prescription tretinoin as their skin gets more accustomed to retinoids, or use tretinoin only every third or fourth night until their skin learns to tolerate it.

Retinoids aside, by far, the most important anti-wrinkle product you can use is sunscreen. Choose one with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 that protects against both types of ultraviolet rays, and you may not have to rely on wrinkle creams quite so much as you get older.