Maintaining healthy skin is about more than looking good, it’s also a key to feeling good. Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it has many roles. It helps you absorb nutrients, alerts you to illness and it acts as a protective barrier from the outside world. It’s essential for your overall health and wellness. Healthy and glowing skin is an immediate signal to the world of good health.
In this article, we will cover factors that affect the skin, common concerns, and eight tips for maintaining healthy skin.
Factors that Affect Skin Health
Your skin has many layers and can be affected by all sorts of elements. Both internal and external factors influence the condition of your skin.
First, let’s look at the external factors. Skin is the first layer of protection to the outside world. The appearance of your skin is directly affected by elements all around you. They can produce free radicals that trigger dehydration, excess skin pigmentation issues, and even acne. Some of these you can avoid. But others you can’t.
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun has a powerful effect on the skin. You need sunlight for the skin to produce vitamin D necessary for healthy bones, a strong immune system, and good energy levels. However, too much sun can cause sunburn and even lead to skin cancer. UV exposure is also linked to premature aging and wrinkles.
Air pollution is an external factor that can be hard to avoid. Even though the skin acts as a shield against negative elements, prolonged exposure to pollutants and even dust can wear down the barrier and damage your skin and your health. Pollutants like cigarette smoke, smog, and even certain household cleaning products can ruin your skin health. These elements can damage cells and cause dry, itchy and scaly skin.
Internal factors that affect skin health
Nutrition is not just beneficial to your health, it’s essential to your skin. Poor food choices and lack of hydration can deny your skin the nutrients it needs. For instance, too many sweets can contribute to acne.
Your lifestyle and habits have a profound impact on your skin. Medications can directly cause dehydration and skin sensitivities. Hormonal changes such as menopause as well as high stress levels make your skin become dry and contribute to inflammation. Lack of sleep can cause your body to produce higher levels of cortisol leading to even more inflammation.
8 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin
There are endless elements that negatively impact the condition and health of your skin. But there are also things you can do to counteract or reverse these issues.
The American Academy of Dermatology identifies five primary types of skin: oily, dry, normal, combination, and sensitive. Recognizing your skin type will help you apply these tips for healthy skin properly.
1. Proper hygiene and cleansing
Establish a regular skin care routine. Gently wash your face when you wake up, after you work up a sweat during the day, and before bed. Use a cleanser with lukewarm water — not hot water — and gently apply with your fingertips in a circular motion. Rise off and pat dry. This can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores leading to a clearer, brighter complexion and healthier skin.
2. Moisturize regularly
Use a moisturizer regularly to help prevent skin dryness and promote healthy collagen production. Choose a moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides or hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture and improve skin elasticity. Keeping the skin hydrated will help reduce signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. It is a key step in achieving the glowing skin that people desire.
3. Protection from sun damage
Overexposure to UV light from the sun can cause sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. To protect your skin, seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamins can improve skin health. Consume dark leafy greens, olive oil, fish oil supplements, green tea and dark chocolate. They contain healthy antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E to fight free radicals. They can help promote healthy skin and collagen production to slow the signs of aging.
5. Stay hydrated
Drink enough water throughout the day to keep the skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Water also helps eliminate toxins from the body that harm your skin and your overall health. Proper hydration can improve skin elasticity and prevent signs of aging.
6. Manage stress
Stress can trigger the release of the stress hormone called cortisol. High levels can break down collagen and elastin, produce excess oil and cause acne and other skin problems. Stress management is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Meditation or other stress-reducing techniques can help improve overall skin health.
Regular exercise can do wonders for the skin. Moving your body can deliver essential oxygen, vitamins and nutrients to your cells. It can reduce signs of aging as it increases blood flow, decreases cortisol, balances hormones and helps detox the body.
8. Get sleep
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy is to get enough sleep. Poor sleep can lead to dull skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. A lack of sleep can also cause your body to produce more cortisol, leading to inflammation. Adequate sleep is essential for skin health, as it allows the skin to repair and regenerate.
Following a healthy lifestyle that includes a wholesome diet, exercise and stress management will help to maintain a youthful appearance. Consult with Dr. Hall to learn more.REQUEST APPOINTMENT
Common skin concerns
Because skin care is so important to good health, as well as good appearance, many conditions might require a visit with a board-certified dermatologist. Here is a look at a few common skin conditions.
- This occurs when hair follicles (pores) become clogged with oils and dead skin cells. This leads to pimples, blackheads and red bumps. Acne breakouts also can leave scars and darkened skin patches.
- Dry skin. When the skin does not receive or retain enough moisture, it begins to look dry, scaly and rough. This condition leads to fine lines and wrinkles.
- As your skin ages, it produces less collagen and natural oil. Fine lines and wrinkles start to appear. This process also can lead to loose, sagging skin.
- Age spots. Age spots are tan, brown or black spots on the skin, usually round or oval. They vary in size, are usually caused by sun exposure, and are a natural part of the skin’s aging process. Because age spots can look similar to various types of skin cancer, it is always a good idea to see a dermatologist.
- Skin cancers. Cancers usually appear as raised lesions on the skin. They are often caused by overexposure to UV rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. Always seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist as soon as the spots appear.
Talk with a Dermatologist About Your Skin Health
If you have a skin condition that needs attention, it is best to contact a specialist, such as a board-certified dermatologist. Together you can develop an overall plan to address your needs.
At Florida Medical Clinic, you can feel confident that the experts in the dermatology department are here to help you with your skin, your hair and your nails. You will experience a one-of-a-kind approach to coordinated care.
Let Dr. Hall Help You
Dr. Felicia Hall, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who completed her dermatological residency at the University of South Florida. She has received extensive specialized training in the field of dermatology. She worked in private practice in San Francisco for over 13 years before returning to Florida. She belongs to the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Medical Association, and the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
Let Dr. Hall help you with your dermatological concerns today.