People strive to feel comfortable in their own skin. This expression has two connotations. The first relates to feeling relaxed and comfortable in how one is represented and interacts with others. The second is more general, describing comfort in the physical sense, and relates to factors such as beauty and how our skin ages. Many people are surprised to learn that the skin is the largest organ of the human body. It makes up about 15% of our body weight, and it carries out some vital tasks. Its main function is to protect us from hazards like bacteria, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and more. It also helps with body temperature regulation. As useful as this sensory organ is, it is also prone to aging. Since the skin on our face is visible to others, we often focus a great deal on how our skin matures. For some, wrinkles are embraced as a sign of a life well-lived. For others, the aging process is a blow to self-esteem. Regardless of which team you are on, there are simple steps we can take, most of which we can do at home, to care for this vital organ. They may also work to slow the progression of fine lines and deep wrinkles. Here are some healthy skin secrets:
- Drink more water. WebMD shares that the simple act of drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up. It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, helping the skin to glow. However, it’s important to note that though many people report a more radiant look, water consumption will not cure dry skin. UAMS Health reports that “A normally-hydrated person probably won’t see a difference in their skin after drinking an increased volume of water.” They explain that dry skin is an external problem dependent upon several factors, including oil glands, personal cleansers, and the environment. However, staying adequately hydrated is important for the body as a whole.
- Watch for outdoor conditions that can dry or prematurely age the skin. Outdoor factors, such as low humidity, cool air, and dry winds can be harsh on the skin. For this reason, it’s important to apply a moisturizer. If you suffer from dry skin, it’s often good advice to select a light moisturizer for the day and a heavier one for nighttime. However, since there are so many products on the market, it is best to seek a medical doctor’s advice to determine what is right for you. In addition, any skin conditions or changes in the skin should be treated medically.
- Take short showers. Taking long showers and/or using too much hot water in the shower can strip healthy skin of moisture. Avoid irritants and harsh soaps. In addition, rinse off after swimming to remove pool chemicals that may remain on the skin. Follow up with the appropriate moisturizer. Do not use a body moisturizer on the face unless it specifies that it is safe for use in that area. Otherwise, only use face creams designated as such. NBC News suggests patting oneself dry rather than rubbing, which may cause irritation. Additionally, moisturize right after showering.
- Choose less drying and more nourishing personal skin products. WebMD offers moisturizing product guidelines for people to follow. This includes using a moisturizer with a sunscreen of SPF 30 minimum. They also suggest using products that are free of oil and fragrances, seeking out products with antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, and seeking out products that generally work well for dry skin, such as hyaluronic acid and dimethicone. WebMD also suggests staying away from acid-containing skin products that may penetrate the skin too deeply.
- Talk to your best resource, your doctor. With so many wrinkle creams on the market, finding the right one that fits your needs and budget is challenging. Your doctor can observe your skin and make recommendations based on the latest advances in medical science. He or she can also instruct you on how much of a product to use, how often to use the product, and the best method to apply it. If the development of fine lines or wrinkles concerns you, ask your doctor for general ways to reduce the stress that can advance the aging of the skin. A doctor may recommend over-the-counter products or medical options that may help you feel better.
It’s important to feel comfortable and confident in our own skin, both inside and out. We must remember that our wrinkles have little if nothing to do with our value to society. United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, businessman, and politician John Glenn, who was the third American in space and the first American to orbit the earth, imparted important words of wisdom when he said, “If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest.” Perhaps his advice is the best secret of all.