Your skin reflects your health. It's your body's canvas and one of its most valuable assets. For good skin care, start developing healthy habits that guard your valued possession from outer (and inner) forces. It's the only skin you'll ever get, so your daily habits mean everything. Here are some basic skin care tips:
Clean and moisturize your skin daily. Wash your face twice daily -- once in the morning and once at night before going to bed. After you cleanse your skin, follow with a toner and moisturizer. Toners help to remove fine traces of oil, dirt, and make-up that you may have missed when cleansing. Moisturizing is necessary even for people with oily skin. Buy a moisturizer that is best suited for your skin type (dry, normal, or oily).
"I'm afraid the chemicals in sunscreen might increase my cancer risk." — Laura Baugh, 33, Indianapolis
You may have heard that two common sunblock ingredients — oxybenzone, a UV-absorbing compound, and retinyl palmitate, an antioxidant — may actually increase cancer risk. But the research was done on rats, some of which had a high propensity for developing cancer, and some of the doses were astronomically high, says dermatologist Steven Wang. All the experts we talked to said the evidence...
Block the sun. Over time, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun causes many changes in the skin, including wrinkles, discoloration, freckles or age spots, benign (non-cancerous) growths such and pre-cancerous or cancerous growths such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. In fact, most skin cancers are related to sun exposure. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with the physical blocker zinc oxide and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Cover exposed areas with protective clothing, such as a long-sleeve shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Seek professional help for skin problems. Your skin will not be perfect. It can be dry or oily; it can develop rashes and acne, among many other issues. Address the problem with a professional skin expert, either a skin aesthetician at your local salon or a dermatologist for more severe skin problems.
Self screening. Over the course of your life, you should pay attention to all parts of your skin. Familiarize yourself with it, so you'll notice any changes that might occur, such as different moles or patches that might indicate skin cancer. Whenever you have a question or concern, make sure you see your doctor.