Protecting Your Skin With Preventive Skin Care

The skin you have now is the only skin you'll ever get. Keeping it at its best starts with how you treat it every day.

Take Charge of Your Skin

Start simple. You can spend all the money you want on a complicated skin care routine, but what matters more is that you have good skin care habits. For instance, do you properly cleanse your skin? If you wear makeup, do you remove it all at the end of the day? Do you wear sunscreen, even when it's not sunny outside? Even though you won't see immediate results, these little steps will make a big difference over time.

Start now. If you're a teenager, start now to develop healthy habits for your skin. If you're older, you can still nourish, pamper, and protect your skin. With wise care, your skin can stay looking good as you age.

Seek professional help for skin problems. If you notice changes in your skin, or if something about your skin bothers you, consult a pro, such as a dermatologist.

Block the sun. Protecting your skin from the sun is a must. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause wrinkles, discoloration, freckles, age spots, growths such as moles, and even skin cancer. To protect your skin, you should:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants.
  • Use a generous amount of sunscreen everyday of the year and reapply it frequently (every two hours, more often if swimming or sweating).
  • Use sunscreens that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more and that have UVA and UVB coverage (it should say "broad-spectrum" on the label). Tinted sunscreens contain iron oxide, which provides more protection against visible light (which causes dark spots) and blue light (which may contribute to skin aging, similar to UVA).
  • Don't use tanning beds.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 26, 2021



American Academy of Dermatology: "Children's skin care;" "How do I prevent skin cancer?" and "Sunscreens."

National Cancer Institute: "Skin Cancer Prevention (PDQ)."


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