There are many types of autoimmune skin conditions that can affect your comfort, appearance, and confidence.  However, some thoughtful changes to your daily routine can support your skin's health at the cellular level and help prevent or ease the signs of aging. These are our best tips for managing your autoimmune skin challenges and ensuring that your skin is as healthy as it can be as you go through life.

1. Be gentle

It's tempting to load up with strong ingredients designed to strip pores, wrinkles, and blemishes into oblivion. Instead of beating skin into submission, think of your body's largest organ as something to pamper. Use gentle cleansers with minimal ingredients designed to clean without irritation.

A gentle cleansing routine sets your skin up for other treatments down the line and preserves the skin's natural protective barrier. It's especially important for those with psoriasis to care for their skin gently.

2. Add a hydrating toner

Sensitive, dry skin can benefit from a hydrating toner just after cleansing. The skin on the face and neck is thinner than the rest of the body, so adding moisture at this step further preserves the skin's natural barrier. Avoid any harsh or drying toners at all costs because they can cause flakiness and itching.

3. Use smart exfoliation

Exfoliation is tricky, especially if you already have sensitive patches from conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Instead of using abrasion, flood with moisture by layering a heavy moisturizing agent such as vitamin E and wrapping in plastic wrap for a few hours. 

Elbows and knees are perfect for a treatment like this because they both take a lot of stress during the day. Leave the oil on for a few hours without the wrap if it's the face or neck. Then, you can gently remove flakes and excess skin with a soft cloth, paying close attention to any pressure or bleeding.

4. Lessen your stress

Some stress is normal and helps us get things done every day. If you're experiencing chronic stress, though, it can make any skin irritations and aging signs worse. Your skin is an immediate stress perceiver, meaning any pressure on your body and brain directly affects the condition of your skin. 

Don't worry. You don't need to eliminate stress to experience some relief from skin irritations and improve the look of your skin's surface. However, being conscious about your stress levels and taking time to bring those levels down when you can will help.

5. Clean up your diet

No, we don't mean following fads, going through cleanses, or spending a fortune on this month's trendy superfood. Instead, focus on eating enough to support your daily functions, keep your blood sugar balanced, and provide the necessary vitamins and minerals. This can be especially important for those with psoriasis. 

Making small changes, such as eating smaller meals more often, make a big difference. A healthy, varied diet with plenty of skin-healthy foods such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and C, and protein provides the building blocks for an overall healthier appearance in the skin. 

6. Apply sunscreen

The oxidative effects of the sun can cause aging signs like spots, wrinkles, and dullness. Although some sun exposure can help reduce the build-up of skin plaque and shedding, too much sun will undo any benefit.

Sunscreen helps protect your skin from UVA and UVB damage, preventing the oxidation of your skin cells. Sunscreen (and avoiding strong sun in general) helps preserve your skin's natural ability to repair itself and helps your skin stay healthy throughout your lifetime.

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PubMed Central: "Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging," "Natural and Sun-Induced Aging of Human Skin."

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