Skin, the outermost soft covering, is the largest organ (in terms of surface area) in the human body. It plays various important roles which are crucial for sustaining human life. It is the boundary which physically distinguishes us from the surroundings. The skin is considered important for a person’s aesthetic status and self-esteem. A healthy and glowing skin boosts a person’s confidence and that is why it is the desire of almost every person to have a flawless, healthy and glowing skin. This makes it important that we take the utmost care of our skin. Here is the list of 7 scientifically evident tips for maintaining healthy skin which is unanimously accepted by the expert dermatologists from all over the world.
- Regulated Sun Exposure:
Exposure of our skin to the sun is essential. Sunlight helps our skin to synthesize vitamin D, which is a crucial nutrient for the maintenance of strong bones, healthy immune system and a healthy skin. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause serious health problems. So make sure to get enough exposure to sun.
Sun exposure, especially in the morning, helps our skin to look healthy and also boosts the immune system but, prolonged sun exposure can be hazardous. Avoid long exposures to sun mainly during the peak time (12.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m.) of the day, when the sun rays are very intense as the ultra violet rays, present in the sunlight, can cause erythema generally known as sunburn, tanning and can also lead to the development of skin cancer. However, very short durations during peak hours (like 15 minutes for a fair skinned individual) can produce a healthy amount of Vitamin D and other health benefits. That being said, when you are out in the sun for longer durations or at the peak time of the day, it is better that you protect your skin from these intense sun-rays.
You can wear protective clothing like a combination of wide brim hat with full sleeves shirt, long skirts, or long pants (even better than using sunscreen) or use a safe sunscreen lotion with an appropriate SPF (between 15- 50 SPF) at regular intervals. If you are using sunscreen, it is better and safer if you choose the ones with zinc or titanium oxide (but avoid nanoparticles). Never opt for sunscreen with SPF more than 50.
- Maintain a healthy digestive system
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential for keeping the skin cells healthy. Eat a healthy diet which contains all the important macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals) as well as all micronutrients (like iron, zinc etc.). Researchers claim that eating vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium rich diets and reducing the intake of unhealthy fats, processed or refined carbohydrates, promotes younger looking skin.
If you have deficiency of any of the essential components in your body, you can opt for supplements like MSM. MSM is an organic supplement for sulfur, which is one of the components essential for procuring healthy skin as well as healthy immune system. But, before taking such supplements, confirm their deficiency and safety by consulting an expert. There is a big link between a healthy gut and healthy skin.
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In addition to eating a balanced meal it is also important that one should take his/her meal at regular intervals for maintaining proper digestion. Avoid unhygienic food to prevent gut infections as they impair the digestive system and thus blocks proper nutrition of all the cells of the body, including skin cells. Impaired digestive system and stomach infections calls upon skin diseases like acne. Also, avoid excessive alcohol intake as it leads to malnutrition, which means your skin will lack the nutrients which are necessary for making it healthy.
- Drink plenty of water
Drinking sufficient amount of water, approximately 6-8 glasses of water inclusive of low-fat milk or sugar-free liquids, helps in keeping your skin hydrated which is very important for the efficient functioning of the skin and the creation of healthy skin. It helps in flushing the toxins out from the body through sweating and helps in achieving a glowing and attractive skin.
- Use skin care cosmetics more sensibly and wisely
Whether consider them a need or luxury but in this fast paced world, it has become necessary to use a variety of makeup products very often to look more attractive and beautiful throughout the day and even night. It sometimes becomes impossible to avoid using these products. The use of safe skin care products like effective sunscreen lotions, moisturizers, and cleansing products can help in making your skin healthy whereas some harmful cosmetics can in fact cause damage to your skin. It is really a challenge to choose a product which is really effective and free of risks. But, how can one decide which one to use?
One of the important measures is to be aware of the ingredients of the products and their role while buying any skincare or a makeup product. Verify that the product you are buying is free of toxins like phthalates or endocrine disruptors, which are potentially dangerous for the skin or overall health. Also, avoid excessive use of these products. Use them only when they are really required. Another important step you can take to maintain your skin healthy is to use natural alternatives instead of the synthetic cosmetics products. They are much safer, have lost lasting benefits, and they actually make your skin healthy by nourishing it instead of just faking it to be healthy.
- Avoid stress and get enough sleep
Expert dermatologists throughout the world believe that emotional stress turns the skin to be more sensitive and increases the probability of a person to suffer from skin diseases like acne. Emotional stress disturbs the hormonal balance which is in turn reflected by the skin becoming dull and more prone to infections. So, if you are emotionally stressed make sure that you take some steps to manage it.
Regular exercise increases blood flow in the skin thus it is very useful for obtaining healthy skin. But like any other body part, excessive physical stress will make the skin feel exhausted and can turn it dull and deprived of oxygen and other nutrients. Thus, avoid excessive physical stress and fatigue.
Getting enough amount of sleep is also crucial for rejuvenating and creating healthy skin. It helps in easing physical as well as emotional stress.
- Clean your skin regularly
It is important to clean your skin at regular intervals of time to remove the infectious microorganisms, dust or dirt, harmful chemicals or oils which are stuck onto the skin but make sure to use cleansing products which are gentle on your skin. Also, limit your bathing/washing time and avoid using excessive hot or cold water to avoid excessive dryness. After taking bath, gently pat the skin dry and apply a good moisturizer. Application of moisturizer helps in keeping the skin hydrated and improves skin barrier function. If possible choose a natural moisturizer.
If you notice a wart or skin tag on your body while cleaning, it's important to take the necessary precautions. Although skin tags are harmless in nature, they can get caught on jewelry/clothing and cause bleeding and infection. Unlike skin tags, warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, a viral infection. This means warts are very contagious. Fortunately, many skin tags can be safely and easily removed at home. To learn more, check out this article by iManScape on removing skin tags.
- Protect your skin
It is important to protect your skin from extreme cold or hot environments, pollution, harsh chemicals and physical injuries. Extreme cold environments can cause cracks in your skin due to dryness whereas excessive hot climate can cause excessive perspiration which can result in dehydration or evaporation of important fluids. Try to reduce the exposure to harsh chemicals which can cause deleterious effects to your skin or your body. Try out AO + Mist, a product by Mother Dirt, which restores essential bacteria that's been removed by modern hygiene and lifestyles.
Make it a habit to follow these tips and your healthy skin with thank you!
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- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 2015. (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/skin-care-and-aging)
- Tortora GJ. and Grabowski SR. (1993) Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Harper Collins College Publishers.
- Patent- US6630158 B2. Dietary supplement composition and method for improving and maintaining healthy skin. (https://www.google.com/patents/US6630158)
- Babar Rao, Firdaus S. Dhabhar, Wanhong Ding, and Richard D. Granstein. Stress-Induced Changes in Skin Barrier Function in Healthy Women. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Volume 117, Issue 2, August 2001, Pages 309–31. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15413296)
- Ashley L. Hodges and Deborah K. Walker. Skin Care for Women. AWHONN. December-January, 2017. Volume 20, Issue 6, Pages 609–613
- Environment Working Group, USA. Skindeep database. (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/)
- Helen Sanders, Health Ambition. (https://www.healthambition.com/remove-skin-tags-warts-naturally/)