August 2011

Skin Care, 365 Days a Year

While many people are diligent about slathering on the sunscreen or checking for suspicious moles during summer months, most seem to forget about good skin care practices when the temperature drops. The official season of sun may be ending, but we still need to pamper our skin daily. Here are some tips from the experts for beautiful, healthy skin:
  1. Quench your skin’s thirst: According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), dry skin is a common problem that can be caused by many reasons from diabetes to smoking. If dry skin is left untreated, you become prone to complications like infections that can be far worse than more obvious aesthetic issues. The NIA recommends staying out of the sun, drinking plenty of liquids and using lotion daily to help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Avoid harsh soaps and hot water, and consider getting a humidifier if you think your indoor air could use some moisture. For more helpful info from the National Institute on Aging, visit www.nia.nih.gov.
  1. Know your ABCs: All over the world, one acronym has helped countless people stop skin cancer in its tracks: ABCDE. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) urges individuals to remember what each letter stands for while performing self-exams. “A” is for asymmetry (a mole with one side very much unlike the other). “B” is for border (moles with poorly defined edges) and “C” represents color (varied shades of brown or even red and blue). “D” should remind you that many cancerous lesions are more than six millimeters in diameter, and “E” stands for evolving, or anything that looks different in size, color or shape from other skin areas. The AAD notes that you should be meticulous while you self-examine, using a hand mirror to check your back, neck and scalp. You can find specific exam instructions and photos at www.aad.org.
  1. Don’t ditch the sunscreen after summer: Think twice before packing up the sunscreen when the weather cools down. Groups like the Skin Cancer Foundation (www.skincancer.org) note that while it may not be sunny and 80 degrees, the sun is still up in the sky every day. Whether you’re waiting for the bus, raking leaves or skiing, your face is especially vulnerable to UV rays. Use at least 15 SPF, and remember to reapply if you’re active outside for long periods of time. In addition to sunscreen, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sunglasses for protecting your eyes and eyelids, as well as a wide-brimmed hat to shade the back of your neck.
Taking cooler showers, applying lotion and checking for skin irregularities are quick and easy ways to protect yourself, so establish good, year-round skin care habits today.