Show some love to the skin you’re in
By Lucinda Buescher, MD
Healthy skin is something that everyone wants, but it requires regular maintenance to achieve. SIU Medicine staff would like to offer some simple but effective advice to keep the body's largest organ healthy and radiant. Here are five tips from our board-certified dermatologists.
1. WEAR SUNSCREEN
You guessed it: Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) that’s at least 30 is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy. Sunscreen protects you against ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which can accelerate skin aging, cause wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer. Remember to reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
If you have concerns about chemicals in your sunscreen, talk to your dermatologist. He or she can help you select the right product for your needs.
While you're at it, be sure to practice other sun-safe techniques—like seeking shade and wearing lightweight long layers, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
2. AVOID COMMON SKIN NO-NO'S
In addition to excessive sun exposure, the following things can be harmful to your skin and lead to a variety of problems that affect your skin's overall health and appearance, including wrinkles, cancer, scars and infections:
- Tanning beds
- Cigarette smoking
- Squeezing pimples
- Scrubbing or rubbing your skin too hard
3. LEARN ABOUT YOUR SKIN TYPE
Not all skincare products were created equal, and what works for someone else might not work for you.
If you're not satisfied with the way your skin looks and feels, talk to a dermatologist. Your doctor can help you select the right type of products based on your skin type—sensitive, normal, dry, oily, or combination.
4. STICK TO A SIMPLE SKINCARE ROUTINE
For optimal daily health, skin should be clean, moisturized and protected from the sun. This means using a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen every day.
In addition to paying attention to what you put on your skin, be sure to pay attention to what you put in your body, too. Eating nutrient-dense whole foods and drinking lots of water nourishes your skin cells and can reduce your risk of blemishes, breakouts and excessive oil production.
5. CHECK YOUR SKIN REGULARLY— AND KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Skin cancer is more common than any other type of cancer—and early detection is important for improving outcomes. Get in the habit of checking your skin regularly for potential changes or symptoms of concern, including:
- Moles that change size, color or shape
- Unusual rashes
- New or unusual growths or lumps
- Sores that don't heal