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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Protect Your Skin using This Helpful Tips

protect-skin# Stay Hydrated

Keeping your skin moist is essential to skin protection. Skin that is properly hydrated retains pliability and prevents chapped skin or scaly, flaky skin:

  • Drink lots of water. This is key to hydrating your skin.
  • Use the right moisturizing cream or lotion for your skin type and apply it right after drying off from your bath or shower. Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient removes natural oils needed by your skin.
  • Take warm (not hot) showers or baths, and limit them to between 5 and 10 minutes. It seems counterintuitive, but exposure to water actually dries out your skin. If dry skin persists, consider cutting back on the number of baths you take.

# Limit Sun Exposure

You’ve heard the message a zillion times, and there’s good reason for that unrelenting repetition. Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun cause many types of skin damage:

  • Skin cancer
  • Wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Discolorations
  • Benign growths

Using skin care products that offer ultraviolet protection is one of the best ways to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful:

  • Use sunscreen every day and reapply regularly whenever you’re outdoors for extended periods.
  • Cover skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
  • Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Keep in mind that tanning beds are just as harmful as direct sunlight, as they also emit ultraviolet rays.

# Take Health Precautions

Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the skin bordering the lips, while bacteria can contribute to acne and other skin conditions. Practicing skin protection means paying close attention to what touches your skin, to lower your chances of exposure to germs:

  • Don’t share any personal items, such as lip balms or toothbrushes.
  • Don’t share drinks with other people.
  • Avoid touching your face with your fingers or with objects like telephone receivers that have been used by others.

# Use Gentle Skin Care

Washing your face is important to remove dirt, oils, germs, and dead cells. However, scrubbing your face causes irritation that can lead to chapped skin that, in turn, can leave skin vulnerable. For best results, you should:

  • Wash your face twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Gently massage your face with a washcloth, using a circular motion.
  • Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap and debris.
  • Pat your skin dry — don’t rub — then apply your facial moisturizer.

# Know Your Skin

Pay attention to odd freckles, moles, and growths on your skin, and consult your doctor if you notice any changes. For example, a change in a mole can indicate potential skin cancer. Be sure to treat any cuts that may occur to prevent infection. Other skin conditions that merit a dermatologist visit include frequent acne, inflamed or irritated dry skin, and skin rashes and irritations that don’t go away, as these could be signs of one of the many types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation.

With proper skin care to pamper skin from the outside and with a good diet to nourish from within, skin protection comes down to a few simple steps. But should you ever notice any problems, get medical attention to resolve them quickly and avoid putting your skin at risk.

About Skin Moisturizer

Cleansers and moisturizers are the most important skin products, particularly for softening dry skin. A skin moisturizer works by sealing moisture into the outer layer of the skin and by pulling moisture from the inner layers of skin to the outer layer.

Key ingredients that seal in moisture are petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and dimethicone. Glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, and vitamins help attract water into the outer layer of the skin.

Some skin moisturizers also contain an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which exfoliates dead skin, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation. AHAs are a good choice if you have very dry skin.

# Finding the Skin Moisturizer For You

It may take some trial and error, Halem says, so be patient. Follow these guidelines as you shop and, if you’re not getting the results you want, try a new one the next time:

  • Note the first five ingredients. Look for common active ingredients, such as lanolin, glycerin, or petrolatum, Dr. Fusco says. Glycerin is less likely than lanolin to cause an allergic reaction, she says. She also recommends picking a moisturizer that’s made by a reputable company.
  • Go for added sunscreen. Protecting your skin from harmful sun damage is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin looking young, so buy a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of at least 30. You’ll have to do some searching, but more companies are offering face and body moisturizers with sunscreen, Halem says.
  • Make it skin-type appropriate. The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s a good idea to use a different moisturizer on your face than you do on your body, Fusco says and recommends buying one that’s labeled “non-comedogenic” because it won’t clog your pores. Of course, choose one that’s right for your skin type. If you know you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to look for a moisturizer labeled hypoallergenic. If you have oily skin, go with a light, oil-free moisturizer. If you have dry skin, get something richer. And if you have combination skin, go with a lighter moisturizer for your whole face and dot drier areas with a heavier cream, Fusco says. Keep in mind that you may need a lighter lotion in the summer, and a cream or ointment in the winter.
  • Consider using a moisturizer with retinol before bed. Retinol is vitamin A for your skin, Halem says. It works by increasing the speed at which your skin cells turn over. You can find it over the counter or by prescription, but use it carefully as it may cause a skin irritation, red skin, or dry skin.

# Relief by Prescription

If your skin is very dry, consider a prescription moisturizer. Prescription moisturizers contain the AHA lactic acid, which softens the top layer of your skin and can do a better job if over-the-counter moisturizers aren’t working for you, Fusco says. AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Tell your doctor if you experience burning, irritation, red skin, itching, or a rash.

Another prescription option is a barrier cream, which contains humectants that hold on to moisture longer, Fusco says. Barrier creams penetrate a little deeper than standard moisturizers, she adds.

# When to Moisturize

Once you find the right product, moisturize every day and you’ll go a long way toward preventing dry skin and even camouflaging wrinkles. While a skin moisturizer can’t get rid of wrinkles — because wrinkles begin much deeper in the skin due to collagen loss — it can plump up the skin and minimize their appearance, Halem says.

Whichever moisturizer you choose, it will work better if you apply it to damp skin. Think about a sponge that’s dried out, Fusco says. If you put moisturizer on it, it won’t go anywhere. But if you soak the sponge in water and coat it with moisturizer, the sponge will absorb it. Your skin works the same way, happily lapping it up.

Treat Sunburn Tips

The unexpected hot weather has done what it always does – leave some Brits red-faced. Yep, you’ve got sunburn, so how do you treat it?

We all know there is nothing worse than bad sunburn, and we don’t want to scare you but while you may not care about the ageing effect it has on your skin now (it takes a minimum of 15 years for sun damage to show), the lifetime risk of melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – can double from just ONE dose of sunburn. Yikes.

So first things first let’s chill, then fight the free radical damage.

Dr Anita Sturnham, a skin expert who has worked in a private mole clinic for over 7 years in addition to working in NHS Melanoma screening centres says “sunburn can develop over a number of hours, so it’s important to act quickly at the first signs of redness”. Here are the steps to follow:

# Remove The Heat

To remove the heat resulting from sunburn you need to cool your skin immediately. Dr Anita suggests wrapping ice in a flannel and applying this to affected areas to subside the burning feeling. Follow this with a cool shower or bath – never hot! Try adding some Aromatherapy Associates Support Peppermint Bath & Shower Oil (£40/ 55ml) which will have a lovely cooling effect on the skin while the peppermint and lavender work their anti-inflammatory magic. Alternatively try fresh mint and cucumber, packed with antioxidants. Dr Anita says “with a 95% water content cucumber is very hydrating and it has natural cooling properties to take the sting out of a burn” – particularly good for the face that you can’t ‘bathe’. Either apply slices of refrigerated cucumber to your face and closed eyes for 15-20 minutes, or fill a jug of ice cold water with slices of cucumber or mint leaves infused for 20 minutes and then soak a wash cloth in the liquid and dab it on sun burnt areas.

# Soothe the Skin

You now need to lather yourself in nourishing antioxidant skincare, which can help fight free radical damage produced by exposure to radiation from the sun. Antioxidants fight free radicals by speeding up the skin’s natural repair process so eat lots of veggies and fruit, plus pick clever moisturisers. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a wonder balm that protects and repairs irritated skin while it hydrates and soothes it. Oh, and remember to stock up on the best after sun before you jet off.

# Drink and Eat Fluids

Dr Anita says you need to drink plenty of fluids to keep the body hydrated and take this tip from Hollywood dermatologist Dr Howard Murad: “Water that is in raw fruits and vegetables is ‘structured water’ which is more efficient and has the ability to better penetrate water into our living cells. So eat your water, this way you’ll be able to stay hydrated significantly longer.”

# Cover Up

Don’t even think about getting back in your bikini! “Keep covered up from the sun until redness subsides” Dr Anita says. Burn-on-burn is not only painful but very dangerous.

# Seek Medical Advice

It goes without saying, but we will anyway: If your case of sunburn is severe, seek medical advice as soon as you can.