September is National Skin Care Awareness Month, designed to help draw attention to skin health and care. Our skin is our body’s largest organ, so it is important that we take good care of it.
Visit Your Dermatologist for a Skin Exam
Seeing a dermatologist at least once a year is a crucial step to maintaining healthy skin. If you have not had a skin exam yet, we recommend you schedule one. Having a specialist look at moles and skin changes is especially important. It can help with early detection of skin cancer, which is important since it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Since most people only see the dermatologist once a year it is important to look at your skin about once a month to monitor any changes. It can be challenging to see certain parts of your body like your back or the back of your legs so be sure to stand in front of a full-length mirror and do not forget to check your palms, soles of your feet, in between your toes and your scalp.
The ABC’s of moles are things you should watch for. Be sure to note any changes as they occur:
- Asymmetrical Shape: One half is unlike the other half.
- Border: Notched, irregular or scalloped borders.
- Color: Multiple colors, changes in color or uneven color.
- Diameter: Larger than 1/4 inch.
- Evolving: Change in size, shape, color or height, or new signs and symptoms, such as itchiness or bleeding.
Continue Using Sunscreen
Summer might be closing in, but do not let the shorter days make you think that you don’t need sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen daily is an essential part of both healthy and youthful skin. It prevents and protects from the UV damage that is present, even when the sun is not. It is worth it to find a sunscreen you love for your skin since this should be a year-round staple. A broad-spectrum SPF is best.
Your skin is made up of 64% water. Since our bodies use substantial amounts of water each day, replenishing by drinking more water is super important. Without enough water, our skin is not able to function at its best, but adequate hydration can do wonders for speeding up healing, keeping skin nourished and helping to flush out toxins.
Fuel Your Skin From the Inside Out
There are so many factors that contribute to healthy, radiant, youthful skin. Simply following a regular skincare regimen may not be enough to bring your best skin forward. Diet is an essential contributor and important piece of skin health. Eating healthy, nutrient dense food reduces inflammation, speeds healing, and helps your skin to function at its best. Focus on adding as many colorful fruits and veggies as possible, think “eat the rainbow” and try minimizing sugar, processed and packaged foods.
When your body is stressed, you release adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. If we experience repeated exposure to stress, these hormones stay active for too long and wreak havoc on our skin. Stress also speeds up the aging process because when we are stressed, we experience a decline in the production of collagen, elastin and other skin proteins which reduce the skin’s elasticity and contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
Johnson offers practical steps that can help to minimize the effects of stress on your life:
- Exercise regularly, even a small amount, will help boost your mood and minimize the effects of stress on the body and skin.
- Prioritize “me time” into your day by taking time to do things you enjoy.
- Incorporate regular stress relieving techniques like yoga, meditation, facials, massage or whatever helps you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
- Get plenty of restful sleep.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it is important to check it, protect it and nurture it.
If you aren’t already a subscriber, signup up for the newsletter from Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery to hear the latest about cosmetic specials and events.
Read more articles from Master Aesthetician Ashley Johnson.