Good skin care—including sun protection and gentle cleansing—can keep your skin healthy and glowing.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Don't have time for intensive skin care? You can still pamper yourself by acing the basics. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay natural aging and prevent various skin problems. Get started with these five no nonsense tips.
1. Protect yourself from the sun
One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.
For the most complete sun protection:
2. Don't smoke
Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin which decreases blood flow and makes skin paler. This also depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health.
Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking, such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke, can contribute to wrinkles.
In addition, smoking increases your risk of squamous cell skin cancer. If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn't clear but some research suggests that a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated.
5. Manage stress
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind, take steps to manage your stress. Get enough sleep, set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.