Beauty, the saying goes, is only skin-deep. But the importance of skin goes a lot deeper. Most of us think of skin as just our body’s visible outer layer, but doctors consider skin an organ, meaning that it is very much alive and charged with many important duties.
Unlike the other organs of your body, you can apply medicines, moisturisers, and other healthy potions directly to the skin. For that reason alone, there is absolutely no reason you can’t have healthy, attractive skin throughout your life. To keep your skin and face young and healthy, and to maintain its natural, protective moisture, follow these tips.
1. Skip the long, steamy showers and opt for shorter, cooler sprays.
Long, hot showers strip skin of its moisture and wash away protective oils. So limit showers to 10 minutes and keep the water cool.
2. Check the dryness of your skin by scratching a small area on your arm or leg with your fingernail.
If it leaves a white mark, your skin is indeed dry and needs both moisture and exfoliation (that is, removal of the outermost layer of dead skin cells).
3. Switch from a deodorant soap to one with added fat, like Dove, Oilatum, or Neutrogena.
Deodorant soaps can be drying, whereas added-fat soaps leave an oily, yet beneficial, film on your skin.
4. Smooth a couple of drops of olive oil over your face,
elbows, knees, and the backs of your arms every evening. The oil contains monounsaturated fat, which refreshes and hydrates skin without leaving a greasy residue.
5. Select a moisturizer that contains skin-repairing humectants.
Is that a new word for you? Humectants attract water when applied to your skin and improve its hydration. Good ones include glycerin, propylene glycol, and urea. Also look for skin products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), compounds that help reduce wrinkles and improve dry skin, acne, and age spots. AHAs, which naturally occur in grapes, apples, citrus, and sour milk (think buttermilk or yogurt), work by speeding up the turnover of old skin cells, making skin look younger.
6. Use a loofah daily to keep ingrown hairs and scaly skin under control.
While in the shower, gently scrub bumpy or scaly skin with a circular motion to remove dead cells. For extra-smooth skin, sprinkle a few drops of an alpha-hydroxy product on the loofah before scrubbing.
7. Smooth aloe vera gel over extra-dry skin.
The acids in aloe eat away dead skin cells and speed up the healing process. Cut off an end of an aloe leaf, split open, and spread the gel on the dry area.