This Is What Dermatologists Want You to Know About Skin Care from This Is What Dermatologists Want You to Know About Skin Care
This Is What Dermatologists Want You to Know About Skin Care
"Be good to your skin — you'll wear it every day for the rest of your life," said the esteemed beauty empress Renée Rouleau, and she couldn’t be more correct.
Your skin is actually the largest organ of your body, and it needs more care and attention than just an occasional visit to the dermatologist’s office. (And no, we don’t just mean slapping on a little sunscreen if you happen to be spending an afternoon outdoors.)
Thankfully, keeping your skin healthy is also a fringe benefit of maintaining the rest of your body’s health, since exercising, eating healthy and staying hydrated can all contribute to glowing skin.
To help you do so, our editors sorted through a slew of suggestions from noted experts to explain the things that dermatologists want you to know about skincare. Below, we have put together a must-read list of 15 facts and formulas.
Read product ingredients carefully
Some buzzy ingredients tend to be emphasized on the labels of skincare products, but the amount of a given ingredient included is just as important to note. "Just because they are present doesn't mean they are effective," says Todd Schlesinger, MD, FAAD, Board Certified Dermatologist and Medical Director of the Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston.
According to Dr. Schlesinger, exercise is one of the best ways to increase blood circulation, which in turn carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Sweating during a good workout can also flush toxins out of your body, serving as a great skin detox.
Always wear sunscreen
"I recommend that my patients wear sunscreen all the time," says Adam Mamelak, MD, FRCPC, FACMS, from Sanova Dermatology. "All of us get incidental exposures of sun that in some cases can cause sunburn and significant skin damage. Wearing sunscreen on a regular basis can help prevent this."
Beware of over-exfoliating
Exfoliating is an important part of maintaining healthy skin, but be cautious of how often you're doing it. The frequency should depend on your skin type. "Over-exfoliation can often lead to breakage. If you are just starting to, I often recommend going slow," says Mamelak. "Once or twice a week at the beginning and increasing as tolerated."
Skincare isn't just on the surface, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout each day. Dehydration is making you suffer in many ways. "The single most important factor in protecting your skin is hydration," says Dr. Elizabeth Hale of the Skin Cancer Foundation. This is because when you're dehydrated, blood flow is slowed, preventing your skin from getting enough oxygen and other nutrients.
Don't neglect the neck
The skin on the neck is just as important as the skin on the face, so be careful not to overlook it. Throughout the day, your neck is in constant motion and more susceptible to unwanted wrinkles. Combat that by extending your daily skincare routines to your neck — those moisturizers and anti-aging products will go a long way.
Pick products suited to your skin type
When shopping for products, try to buy what's best for you. Be mindful of your natural skin type, what you're trying to achieve, and any allergies or sensitivities that you may have. For example, "alcohol-based toners and astringents can be very irritating to people with sensitive skin," says Dr. Mamelak.
Maintain a healthy diet
To keep your skin in great health, "avoid foods with high glycemic index, processed foods and refined sugars," advises Schlesinger. Research findings suggest that eating sugary foods can result in inflammation and accelerate aging by causing wrinkles and sagging of the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Stay away from tanning booths
Even though they seem to be a speedy way to attain a summertime glow, tanning booths do more harm than good. "Tell everybody to avoid indoor tanning," says Dr. Mamelak. "It is much stronger than natural sun exposure and, over time, can be detrimental to your skin and health."
Don't forget to remove makeup
Stop popping pimples
No one likes breaking out, but when a zit does pop up, don't pop it! When you do so, you leave your skin — which now has an open wound — susceptible to a ton of dirt, oil and bacteria. This also leads to scarring and dark spots, both of which take much more time to fix than a simple, unpopped pimple.
Protect yourself outdoors
"Sunscreen can't block every single type of light ray emitted by the sun," says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board-certified dermatologist and the President and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians. "Wear a full-brimmed hat and sun-protective clothing when possible for the best protection."
Get an annual full-body exam
Don't neglect visits to your dermatologist for a full-body skin exam to detect what may be early signs of skin cancer. "Detecting skin cancer in its early stages can save your life," says Dr. Mamelak. "Once a cancer has progressed and spread, it is more difficult to treat, with much poorer outcomes." It's recommended that a person with normal skin and no family history of melanoma or other forms of skin cancer get an exam once a year.