You probably already know that skin is the largest organ in your body. Its cells are continually being replaced as they're lost due to wear and tear, so it's never too late, or too early, to think about skin care. When you consider the main functions of skin you'll soon see why looking after it is so important.
1) To form a barrier between the environment and your body's internal organs, protecting them from sunlight, injury and infection.
2) To sense touch, temperature, pain, pressure and itching.
3) Temperature control by sweating or conserving heat.
So, to perform all these functions - as well as the one we often think of first, how we look, taking good care of your skin is vital.
There are many attacks on our skin every day; sun, wind, lack of proper hydration or care. Fairly soon you will look in the mirror and wonder when your skin started to look so dull or when the wrinkles started to appear.
The risks of summer sun are well publicised - less is written about winter problems. Winter is a wonderful time of the year - holidays, warm fires, crisp air, and for many, fresh fallen snow. But the colder temperature and lower humidity affect the condition of your skin.
As with most things in life, prevention is better than a cure. However, for those who have not had eight hours sleep every night, moisturized regularly, stayed out of the sun and never touched alcohol what is needed is to reduce further aging and regain a more vibrant appearance. Where to start?
NUTRITION and HYDRATION
As many people are aware, what goes inside will show on the outside. The best prevention from aging skin is to provide your body with a proper diet of healthy fresh foods as well as sufficient hydration. Alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration and should be limited.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will improve the texture of your skin and fight dry skin. Healthy foods can provide the vitamin C and E that are so rich in antioxidants. Add to the steps noted above a good night's sleep and you are on your way to getting the fresh, vibrant skin you desire! Good quality skin care products can really make a noticeable difference.
No article on skin would be complete without mention of sunscreen. So if you live in, or are heading off to, sunnier climes - whether you're 18 or 58, it is vital to protect skin from the damage of the sun. While the dangers were not as well known years ago (or so severe) it's only common sense for everyone to safeguard the sensitive skin on their face from the harsh damage caused by the UV rays from the sun.
Whenever you're outside, even on a sunny winter's day, use a moisturizer or foundation with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher every day. UVA and UVB rays contribute to wrinkles and burns not to mention the possibility of skin cancer.
As skin ages it tends to become drier. Dry skin will show more wrinkles than well hydrated skin. Moisturizers create a barrier that keeps the skin from losing essential water.
The moisturizers available today are far more luxurious than the cold creams of yesterday. Starting a moisturizing routine will help your skin retain hydration which contributes to a supple texture reducing the appearance of fine lines.
Moisturizers also prepare the skin for the application of makeup which will apply smoother and create a fine finish without cracking or flaking.
Pollution in the air and chemicals in our food release free radicals into our bodies. Free radicals break down the collagen and elastin in your skin which leads to wrinkles and sagging. Antioxidants in your facial products or in supplements will protect the collagen and elastin which keeps skin firm and supple.
AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
AHA comes in many forms, from store bought creams to dermatologist applied formulations. The AHA sloughs off skin in what is commonly called a ‘peel’. A mild formula used at home can treat fine lines to great effect.
There's far more to skin-care than I've been able to cover in this short article, but I hope I have stimulated your interest to look further into simple skin care routines to help you look younger than you really are.
Joy Healey is a qualified nutritionist and wellness coach. For more free information on skin rejuvenation and wrinkle reduction visit her website www.healthy-info.co.uk/skin/index_skin.html .