In general, what is good for your overall health is good for your skin. Vigorous exercise, for instance, can help postpone wrinkling by increasing the thickness and elasticity of the skin. See wrinkle treatment for more information.
Special care is desirable:
Don't drink excessively. Too much alcohol causes dilation of the facial blood vessels and results in red spots.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. The same ultraviolet rays that promote tanning also dry the skin and can cause cancer.
Cut down on smoking. It impairs circulation and encourages wrinkling.
Keep living quarters humid, especially in the winter when central heating reduces interior humidity.
Avoid crash diets. Rapid weight loss causes skin to sag.
Avoid squinting. It lines the face.
The Best Soap For Each Type Of Skin: For normal skin: Ivory soap. For oily skin: Transparent soap or a detergent-based soap. For dry skin: Super fatted soap. Avoid so-called "natural" or fruited soaps. They offer no benefits and may not be as pure as Ivory.
Keeping Your Skin Young: Wash your face after exercise to remove perspiration. It causes moisture loss and creates a dry condition.
Use moisturizing cream to protect your face from wind and sun exposure. Also apply it after showering to lock in moisture.
Rinse with warm instead of hot water. Absence of oil glands around the eyes causes tiny lines to form. Use cream or petroleum jelly, gently massage from the outside corners toward the nose and eyelids.
Protect lips from exposure with a lip balm or sunscreen lotion.
Ice water stimulates skin circulation and tightens the pores, giving a younger look. Therefore, submerge a clean face into icy water for 20 seconds once a day. (The time underwater can be increased as the skin becomes comfortable with the tingling sensation caused by the icy water.) Then, lightly pat (don't rub) the skin dry, and lightly spray your face with sparkling mineral water.
The Sun And Your Skin: Sun damage is cumulative, starting with childhood exposure. Once a certain amount of damage has been done, there is a potential for developing skin cancer. If you have been a beach-goer all of your life and stop at age 45, the potential for skin cancer is nevertheless already there.
When the sun's effects begin to show: By age 50, at least. People who have soaked up the sun a lot will show wrinkles and possibly swollen blood vessels on the cheeks.
What can be done about sun-aged skin:
Very little except, possibly, the radical method of dermabrasion. Prevention is really about the only way to avoid the harmful effects of the sun. The most serious of those effects:
Skin cancer, particularly malignant melanoma (a malignant mole), which spreads internally and, unless caught early, is fatal. There are additional factors that may cause malignant melanoma besides the sun, but the sun is the major cause.
Less serious forms of sun cancer: Squamous cell, which can spread internally, but is usually limited to the skin area. It is curable. The most common is basal cell carcinoma. It occurs most often on the face. If treated early, it is usually not harmful.
Symptoms to watch for:
Any progressively growing skin lesion must be checked by a physician. There are, however, many skin spots that develop after age 40 that have no relation to cancer. Watch for bleeding discoloration, sudden growth, or other changes in old spots. Pay close attention to the development of new ones. The average person has about 40 moles on the body. Any changes, such as itching or bleeding, in any one of them should be checked by a doctor immediately.
Most susceptible are people who:
* Are fair-skinned.
* Tan poorly.
* Have red or blonde hair.
* Are blue-eyed.
How to prevent sun damage:
Avoid excessive sun exposure. Sun is most damaging between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Use a sun block when in the sun. There is evidence that sun blocks help prevent skin cancer and retard the aging effects of the sun. Get sun blocks with the highest protective number, preferably 15 or greater. Good ones:
Coppertone Super shade 15, Total Eclipse 15, Presun 15. It's essential to reapply the sun block after going into the water or after a set of tennis.
Don't use sun reflectors. They have a tremendous potential for increasing sun damage to the skin.
Be aware of medications you are taking.
Some can make you more sensitive to sun. Examples: Tetracycline, diuretics, and major tranquilizers (such as Thorazine or Stelazine). They have the potential to cause a bad burn from an amount of sun that would not ordinarily be harmful. Reason: They have substances that cause skin to absorb more of the sun's radiation.
Wear protective clothing that is thick and tightly woven when shielding yourself from sun at the beach. Thin and sheer clothing allows harmful radiation to penetrate through to the skin.
What to do about a bad burn:
Apply cool compresses and calamine lotion to the area. Or take an over-the-counter antihistamine (such as Chlortrimeton) to relieve itching. If more severe symptoms take place (swelling of the face or extremities, for example), it is important to see a doctor.
People over 40 who are fair-skinned and have had a considerable amount of exposure to the sun should consider seeing a dermatologist for a checkup once a year.
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