The new year is a great time to make some resolutions to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy. Your dermatologist can help you with these resolutions. Dermatologists are medical doctors and surgeons who have extensive training, experience, and passion for keeping skin, hair, and nails healthy throughout a person’s lifetime. Here are tips to keep you healthy looking from head to toe.
* Protect your skin from the sun. Help prevent signs of aging, such as age spots and fine lines, as well as limit your risk of developing skin cancer by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing (a long-sleeved shirt, pants, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses) and seeking shade when appropriate. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and broad-spectrum protection (protects against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays).
* Do not use tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product (such as a lotion, foam or spray), but continue to use sunscreen with it.
* Perform a skin self-exam. Examining your skin for suspicious moles and other lesions could save your life. Use the American Academy of Dermatology’s body mole map, located at www.aad.org, to record your moles and learn how to perform a proper skin exam. If you find a suspicious lesion, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
* Don’t skip the hair conditioner. Dermatologists recommend using a conditioner after every shampoo. While a conditioner cannot repair hair, it can increase shine, decrease static electricity, improve strength, and offer some protection from harmful UV rays.
* Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other healthy foods can lead to healthier skin. Be sure to include some lean protein in your diet. Your skin is made of protein, so some protein is necessary for healthy skin.
* If your skin feels dry, moisturize. After bathing is the best time to moisturize so that you can trap water in the skin. If your skin still feels dry with regular moisturizing after bathing, apply moisturizer a few times throughout the day.
* Stop smoking. People who smoke expose their skin to toxins that accelerate the aging of their skin. And, the repeat puckering to inhale can cause deep lines around the lips. Frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in one’s eyes can cause noticeable crow’s feet.
* Manage stress. To keep your skin looking its best, it is important to effectively manage stress. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and nails. It can worsen many skin conditions, including psoriasis, acne and rosacea, cause brittle nails and ridging of the nails, and lead to hair loss.
* Don’t bite your fingernails. You can transfer infectious organisms between your fingers and mouth. Also, nail biting can damage the skin around your fingers, allowing infections to enter.
* If you have acne, do not pick, pop, or squeeze the blemishes. People mistakenly believe that picking and popping pimples will get rid of them quickly. The truth is doing any of these can irritate the skin, make acne worse, and increase the risk of scarring.
* The American Academy of Dermatology has additional tips for choosing the right doctor for your cosmetic procedure. There are a growing number of non-physicians and other doctors performing cosmetic surgery outside their scope of training. To protect your health and safety, find a doctor who specializes in the specific procedure you are considering. Board-certified dermatologists have the medical and surgical education and experience to perform cosmetic surgery and have pioneered many advances in cosmetic surgery, including tumescent liposuction, laser surgery and hair transplantation.
For more healthy skin, hair and nail tips, visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s website at www.aad.org.