According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in four Americans are impacted by skin disease, and November marks National Health Skin Month which makes it good time to recognize that taking care of the skin year round is vital. Julie Russak, M.D., FAAD., Board-Certified Dermatologist and Founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic and Russak+ Aesthetic Center, provides advice on how to best care for skin throughout National Healthy Skin Month and beyond.
“Skin problems impact everybody and can take a toll on everyday life. Whether you’ve recently developed a skincare condition or had it since childhood, it’s important to constantly check your skin for new developments and act accordingly,” says Dr. Russak. “Try to relieve any discomfort with these tips.”
Dr. Russak provides practices for improving skin health:
- Reduce Stress. Managing stress is important not only for emotional health but also for physical health. High stress levels can make your skin break out and worsen skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne. To keep skin looking healthy and supple, make sure to get ample beauty sleep between seven and nine hours per night and exercise at least 30 minutes per day.
- Get Plenty of Fresh Air. Something as simple as a walk around the neighborhood will provide your skin with fresh air. If your skin is receiving less oxygen, it can become more vulnerable to attacks by free radicals and appear duller and more aged. Exercise can plump up skin while providing it with much needed nutrients and carrying away the toxins. Not to mention that the increased temperature results in an increase in collagen production, which improves skin elasticity and complexion.
- Don’t touch your face. Many have a habit of touching their face, but it provides more benefits than one realizes. Think about how many surfaces and things your fingers have encountered throughout the day, not touching the face reduces the likelihood of spreading bacteria and causing breakouts. Pay attention to how often you touch your face and remind yourself that you don’t need to use hands to touch the face – you could save yourself from developing a flu, virus, and wrinkles!
- Frequently Assess Your Skin. Current estimates report that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Changes in skin may indicate serious health concerns, so it’s important to regularly check skin for the appearance of spots and blemishes with unusual shapes and colors.
- Level Up in Antioxidants. Just like clockwork, skin renews itself every 28 days, but how can we maintain glowing skin over time? We can strengthen the skin barrier by using products formulated with effective antioxidants based on skin type and skincare needs. Vitamin C evens and brightens skin tone while promoting collagen and elastin production, whereas Vitamin E helps hydrate and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Try adding lemons, cucumbers, or fresh fruit to your water for a refreshing taste and increase in antioxidants.
- Treat skin gently. Various factors can trigger skin sensitivity, including daily cleansing, shaving, hot water, and strong soaps. Avoid using products with fragrance and dyes as these ingredients can cause skin irritation and uncomfortable reactions. Try washing clothes, linens, and masks with a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free detergent such as Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin, Free & Clear detergent, which is specifically formulated for sensitive skin and dermatologist-tested to help avoid skin irritation and itchiness.
- Use moisturizing products right after bathing. Applying a hydrating moisturizer or lotion after washing replenishes and seals in moisture and is more effective than applying after skin is dry and uncomfortable. Try bathing in warm water as hot water can strip the skin barrier of its natural oils and lead to increased dryness and a compromised barrier.
“We all have trouble with our skin at some point in our lives, and it’s totally normal. Try out these tips, and if any skin problems worsen, see a dermatologist for a comprehensive checkup.”