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August 6, 2010 at 12:21 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Simple Steps to Healthy Skin

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

Healthy skin not only covers the body, it covers the body well. While crows’ feet and laugh lines are normal age-related skin issues, they needn’t be overwhelming if skin gets the care it needs throughout life. The damage showing up in your 30s and 40s usually can be tracked back to poor skin and/or nutritional care from adolescent years through the early 20s. Overexposure to the sun is the biggest culprit, but poor nutrition and inadequate sleep patterns also contribute to aging. If skin is not protected from the sun’s rays, especially in younger years, and blistering sunburns occur, the evidence will appear in midlife as wrinkled and sun-damaged skin.

The Body’s Largest Organ

Skin is the human body’s largest organ. As the largest organ, it covers the entire surface of the body, yet it is the organ most often ignored. Responsibilities of the skin:

  • The first layer of the skin, the epidermis, is responsible for both holding good moisture in the body and keeping foreign moisture out of the body.
  • Skin is responsible for regulating the body’s temperature. It protects the internal organs by shielding the sun’s rays and sweating to cool the body down.
  • The skin also shields the body from chemical and environmental attack from bacteria and UV rays.

With all this extra work going on, it’s no wonder the skin begins to deteriorate as we age, and wrinkles, skin tags and unsightly age spots begin to rear their ugly heads.

Benefits of Water for Healthy Skin

In order to keep your skin healthy, certain things must be put into the body, including plenty of water. Water lubricates the organs, aids in digestion, helps remove waste and harmful toxins and move important nutrients into the cells. Water keeps the body from becoming dehydrated and also helps skin maintain its elasticity. But water can only do so much. Because water passes through the body rather quickly, little gets sent to the epidermis. Skin that is overexposed to the elements, therefore, often dries out or becomes chapped. One would think bathing would replenish the lost moisture, but it in fact bathing often has the opposite effect. Bathing has turned into a spa event rather than a necessary aspect of good hygiene. Hot water and long, luxurious baths filled with scented soapy products dry out the skin even more.

How to Treat Dry Skin

Long hot baths can remove the skin’s natural oils. If you already have itchy dry skin, soaking for 10 minutes in a lukewarm bath with a cupful of oatmeal will fix the problem. But if you have a choice between bathing and showering, choose the latter. Showers and baths should be short and sweet, and a little bit on the lukewarm side. A hot bath or shower may feel great when you’re in the water, but red, dry skin won’t feel great later. To avoid drying out the skin it’s important to lock in the moisture with a glycerin-based lotion or moisturizer after you shower. But to keep from clogging pores and causing undue stress to your skin, take a moment—before you slather on all that moisturizer—to exfoliate and clear away dead skin. Skin can’t breathe if it’s all clogged up. And skin that can’t breathe is skin that will deteriorate and age more quickly, causing unsightly blemishes and spots. Brushing skin with a dry or slightly damp homegrown Luffa sponge is another useful way to eliminate dead skin. Some type of light moisturizer should be applied afterward.

Your Habits Affect Your Skin

Everything you do affects your skin. Adopt the good habits on this list and reap the benefits of healthier skin:

  • Exercise 30 minutes each day.
  • Eat three or more servings of raw vegetables and fruits daily.
  • Consume the antioxidant lycopene, which is thought to increase skin’s natural defenses. Lycopene is in reddish foods such as tomatoes (and better absorbed if the tomatoes are cooked), grapefruit, and watermelon.
  • Quit smoking and avoid alcohol.
  • Learn several good methods for coping with daily stress.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Get optimal sun exposure to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D, but avoid overexposure; wear a natural sunscreen when you will be in the sun overlong.
  • Consume plenty of healthy fats.
  • Wear protective heats and clothing when in the sun for an extended period of time.


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