Our skin is our largest organ. It’s also all we’ve got between us and the elements. A lifetime of exposure to the harsh effects of the outside world results in more delicate and thinner skin. We can’t turn back the clock, but a little babying now can help maintain your skin’s good looks and health.
Avoid the sun. Sun exposure causes skin cancer, wrinkles and age spots. Keep out of the sun if you can during its peak hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At all times of the day—and the year—wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more.
Clean gently and thoroughly. Never go to bed without first washing your face. Use neutral or transparent soap or a liquid skin wash that cleanses gently. Use your hands, not a washcloth (which may be too rough), and rinse thoroughly.
Moisturize. Faithful and frequent use of a moisturizer protects and replenishes skin. Try a few products (bargain brands are usually just as effective as expensive labels) to find one you like.
Protect your hands when you clean or garden. Wear gloves and remove rings or bracelets, which can trap irritating debris or chemicals onto your skin.
Drink plenty of water. Plenty means eight 8-ounce servings a day. Water hydrates your skin from where it really counts—the inside.
Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Dramatic weight gain or weight loss can cause skin folds and stretch marks.
Don’t smoke and avoid smoky areas. Breathing smoke is associated with wrinkles and poor circulation.
Watch your skin carefully. Skin cancers are almost always curable if caught early. Check your body every month, and if you notice a lump, a bump, a crusted area, or a lesion or mole that has grown or changed in character, see your doctor.
Turn to the experts. A professional facial is not only a wonderful luxury but also a way to get savvy advice on the products that work best on your skin. On a medical note, consider a baseline skin examination by a dermatologist.