Friday, October 21, 2011

Skin Care Basics

By Nicholas Sorrentino

If there is one important thing you need to know about keeping your skin healthy, is to properly protect it. The fact is, most obvious signs of skin aging are the result of damaging external factors rather than the natural aging process. Therefore, the easiest, cheapest and most effectual step you can take action to your skin care strategy is to minimize external damage. By doing so, you will create a base for effective anti-aging treatments.

Unfortunately, similar to most biological systems, our skin is very complicated. To avoid skin damage, you need to know what the most probable causes are. You also need to know that skin damage can sometimes go unnoticed, since you will not always feel pain or visibly notice irritation.

It is common knowledge that UV-rays from the sun and tanning beds lead to wrinkles and skin aging as well as increase the risk of skin cancer. What most people do not know is that many sunscreens don't sufficiently protect from skin aging and that staying out of direct sunlight will prevent only part of sun damage. Since sun damage is partly irreversible, it should be prevented as much as possible.

Another thing to be cautious about is taking baths and showers that are too hot. They may feel good, but your skin will disagree. Chlorine in tap water is an oxidation agent may in turn cause some skin damage. Because the rate of chemical reactions increases with temperature, skin damage is greater with hotter water. Try limiting baths and showers to once a day or less and try not to soak for too long. Make it warm, not hot. Some skincare activities may do more harm than good when misused or overused. In particular, excessive cleansing strips the may lead to dryness, skin sensitivity and other problems. Avoid cleansing with harsh detergents and alcohol-based solutions. Avoid washing your skin with hot water. Avoid cleansing and/or washing your skin more than two times a day.

Another overused practice is ex-foliation. Occasional ex-foliation refreshes the skin surface, increases circulation and brightens the appearance. However, ex-foliation has the potential to be a damaging procedure: you use controlled destruction to strip off the top layer of skin cells. Optimally, you would want to remove only the dead cells on the surface of the skin. However, if you ex-foliate too frequently or too aggressively, then you also remove and/or cause damage to living cells. Eventually that may produce long-term skin damage and exhaust the skin's long-term capacity to regenerate.

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