Our skin is essential to our health and does more for us than we tend to think of. Our skin is the body's largest organ and protects all of the inner organs from harmful substances we encounter on a daily basis. The skin is also very important when it comes to regulating our body's heat as well as being an essential part in the immune system.
It is important to start to practice healthy skin care at a younger age to help prevent problems in the future. Early skin care should focus on using gentle, fragrance free cleansers and moisturizers. Children do better with bathing no more than 3 times a week. Starting around your teen years, as a result of hormones from puberty, it becomes necessary to spend time daily caring for your skin. When teens hit puberty, their skin tends to change from that of when they were younger. At this time skin usually increases its oil production, which can result in breakouts and blemishes.
By getting a routine started early on you can ensure you keep a healthy appearance for years to come. Poor habits in your teens and younger adult years can add years on to your appearance. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily use of a broad spectrum SPF 30 on exposed skin.
Because our skin changes as we age, different age groups require different types of skin care. Our skin begins to show the signs of aging in our mid-twenties. Over time the skin becomes thinner and can be more easily damaged. Skin also loses its elasticity. These changes are most apparent in sun-exposed areas.
Although there are many products in the market that claim to reverse the effects of aging, only a small amount has actually been approved by the FDA. As a class, retinols can certainly reverse some of the signs of aging. Using the appropriate strength retinol along with daily sunscreen, one can usually see improvement within 3-6 months.
No matter what age you are there are always ways to prevent further damage to aging skin such as limiting your skin exposure, changing your diet to more natural and less processed foods, and by quitting smoking.
Dr. Una Shah, MD, specializes in dermatology. She has 17 years of experience as an MD, and received her medical degree at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She is located at the Dermuss office in Barrington, IL.