November is National Healthy Skin Month, but at U.S. Dermatology Partners, we celebrate skin health year-round! If you’re interested in learning about how to keep your skin in tip-top shape today and in the future, Dr. Sindy Pang of U.S. Dermatology Partners Houston Main, formerly Medical Center Dermatology in Houston, Texas, will give you the benefit of years of expertise, helping you understand how to care for your uniquely beautiful skin. In this blog, Dr. Pang walks through some basic skin health recommendations for everyone.
Healthy Skin Facts
How much do you really know about your skin? Most people actually know very little about their skin and how to keep it healthy. Get to know the body’s largest organ a little better by reviewing these interesting facts:
- The average adult’s skin accounts for 15% of body weight, about 10 pounds on average, and it measures 16 to 22 square feet.
- Skin is more than skin deep. In addition to the outer layer (epidermis) skin has two deeper layers the dermis and subcutis.
- Skin thickness is not even across the body. The palms of hands and soles of feet have the thickest skin, and our eyelids are the thinnest.
- We are always shedding skin cells. In fact, humans shed around 30,000 skin cells every minute, and these skin particles are a major component of dust.
- The constant cellular turnover means your skin is completely new every 28 days.
- More than 1,000 different species of bacteria live on the skin, including staphylococcus that can cause highly contagious infections.
- Scars form on the skin to heal it after damage or injury. Unlike your healthy skin, scar tissue does not have hair or sweat glands.
Know Your Skin
Our skin protects us from the potential hazards of the outside world, and no two people have skin that’s exactly alike. A major part of skin health is getting to know the skin you live in. We recommend patients perform a full-body self-exam for skin health concerns every month. During this self-exam, you should carefully take notice of any moles, scars, discoloration, and other areas of concern. Monitor moles and other irregularities in the skin’s surface for signs of change that can be concerning.
Keep up with Daily Skin Care
Additionally, you should understand your skin type in order to create the most effective daily skincare routine. Do you have oily or dry skin? Is your skin sensitive to skincare products? Do you struggle with chronic skin health conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis? A dermatologist can help you to understand your unique skin type and help you create a personalized care routine. The following are basic skincare tips for any patient:
You don’t need a complicated daily facial cleansing routine. YouTube is filled with videos of people explaining multi-phase daily skincare routines that can take as much as an hour to complete, but most people don’t have that kind of time. More importantly, you really don’t need to spend that much time on your daily skincare routine. Instead, Dr. Pang recommends, “Keep it simple. In the morning, start with a gentle cleanser. Then, apply a good moisturizer and sunscreen. Many moisturizers even have sunscreen built in. At nighttime, you can use the same basic routine, but you may want to use a heavier moisturizer, especially if you have naturally drier skin.”
Everyone is different, so choosing the right products and creating the best daily skincare routine for you should be very personalized. Talk to your dermatologist to get recommendations. This is especially important if you suffer from acne or other chronic conditions that benefit from customized care plans.
Hands & Feet
The skin on the hands and feet often requires a little extra TLC. You probably already wash your hands several times each day, but because they are washed so often, hands can get dry and cracked. Pay attention to your hands and apply moisturizing lotion regularly. For very dry spots or cracks around the cuticles, you can apply a small amount of petroleum jelly, which will protect the area and keep skin moisturized.
For feet, you want to make sure to keep the skin clean and dry, keep nails trimmed, and wear appropriate shoes. If you notice warning signs of common concerns like athlete’s foot, plantar warts, ingrown nails, or corns, address them right away. These issues can get much worse and be very painful if left untreated. You should apply deep moisturizers to dry feet. Without proper moisture, the skin on feet can crack, exposing you to potential infection. This is an even greater risk for those patients who struggle with diabetes or other immune-suppressing illnesses.
It’s important to keep your skin clean and free from sweat, dirt, and grime with regular bathing or showering. Use a gentle whole-body cleanser. If you have sensitive skin, look for products that are free from irritating dyes and perfumes. Immediately after your bath or shower, apply a moisturizing lotion. If you struggle with skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, talk to your dermatologist about products that are specifically formulated to address these concerns.
Wear Sunscreen – Every Day!
We know we say this all the time, but it’s really important to use sunscreen every day on any part of the body that is regularly exposed to sunlight. Sun exposure can be extremely damaging to the skin, causing discoloration, accelerating the signs of aging, and even leading to skin cancer.
Skin is made to hold moisture in the body, but when the skin dries out, it can crack, peel, and increase the signs of aging by slowing down the production of collagen and elastin that keep skin looking and feeling great. Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing or showering when the skin is still damp for best results. Moisturizing creams and balms are typically more effective than lotions. Look for gentle products that are designed to lock in moisture and protect the skin. For extremely dry spots, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to protect and moisturize the skin and nails.
Maintain a Healthy Diet, Exercise Regularly & Don’t Skip the Beauty Sleep
Because skin cells are constantly being shed and replaced, you need to keep your whole body healthy to ensure the formation of new, healthy cells that will keep your skin looking and feeling great. In addition to directly cleaning and caring for your skin, you need to maintain healthy daily habits. You should consume a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Don’t Skip Your Annual Skin Exam with U.S. Dermatology Partners
In addition to daily care at home, we recommend patients, especially those with sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions, visit U.S. Dermatology Partners for an annual professional exam with one of our skilled dermatologists. If you live near Houston, Dr. Pang would be happy to see you for any of your dermatologic needs. With numerous locations across the U.S., there’s a U.S. Dermatology Partners location near you, and we make getting started easy. Simply complete our online request form. One of our local dermatology teams will be in touch soon.
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