Caring for Your Skin

Skin is the largest organ we have, so why does it often get neglected?

November is National Healthy Skin Month, a reminder to take care of the skin you’re in. We’re sharing our easy self-care tips, as well as skin cancer risks and red flags to look for.  

Tips for Healthy Skin

In addition to a consistent facial care routine and a good moisturizer, keeping your skin hydrated is one of the best things you can do for it. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day and eating foods high in H20 like watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, and oranges, can give your skin a healthy glow while also helping you reach the recommended fruit intake—it’s a win-win!

As the weather starts to cool, people tend to drink less water. We encourage you to make it a habit to keep a water bottle on hand so you can sip your way to better skin! Another common practice that falls to the wayside as the colder months approach is the daily use of SPF. But if there’s one thing dermatologists everywhere agree on, it’s sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!

Five Essential Skin Care Tips:

  1. Apply
    • Always use an SPF 30 or higher to ensure maximum effectiveness.
    • Use a broad-spectrum SPF to protect skin from the cancer-causing rays, ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B.
    • To make sure you’re getting protection, invest in an SPF that’s water-resistant up to 40-80 minutes. 
    • SPF needs to be reapplied about every two hours—keep it handy in your purse, work bag, or backpack for easy access throughout the day.
  2. Protect
    • When you get dressed in the morning, make it a priority to protect your skin from harsh climates, wind, and sun. Hats, wind-breaker jackets, long sleeve shirts and pants are all great choices to limit skin exposure to the elements.
  3. Be Aware
    • Before spending a day outside, check the UV index—the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 2 pm. A good rule of thumb is that if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun is in a powerful position.
  4. Show Caution
    • Be extra careful near water, snow, or sand, as the sun’s rays can reflect off of these surfaces and magnify in strength. Cold temperatures can also strip the skin of its moisture, causing cracked or bleeding skin. Load up on the lotion in colder climates.
  5. Be Smart!
    • Tanning was all the rage in the 2000s, but now we know just how detrimental it is. Be practical, avoid laying out without SPF in the summer, and give up the tanning beds for good.
    • One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30, found that 61 of them – that’s 97 percent — used tanning beds. Save your skin and opt for self-tanner instead!

Not only is cancer a risk, but physical effects like premature aging, dark spots, deep wrinkles, and discoloration are all consequences of unhealthy sun exposure and artificial tanning.

How to Spot Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. One in every three cancer diagnoses is skin cancer, and one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. These numbers show the importance of getting your skin and moles checked out by a doctor during your routine visits, while also scanning your own skin for any changes each month.

Use the ABCDE rule to check for common signs of melanoma:

ASYMMETRY – Half of the mole or birthmark doesn’t match the other half.

BORDER – The edges are irregular.

COLOR – The color differs in the mole or birthmark

DIAMETER: The spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, about ¼ inch across.

EVOLVING: If the mark changes in size, shape, or color.

If you notice any of these abnormalities on your skin, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Show your skin some love by taking extra good care of it this fall and winter! To share your favorite skincare tips and tricks on social media, tag #NationalHealthySkinMonth.