Last updated 12/23/2020
The skin is our largest organ and it provides so many functions for our body. It is important to take care of it for our health as well as appearance. November is National Healthy Skin Month but skincare should be followed all year long.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is the sponsor of this awareness month. You could find a Dermatologist on the website if you don’t already have one.
The dermatologist is the doctor to see if you notice a suspicious growth or change on your skin. You could take care of your skin by having a skin cancer screening, if you have risk factors and haven’t done your annual visit. The AAD says everyone should have dermalogical care.
For Healthy Skin
Wear sunscreen daily no matter what season or weather of the day. It protects your skin from those harmful rays (UV). These can cause sunburn, sun damage; resulting in wrinkles and age spots as well as cancer. Purchase a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Some moisturizers include SPF. While it is convenient to use those you still need to reapply for the best sun protection. On average sunburn may occur just after fifteen minutes of exposure.
Avoid tanning beds. These also emit harmful UV rays that can lead to cancer, just like the sun. It only takes one tanning session to increase your risk for skin cancers. If you are looking for that golden glow, opt for self-tanning products instead.
Examine your skin regularly. It is a good routine to monthly examine your skin looking for changes, especially us former sun worshipers or those routinely exposed to sun through their jobs. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is treatable once detected early. So it is important to know your spots and note changes.
Choose skincare products aimed at your skin type. Knowledge of your skin type will help in choosing what it needs and the right products for you, as well as, what products to choose for special care such as rosacea, psoriasis or eczema.
Keep skincare simple. There is no need to purchase tons of products. Stick to the basics. Continually changing products only confuses your skin and it may purge (unwelcome breakout). Using multiple anti-aging products (regular use of retinoid) can cause irritation. Have a morning and night time skin care routine. Night time is for your treatment products to absorb into skin while you sleep.
Moisturize to hold moisture in. Winter chill and dry air robs the skin of moisture as well as indoor heat. Don’t forget to moisturize (with all this washing and hand sanitizer) especially hands that are exposed the most. Treat hands to a weekly mask.
Resist urge to touch face. Especially now while wearing a mask (keep updated with current news by checking CDC & WHO websites). In touching your face you are transferring dirt, germs and the oils on your hands to your face. Bacteria can collect under fingernails which can be transferred through scratching. Leave your skin be through your day. Best to not pick, pop or squeeze (must be sanitary) anything this only makes things worse leading to an infection or scarring. And it takes much longer to heal. Great product these days, apply a pimple patch.
Stay hydrated. Your skin will feel and look better if you drink your water (include hydrating food). This adds moisture from the inside.
Treat your lips. Skin cancer can also develop on lips so protect this area with SPF also contained in lip balms or lipstick.
Tips for Healing Dry, Chapped Lips
As with the rest of your skin avoid products that irritate; any feelings of burning, stinging or tingling in this area as well. Ingredients include;
- Flavoring: Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors can be especially irritating to dry, chapped lips
- Octinoxate or oxybenzone
- Phenol (or phenyl)
- Propyl gallate
- Salicylic acid
To Help Heal Chapped Lips:
- Castor seed oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Mineral oil
- Shea butter
- Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide (Chapstick has SPF 15)
- White petroleum jelly
It also helps to use products that are fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
Go for non-irritating lip balm or lip moisturizer and use several times a day. For severe dry and cracked lips, try a thick ointment like white petroleum jelly. The ointment will hold moisture in longer than waxes or oils.
Slather on lip balm with SPF 30 before heading outdoors. Even in winter it’s important to protect the delicate lips from the sun’s harmful rays. Dry, chapped lips can burn more easily from sun which could trigger cold sores. Look for sun protective ingredients; titanium oxide and zinc oxide and when outdoors apply every two hours.
Stay hydrated. As with the rest of your skin, chapped lips are dry and thirsty for moisture.
Stop with the licking, biting and picking at your lips. It may be a common instinct to wet lips by licking but this can only dry them out more. Because our saliva evaporates, your lips become drier. You are irritating them by these actions actually holding up the healing process.
Keep metals away from lips. (Piercings may cause an allergic reaction) Break the habit of holding these items in your lips; paperclips, jewelry, nails and other metal items. These can also irritate this already sensitive area.
Plug in the humidifier. At home you can use a humidifier. Having one in your bedroom can be really beneficial if you are a mouth breather during the night.
Maintain your lips as well as the rest of your skin. The above tips should heal the lips in a couple weeks.
If chapped lips continue this may be the cause of something other than weather. This could be; an allergic reaction, yeast infection or something more serious can be making your lips feel dry and uncomfortable.
Actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition which turns one or both lips dry and scaly. This would be the time to see your dermatologist to diagnose a cause.
Be good to your skin!
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If you have a health condition or concern, please consult your doctor.