As a doctor working in family practice and aesthetic medicine, much of what I help patients do involves keeping their skin looking and feeling as healthy as possible. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and one of the most important factors to your overall health.
In past months we’ve explored some tips to keep your skin protected, especially from the sun. However, there’s much more to the matter of skin health beyond just wearing sun screen. This month, we’ll delve into some of the aspects of skin care that are most important to keeping your skin healthy as well as helping fight accelerated aging.
The Skin-Healthy Diet
Believe it or not, your diet is actually extremely important to the health of your skin. A skin-healthy diet involves balancing the right vitamins and nutrients with the right type of oils. First and foremost, a well-balanced diet is key for your skin as well as the rest of your body.
Vitamin A is essential to a skin-healthy diet and can be found in low-fat dairy products. Getting the right amounts and types of antioxidants is also key to keeping your skin healthy. Certain fruits like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums are rich with the right kind of antioxidants that help your skin protect itself from damage.
These nutrients must be balanced with healthy sources of natural oils, like Omega-3. Great sources for these healthy oils include fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. Other healthy foods like whole wheat bread, turkey and tuna also help keep your skin looking and feeling great.
A final component to a skin healthy diet is drinking the right amount of water. Staying hydrated is key to health! Drinking clean, pure water is essential, and you should look to drink as many as eight glasses of water per day.
For more recommendations on a skin healthy diet, check out this article from WebMD.
Proper Care in the Sun
We’ve talked in the past about how to keep your skin protected from the sun. I can’t stress how important this is, as sun damage is the number one cause of skin cancer. In fact, getting sunburned 5 times in your life doubles your chance of skin cancer. Wearing sunblock is the only way to keep your skin healthy when you’re outside, especially in that hot summer sun. Make sure to use sun block with an SPF of at least 30 to properly protect your skin.
Check out my past blog post on Staying Safe in the Summer Sun
Regularly Checking Your Skin
Routinely monitoring your skin for any unusual marks will help you catch any serious skin problems before they become potentially deadly. I encourage all patients to do a full skin check on themselves monthly, taking note of all skin freckles and moles. If you see anything concerning you should have it checked out by your doctor.
There are a few warning signs to keep an eye out for on your skin. These include asymmetric or uneven moles, potentially without a border, or with a different color than normal moles. Moles that are larger than normal and moles that evolve or change over time can all be signs of melanoma, or skin cancer.
Click here for more tips on identifying skin cancer
By keeping a skin-healthy diet, being diligent about wearing sunscreen, and regularly checking your skin for potential problems is a well-rounded way to take care of your skin. I regularly treat patients with all kinds of skin-related concerns, and would gladly answer any questions you may have about keeping your skin healthy.
Best wishes for July,