Did you know that the largest organ in your body isn’t one on the inside, but actually one on the outside? Your skin is one of the most important parts of your body, but people often forget to devote time to skin care on a daily basis – especially in the winter. The cold wind and weather along with the increase in indoor heating can cause your skin to get extremely dry, so it’s important to take the right steps to make sure your skin is hydrated, protected, and healthy.

Protect your skin from the sun when possible. Too much exposure to the sun without protection increases your chances of getting skin cancer, so make it a habit to use sunscreen on a regular basis – not just in the summer either! Choose a moisturizer that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF)  of at least 15 for daily use year-round. In the winter consider using a moisturizer that is oil-based. The oil will create a protective layer that will retain more moisture and protect your skin from harsh winter weather. In warmer weather, use wide brimmed hats, light coverups, and stay in the shade to protect your skin from extended exposure to the sun.

There are many healthy skin care habits you can add to your shower routine – use gentle soaps on your skin so you don’t strip away your skin’s natural oils. Use warm water rather than hot water – water that’s too hot can damage your skin and dry it out more. Moisturize your skin immediately after you bathe to lock in as much moisture as possible, and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing your skin with a towel.

Avoid tanning beds and smoking as these habits can prematurely age your skin. By taking these small steps and starting a skin care routine today, you can ensure that your skin stays healthy for years to come!

Some skin care myths debunked:

  • I need to exfoliate daily. Using an exfoliator on your skin too often actually removes the protective oils and can lead to rashes or burns. Use a gentle cleanser, and limit exfoliation to once a week.
  • I don’t need sunscreen if it’s cloudy. Even if it’s cloudy, UV radiation from the sun can still reach you. It’s important to use sunscreen on a regular basis regardless of the weather.
  • What I eat doesn’t affect my skin. In fact, what goes into your body has a huge effect on what’s on the outside – keep a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein to avoid breakouts and oily skin.

Sources: CDC, MayoClinic, WebMD. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.