November is National Healthy Skin Month!

Take Care of Your Skin!

The skin is the body’s largest organ and is responsible for much of the body’s outer protection, so why not take good care of it? With winter approaching, many of us will be facing the challenge of dry, cracking skin as the cold moves in and the moisture in our bodies dries up. National Healthy Skin Care month is meant to teach you the proper ways to protect your skin to keep you healthy and radiant all year round. We’ll be talking about some measures you can take during the winter months, but will also talk about some skin-ruining habits that you might partake in year round. Finally, we’ll offer up a few all-nature, do-it-yourself skincare treatments that you can make at home and on a budget so you can have happy, healthy skin all the time.

Winter Skin Care

For most of us, winter tends to be a dry, cold season that leaves our lips chapped, our noses red, and our skin dry. The heat we turn on inside our house to get some relief from the chill dries us out, and can lead to painful skin conditions like eczema where the skin becomes inflamed. There are a number of ways you can combat that crackly feeling and ensure that your skin stays touchable, smooth, and healthy even in the colder months. Going to a dermatologist – even if you only go once – can be the difference between the healthy skin you want and the cracked and painful skin you might get. Dematologists can offer good skincare advice that will suit you best as well as point you in the direction of products that will keep your skin soft and glowy.

Speaking of products, sunscreen and moisturizer are just as important as ever. Make sure you apply both daily, as they will help keep your skin in great condition. Sunscreen may seem useless, but you can still get a nasty burn even in the winter months, and the UV rays don’t stop just because the warm weather does. The UV can harm or dry out your skin, making it even more prone to issues. If you’re worried about having too many products, invest in an SPF enhanced moisurizer or body lotion for a one-stop-shop to full-body protection that will help you out year-round. Apply the moisturizer to your hands, feet, face, elbows, knees, and any other part of your body prone to dryness or sun exposure for best results.

Water can actually play a part in helping your skin. While there is no basis to the claim that drinking a lot of water will hydrate your skin, it can help. While you should never sit around in wet gloves or socks, adding some water to a humidifier in your home can take out some of the dryness in the air and will give your skin a leg-up without taking away that toasty-warm feeling we all love so much in the winter.

Habits You May Not Know Were Bad for Your Skin

While most of the habits we’ll talk about are no-brainers, you may be doing some things you didn’t know were hurting your skin. Frequent swimming in chlorinated pools, for example, is a great exercise habit but awful on your skin. It dries out the epidermis, so washing well immediately after exiting is very important. Other habits like skipping meals and drinking coffee can wreak havoc on your skin as well. There are other issues, too. Did you know, for instance, that yo-yo diets, or the constant variation between dramatic weight-gain/weight-loss can lessen your skin’s elasticity, which can cause stretch marks and sagging?

Popping pimples is another habit many of us have that does no good. Not only can this habit leave scars, but it pushes the bacteria further into the pore and can cause infection. Sleeping with make-up on can lead to the pimples we’re then tempted to pop, so avoiding that can help. Speaking of sleeping, make sure you’re getting a full night’s rest, or your skin condition could suffer!

Now lets talk about some seriously unexpected causes of skin problems! Talking on the phone a lot can lead to break outs thanks to the bacteria that builds up on your cellphone. Just consider it. Most phones these days are touchscreens, so our hands are all over them. We rarely think to wash our hands every single time we touch something, so whatever bacteria has gotten on our fingers moves to our phone the second we go to answer a text or look something up. It stays there until we’re bringing the phone to our ear to have a conversation. Gross, right? The same thing goes for sunglasses which need to be cleaned regularly to avoid the transfer of pimple-causing bacteria.

Do-It-Yourself Face Mask for ALL Skin Types

This mask recipe from about.com will work wonders for your skin with almost no work from you! It takes 3 minutes to prepare and needs only three ingredients you might already have in your home.

Ingredients

1 tbsp oatmeal, finely ground
1 tbsp live, organic plain yogurt
A few drops of honey

Directions

Add the yogurt to the oatmeal in a small bowl and mix together.
Warm a few drop of honey. To do this, warm a spoon under hot water for a minute, then add a few drops of honey to the spoon.

Stir the honey into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture.

Apply the mask to the face. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with several splashes of warm water. Follow with a warm washcloth.

Apply your favorite moisturizer.

Sources: WebMD, Good Housekeeping, healthyskinportal.com, about.com

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