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From the Cardiologist's Wife: Keep Your Skin Healthy This Winter
Jan 29, 2014

With the unusual cold this winter, your skin may be taking a beating and looking dry and flaky. Perhaps you’d also like to look younger or prevent your skin from aging rapidly in the first place. With a little effort, I believe it’s possible to improve your skin right now and to prevent further damage from any bad habits you might have. Here are a few tips for short term problems and long term solutions.

Your normal skin care routine may not work in harsh weather. Men, you may need to borrow your wife’s lotion unless you like itchy, ashy skin. If your hands are red and chapped, use a heavier moisturizing lotion several times a day but especially at bedtime. I swear by Vaseline Deep Moisture. Aveeno makes several really good, fragrance free lotions. If your face is dry and peeling, avoid soaps and cleansers in the morning, just rinse with warm water but do wash at night with a gentle cleanser. Women should always remove makeup! Apply a moisturizing mask while you are in the shower. Speaking of showers, don’t use the hottest water and keep it short to avoid drying your skin further.

Use sunscreen every day. The sun is one of the biggest reasons our skin gets wrinkles and ugly brown spots. With all the BB and CC creams that contain sunscreen, it shouldn’t be hard. Avoid tanning booths too unless you love the look of aged leather. Men, you need sunscreen too, to prevent cancer at least.

Drink LOTS of water. Not soda, diet soda or coffee. Being even slightly dehydrated can cause your skin to look “tired” and dry. If your lips are chapped, you may not be drinking enough water, so drink up and apply lip balm. Cut back on alcohol as it is dehydrating plus too much too often contributes to the aging process.

Women typically spend more time and money on products to protect their skin or to reduce the signs of aging. You need to reevaluate the effectiveness of the products you use periodically. What worked in your 20’s may not work in your 30’s. Don’t think that expensive products work better either. I have used Neutrogena products for years and dermatologists frequently recommend Boots No. 7 and Roc products.

What you eat greatly affects your skin! There is a growing body of research that shows that sugar is one of our worst enemies. Too much sugar in your diet damages collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic. Skip those sugary coffee, sports drinks and sodas but also be aware of hidden sugar in almost every processed food like soups and breads. If you want great skin, you need to eat a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, not processed crap.

I shouldn’t have to mention cigarettes, but I can spot a smoker a mile away by the wrinkles on their face, especially around their lips. If you won’t give them up for your lungs, ditch them for your face.

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