Take Care of Any Type of Skin

The secret to youthful skin doesn’t come from a fountain: it’s found within a few basic rules of good skin care. These skin tips for all ages will make you want to travel back in time to start putting them to use!

Whether you’re six or sixty, you can always learn a thing or two about good skin care to help keep your outer layer healthy and youthful. Even if you’ve neglected skin health for years, there’s no time like the present to learn how important and easy it is to care for your skin.

What do you use to wash?

One of the first things we learn about personal care as we grow up is the importance of regular washing. From our hands to our feet, regular bathing is imperative to good hygiene. However, it’s what you’re washing with that could impact your skin health.{relatedarticles}

Just like skin types differ from one person to the next, our own skin may differ from one area of our body to the next. Some people, for instance, may have oily skin on their face but dry skin on their hands or heels. Similarly, the products you use to keep yourself clean are not a one-size-fits-all, either. You may need to look at what kind of soap, body wash, or other products you use on each area.

Figure out what type of skin you have at each area of your body and wash with the appropriate products. Your dermatologist can be a good resource if you’re unsure of your skin type. Even if you have oily skin, don’t go crazy trying to remove every hint of moisture. Overuse of facial cleansers, astringents, and exfoliating products may damage skin, causing dry, flaky or irritated patches.

Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told ABCNews that in cases such as this, going on a cleanser hiatus to give your skin a few chemical-free weeks to repair may help bring it back to its natural balance.

Moisturize by Skin Type

Your skin naturally moisturizes itself, but sometimes it can use a little help, especially in dry weather. Even if you have oily skin you may benefit from a simple moisturizer. Many experts recommend oil-free, water-based moisturizers for oily skin.{relatedarticles}

Moisturizers are an obvious choice if you have dry skin, but it’s important not to overdo it. Unless you have a chronic dry skin condition that’s being monitored by a dermatologist, look for a basic, moisturizer with soothing ingredients like aloe vera. If that doesn’t work, your dermatologist may recommend a heavier moisturizer.

For oily skin, a mild toner or astringent may be helpful. According to Dr. Amiya Prasad, a cosmetic surgeon in New York who also spoke to ABCNews, "There is some role in using toners to help even out the areas that are oily and to make your skin look more uniform."

Visit the skin care department in your local grocery store or pharmacy and you’re sure to see a wall of creams, ointments, gels and sprays for a variety of skin conditions. Don’t think that you have to stock up on a cream for every situation - a general moisturizer or toner is enough to keep up a basic, healthy skin regimen. If you do have specific skin concerns, talk to a dermatologist before shelling out for unnecessary products. Also, pay attention to natural ways to make sure your skin (and body) are hydrated like making sure you’re drinking enough water every day.

Clear Skin Starts from the Inside

Besides the requisite 8 glasses of water a day, or more, you can nourish your skin from the inside with the right foods and vitamins.{relatedarticles}

Add these to your grocery list so you can feed your skin what it needs to glow:

  • cocoa - hydrates skin, making it firmer and more supple;
  • yogurt - firms skin which in turn helps prevent lines from developing;
  • pomegranates - regulate skin’s blood flow to keep your cheeks rosy pink;
  • walnuts - essential fatty acids in these and other nuts help your skin keep its elasticity and avoid that “crepe-y” look that happens as we age; and
  • yellow and orange peppers - contain carotenoids that help block out the sun.

Stay Healthy in the Sun

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States with more than 3.5 million skin cancers diagnosed every year in more than two million patients. It’s estimated that one in every five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, and about 90% of the non-melanoma skin cancers are because of exposure to UV rays from sunlight.

Exposure to the sun isn’t just a potential cause for cancer, though; it can also cause premature aging and dry skin. If you’re constantly exposing your skin to harsh sunlight, you could be doing long-term damage; when you tan or burn, it causes damage to the skin cells. Over time this can weaken your overall skin health and cause the early appearance of wrinkles.{relatedarticles}

A good sunscreen or sun block can help protect the skin from damage done by the sun, but only if you use it regularly and at the right time. If you know you’re going to be out in the sun on a daily basis it may be best to get a combination moisturizer and sunscreen product so you can save time by applying one cream every day.

If visits to the beach are only an occasional thing, make sure you’re using a sunscreen with the right features. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should go for a sunscreen of at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 and one offering broad-spectrum protection, i.e. it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Also look for sunscreens that contain additional features like waterproof formulas if you’ll be swimming or for sensitive skin if you have dry areas of skin.{relatedarticles}

Overall, if you follow these three basics of skin care - clean, moist and protected - you can promote healthy skin at any age!