By Dr. Mona Mady
Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it is a reflection of one’s age and health, so it is important to take care of it. Now that winter is coming to an end, residents in this part of the world need to begin preparing for the inevitable scorching summer heat.
Enduring high temperatures and humid weather in the summer months will be challenging for your skin, so it’s important to know the best ways to keep your skin healthy.
- Protect your skin from the sun
No matter what time of the year it is, the sun is always shining bright in Dubai and it can damage one’s skin if the necessary precautions are not taken. Wrinkles, age spots, skin ageing and thinning, as well as an increased risk of skin cancer, are all potential issues that one must be aware of.
The easiest and best way to combat the harmful UV rays of the sun is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 (sun protection factor) at the very least. Apply the sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours and more often if you are participating in an activity like swimming.
Beyond using sunscreen, one should also avoid intense sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is the strongest. If going out during these hours is unavoidable then be sure to wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, and wide-brimmed hats to shield yourself.
- Wash up gently
One must also do their best to maintain basic skin hygiene always to ensure the best for their skin. By regularly cleansing your, you will maintain its radiance and overall health.
When cleansing your skin, it is important to use warm water as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils. Use a mild cleanser that does not irritate your skin and wash gently rather than scrubbing too aggressively. After, be sure to pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it with a towel. This helps to protect your skin’s natural barrier and prevent dryness or irritation.
- Avoid dry skin
Moisturizing the skin is essential for maintaining its hydration and overall health. When you moisturize your skin, you are helping to keep the top layer of skin cells hydrated and sealing in moisture. This is important because hydrated skin is more supple and less prone to dryness, flakiness, and irritation. To achieve the best results, it is important to use a gentle moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type and to apply it daily after cleansing.
Most importantly, the best way to ensure hydrated skin cells is the most obvious, and it is by drinking plenty of water.
- Healthy diet
One must avoid foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat and focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats such as those found in nuts, avocadoes and olive oil that contain antioxidants that help keep skin cells healthy.
Certain nutrients are especially important for skin health. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, which can keep the skin supple and moisturized and protect against sun damage and Zinc, which helps skin integrity and wound healing.
Vitamins are also important. Vitamin A is essential for the growth and maintenance of healthy skin cells, B2 helps maintain collagen levels, and B6 prevents skin rashes and cracks around the mouth. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps form the skin barrier and collagen and protects against sun damage. Vitamin D and E also protect against sun damage and Vitamin D reduce inflammation as well.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
The key to skin health is an overall healthy lifestyle. Smoking, for example, can cause premature ageing by breaking down collagen and reducing the natural elasticity of the skin. It also slows wound healing and increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, particularly on the lips. Additionally, smoking can trigger certain skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Managing stress is crucial too as it can lead to a variety of skin problems such as acne, hair loss, scaly skin, and rashes. It is also advisable to reduce one’s alcohol intake as it can cause or trigger facial redness, flushing, psoriasis, dermatitis, and skin infections.
Ideally, one should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Sleep is paramount to healthy skin. Furthermore, exercising regularly – about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week is highly recommended for maintaining glowing and healthy skin.
(Dr. Mona Mady is a specialist dermatologist at the Medcare Medical Centre in Jumeirah)