By Janice Jaicks
Keeping your skin looking young is part of your total wellness program – or at least it should be.
What does skin care have to do with fitness? Everything. Fitness and wellness is largely about how you perceive yourself. In order to be totally healthy mentally and physically, we've got to feel good about the person we see in the mirror. So besides eating right, exercising regularly, making time for ourselves and getting enough sleep, we should also take care of our skin.
Stress is one scoundrel that affects your skin, causing a chemical reaction in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed, you break out more, your existing skin problems get worse, or your skin-care regimen suffers? Your emotions have such a powerful effect on your skin that a new field of medicine has developed, called psychodermatology, specifically to focus on the mind-skin connection (Chang, Louis “Effects of Stress on Your Skin” WebMD 2010).
Another prominent enemy of the skin is, of course, the sun. In Arizona in particular, wearing a sunscreen with 15SPF or greater on your face all year round is a must.
A person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age, and in a climate like ours, odds of a sunburn at some point are very high. Many morning moisturizers include SPF and are the ones that should be used daily here in the Valley of the Sun. Purpose® Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion (SPF 15), Aveeno Positively Radiant (SPF 30), and Olay Total Effects UV Moisturizer (SPF 15) are just a few options that are readily available at local drugstores and are quite affordable. A nice summer hat or sun visor and an umbrella also won’t hurt!
An often overlooked skin adversary is the digestion of animal foods versus plant foods. According to Dr. Howard Murad, a world renowned dermatologist and founder of Murad Inc., eating more plant foods than animal foods is one tip that helps to keep skin looking young. “Make small changes, such as swapping out your morning toast for oatmeal or your instant mashed potatoes for baked sweet potatoes. He also says that eating fish rich in amino acids can help with wrinkles.
The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle is the best way to stay looking young. Exercise can definitely combat your stress levels, so take a yoga class, book a massage or just make time for yourself and what you enjoy. Do spend time outdoors and participate in those fun summer activities, but prepare daily with a good moisturizer (that includes SPF 15+) and grab a hat! And I shouldn’t have to remind you on this one – EAT YOUR VEGGIES!