Your skin is your largest organ and is always exposed (level of exposure depending on how skimpy your clothes are). The skin has many important functions including protecting internal organs and systems, regulate your body temperature and remove toxins. So why wouldn’t you want to know how to take care of it properly? Read on.
Soft and supple baby skin?
Good news – It is summer all year round in Malaysia. Bad news – You are more likely to be under the scorching heat all year round too. To maximise the amount of time that you have soft and supple baby skin, below are some tips to protect your skin:
- Use sun block –Always use a sun block when you are out and about. Always check the sun protection factor (SPF) before you purchase a sun block. Here is a simple calculation. Assuming you burn without sunscreen in 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 will allow you to be in the sun for up to 150 minutes (10 x 15) without getting a sunburn while an SPF of 50 will allow for up to 500 minutes (10 x 50). However, this does not mean you should stay in the sun for a prolonged period of time! Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information on different types of sun block and on SPF.
- Cover up – Unless you live with Santa at the North Pole, your skin is likely exposed throughout the day. Always cover up using hats, sunglasses, umbrella etc.
- 10am to 4pm – The sun’s UV rays are the strongest during this period of time. Try to stay indoors if possible. Then again, if you live in Malaysia, you probably wouldn’t want to go out during this time anyway. You will be drenched in sweat in no time.
- Drink sufficient fluid – Your skin needs to stay hydrated to maintain optimal function. We need approximately 2 to 2.5 litres of fluid daily, unless if you have certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, too much of your all-time-favourite drinks – alcohol and coffee – dehydrates your skin.
- Eat healthy – Healthy body, healthy skin. Your skin will thank you for having a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals. Follow the food pyramid (Google it if you don’t know what this is!)
- Don’t smoke – The list of negative effects of smoking is not exhaustive. Smoking deprives your skin of blood supply and oxygen, reduces elasticity of the skin, and thus accelerates the ageing process.
- Avoid nude beaches – Although nude beaches sound exciting, exposing yourself for hours (naked) is a terrible terrible idea! If you are at any other beaches, try to stay under a beach umbrella. Also, do not forget the first tip – apply sun block. Always reapply after a swim.
Different body parts have different skin types!
While our skin is made up of the same layers, our skin is very different depending on different parts of the body. For example, the skin on your face is different from the skin on your palms. So please do not use the “one-size-fits all” moisturiser from the supermarket. A good skin care regime will go a long way in keeping your skin soft and supple. Talk to a skin specialist to find out which regime suits you best!
Taking care of the skin in older people
Younger adults who experience minor injury will likely find that their skin recovers fairly quickly. However, as we age, our skin becomes drier and more delicate. This is why older people are more prone to skin tears and injury. Thus, it is advisable for older people to apply an appropriate moisturiser daily. Studies have shown that applying moisturiser twice a day can halve the risk of experiencing a skin tear. If you experience a skin tear or injury, it is good practice to have it checked by your doctor of pharmacist. Check out this link to learn how to look after a skin tear.
What’s the take-home message?
- Always protect your skin using sun block and protective clothing
- Healthy lifestyle = healthy skin
- Consult the doctor or pharmacist if you have any skin injury
- Your skin is “in the palm of your hand”
The food pyramid. You’re welcome.
- Carville K, Leslie G, Osseiran-Moisson R, Newall N, Lewin G. International Wound Journal. 2014; 11: 446-453.
- Veterans’ Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services. Looking after a skin tear: know the basics. 2017. Accessed 7 January 2018. Available from: https://www.veteransmates.net.au/documents/10184/41975/June-2017_Brochure-Insert.pdf/cd7664d8-9df5-4a37-9d0d-c2a1eff216a3