Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it arguable takes the most severe beating of all of them. It is the first and most effective line of defense against sickness and disease. Over time, skin begins to show its age. But how can we stop or slow this process? Unfortunately, after most damage is done, it’s rather permanent. But there are steps and precautions you can taken to lessen the damage, and prevent premature wrinkles and thinning of the skin’s collagen layer.

Drink Lots of Water

The #1 thing you can do to keep your skin looking healthier longer is to drink more water. I’m sure you hear all kinds of number thrown around about how much water an adult should drink every day, etc, etc. I’m here to tell you to drink water immediately when you wake up in the morning, throughout the day, and a little before bedtime. A relatively inactive person should consume somewhere around 2 liters of water per day! If you only pee a couple times a day, you’re dehydrated!

Believe it or not, we’re constantly on the brink of dehydration, so we should be sipping on water constantly, if possible. Not only can water help keep your skin healthy and elastic, but it also can boost energy levels and brain function. Maybe you think you’re not a morning person, but you’re actually just foggy-haded every morning because you haven’t consumed any water for the past 8+ hours?

Check out this awesome link about nutrition and water for your health. It goes on to explain that drinking lots of cold water actually helps you to burn calories, too. With your body trying to maintain its internal temperature of 98.6F, cold water drops that temp, and your body must expend energy (calories) to bring it back up again. Neat, huh?

Wear Sunscreen

I don’t mean to sound like your mother here… But sunscreen is a really key item on this list. If you find yourself in the sun (like I do) then sunscreen is an absolute must. I personally don’t like the oily feel, the smell, or the chemicals, so I opt for a zinc or other natural based formula where I can’t cover up. Everywhere else, I cover with gauzy materials, or a sun hat.

Personally, if I have to wear a sunscreen, and I don’t want my entire body to be covered in white zinc, I’ll opt for a sunscreen like this. It is a mineral based sunscreen that is meant for babies and super sensitive skin. It’s got coconut oil and Shea butter for hydration, and it’s got a non-greasy formula that leaves no heavy residue. The best part is that there’s only one active ingredient for the sun block, and completely natural. All things you can pronounce, and no chemicals that sound scary. Perfect.

The sun has damaging UV radiation which harm your skin long and short term. We see the short term effects of sunburn. UV radiation can damage DNA, causing skin cellular repair mechanisms to malfunction, and not fix DNA damage when it occurs. This can later develop into melanoma, skin cancers, and sun spots.

Stop Smoking

If you smoke. Stop it! Smoking sucks oxygen out of your skin, and wrinkles your skin by damagin the elastic fibers and collagen present there. It discolors teeth and nails, and damages the elasticity of the skin around your mouth and lips (more wrinkles). Not to mention what it does to your respiratory system. I’m talking about E-cigs, too. Ditch them, we’re not in the 50’s anymore and they’re not cool if they kill you. Remember those anti-cigarette ads they used to run on TV where the lady had throat cancer and had to talk with a machine, and smoke through a hole in her neck? That could be you, and yes that actually happens. I’ve seen it, and you don’t want that to be you.

Moisturize the Area

Moisturizing the skin aids in its ability to stretch and not tear. Lotions and other things help to keep the elastic and collagen fibers nice and stretchy. If you shower more often than others, and exfoliate, or use harsh scrubs and soaps, be extra sure to moisturize. If you find yourself in swimming pools often, keep a bottle of lotion handy and at the ready. Be wary of lotions that claim to be anti-aging creams and whatnot.

Do Not Sunbathe

As stated in the section above regarding sunscreen. Sunbathing, or going into a tanning salon makes me cringe. They’re always so alluring with the big pictures of the bronzed beautiful women out front. They always smell wonderful, as if I’m about to pay for a tropical vacation instead of cancer.

I’m amazed that tanning salons stay in business, with how prevalent cancer is in our world today. You’d think that people wouldn’t want to risk it. But alas, we are young and reckless. I understand that vitamin D is very important for a healthy adult, and that this must be attained with some UV supplement, but you don’t have to sit under a bunch of hot lamps to do so! I know certain parts of the world, people sit in “sun chambers” to ensure they get enough healthy UV exposure. But unless you live in one of those places, don’t bake yourself! You’ll ruin your skin, and your beautiful skin will look 60 when it’s only 35. Think I’m exaggerating? Look at this amazing picture here.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion scares me, personally. But many people swear by it as a form of skin rejuvenation for scaring and things like sun damage. The downsides of it being it’s uncomfortable, and you have to stay out of the sun for some time after and before the procedure… It is otherwise safe if you follow all the rules, and you’ll be puffy for a couple days while your skin tries to heal itself.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatments for skin rejuvenation are gaining in popularity. Though lasers are also a bit scary (a beam of super high energy), people claim that it helps rejuvenate the skin. I’m sure nobody some out looking 30 years younger or anything, but maybe it reduces the appearance of sun spots, and scaring, or stretch marks enough to be worthwhile. As with any procedure of this kind, make sure you do some research and ask around. Never go into a clinic that looks dirty, or seems gimmicky. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. And what you really don;t want is someone permanently ruining your skin because they’re inexperienced.

I check rating online, and choose a place that has the highest rating, and the most reviewers. Places that have been around a while are good, too. Don’t be cheap when it comes to your health. Even if there is a 50% or more difference in cost, go to an experienced and licensed professional.

Watch Out for Snake Oil Treatments

For those of you who don’t know what snake oil is. It is a term used to describe anything that is “too good to be true”. If anything ever sounds that way to you, it’s probably some kind of elaborate scam. Anything that claims to rejuvenate the skin completely, and take years off, is probably false. The damage done to your skin is unfortunately permanent. Yes, there are things we can do to make these damages a little less apparent. But unless you’ve inherited a time machine, or are getting a full body skin graft, or something else science fiction, it will never be the same. I really hate to say that.

Look at it this way, your skin never stops aging, right? So there’s no better time to start treating it right than now. If you’re in your 20’s and receptive to what I’m preaching, you’re the luckiest. In your 30’s, you’re probably beginning to see premature again of your skin, it’s not too late for you to change your ways! If you’re 40+, you may have some severe permanent damage, but you can still be kind to your skin and take preventive measures against cancer and further damage.

Summary

To bring things around full-circle here, summer is around the corner and all things bikini and tan will be about. Don’t fall for it. Go and have fun in the sun, but bring a sun hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water wherever you go. If you think sunscreen is lame, then take an adorable sun cover up with you, like this one. You don’t have to run around acting like a vampire or anything, just be aware. I burn easily, so I have no other choice. Being mindful of your skin is one of the bast things you can do for your long term beauty, and for your overall health!

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