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Summer skin care tips

It's summer in the southern hemisphere and nowhere is more at risk of melanoma - or skin cancer - in the world than Australia, which has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, up to 12 times the estimated average global rate. 

The ultra-violet radiation due to exposure to the harsh Australian sun is estimated to cause around 95% of melanoma cases in Australia

And yet, melanoma remains one of the most preventable cancers also.

Whether you live in Australia or elsewhere, here are five top no-nonsense tips for a healthy skin.

1. Protect yourself from the sun

One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems — as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.

For the most complete sun protection:

  • Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.

  • Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10am and 5pm, when the sun's rays are strongest.

  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.

2. Don't smoke

Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow and makes skin paler. This also depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health.

Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles.

In addition, smoking increases your risk of squamous cell skin cancer. If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.

3. Treat your skin gently

Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:

  • Limit how long you're in the shower (or bath). Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your shower or bath time, and use warm — rather than hot — water. By doing this, you're not only being kinder to your skin, but also to the environment by reducing water usage.

  • Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.

  • Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.

  • Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.

  • Moisturise dry skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturiser that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturiser that contains SPF.

4. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and drink plenty of water.

While not absolutely clear, research suggests that a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin. Drinking water helps keep your skin hydrated.

5. Manage stress

Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Set reasonable limits.

  • Make your to-do list manageable and achievable.

  • Make time to have some downtime - do the things you enjoy.


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