Homer Alaska - Lifestyles

Story last updated at 6:59 PM on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For a Young, Healthy Glow

By Tresa Erickson

You wash your face twice a day, moisturize it once and that's that. You don't give your skin much thought, but now that you are getting older, it is imperative that you take better care of your skin to stave off wrinkles and other problems associated with aging. Here are five tips for keeping your skin looking its best.

Don't smoke, and if you do smoke, quit.

Smoking speeds up aging of the skin big time. Within just 10 years of smoking, the blood vessels in the outer skin grow considerably narrower, impeding circulation and reducing the absorption of oxygen and other nutrients vital to healthy skin. The elastin and collagen are weakened, which can lead to sagging, while the consistent facial movements involved in smoking and the constant exposure to heat can damage the skin even further.

Cleanse your skin with care.

Hot water and abrasive soaps dry out the skin. To prevent this, take cooler, shorter showers and baths and use milder soaps. When drying off, pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it with a towel. Remove your makeup carefully, making sure not to damage the delicate skin around the eyes.

Moisturize your skin regularly.

Throughout the day, the skin loses moisture. You can reduce the rate of evaporation by using moisturizer. Select a product suited to your skin type and use it as directed. For really dry skin, you might need to use a heavier moisturizer containing oil and apply it several times a day.

Shave with caution.

Shaving can irritate the skin. To avoid this, start by softening the hair with warm water and lubricating the skin with shaving gel or cream. Do not shave the skin dry, or you could end up with razor burn. Using a clean, sharp razor, shave in the direction of the hair growth. This will make the removal of the hair easier and less irritating to the skin. When you are done shaving, rinse the skin with lukewarm water. Should your skin still suffer some irritation, you may soothe it with lotion, preferably one without alcohol, which can evaporate quickly from the skin.

Protect your skin from the sun.

UV rays really take a toll on the skin, causing all sorts of damage from premature wrinkles and liver spots to roughness and skin cancer. Keep you skin healthy by staying inside as much as possible between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are the harshest. Should you go outdoors, cover up with long-sleeved shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat. If possible, wear tightly woven or sun-protective clothing. Use sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or greater on all areas exposed to the sun. Apply it liberally and reapply it every two hours.

With the proper skin care, you can look five, 10 or 15 years younger. Treat your skin with care and stave off the effects of aging as long as possible.