Skin Care: The Basics

Houtan Chaboki, MD

Article by
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon

Skin care product companies generally do not promote the basics of skin care. They want you to purchase their products instead. But what good is their products without the basics in-place first? Don't jump to Botox Cosmetic or a TCA chemical peel before starting with the skin basics. Patients in DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia follow these general guidelines for beautiful, natural skin for a lifetime.

Sun Protection
Skin damage from the sun is due to UV radiation, and occurs so slowly that we don't realize how much damage occurs. Sun burns are extreme damage, and there is no such thing as a good tan. Sun prematurely ages the skin, and may lead to skin cancer. Even the little bits of sun exposure during routine daily activities (ie. walking to your car) add up over a lifetime. Utilize daily sunscreen ,which blocks both UVA and UVB, covering hats, and sunglasses to help protect your skin.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your appearance reflects the food you eat. We all know fresh fruits and vegetables are great for muscles, bones, and your vital organs, but the natural vitamins and minerals are also great for your skin. Too many calories end up being converted to fat, usually in your hips, abdomen, legs, neck, and face.

Get Adequate Sleep
Inadequate sleep does more than promote baggy eyelids. Poor sleep also contributes to increase facial wrinkles and skin sallowness. The ideal of at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep may be difficult for our busy lives. However, even small cat-naps during the day are beneficial.

Avoid Smoking
One can usually spot a long-time smoker based on a picture alone. Premature skin aging is notorious in this population. Today, there are many options to help quit this habit.

Keep Well Hydrated
The entire adult human body is mostly water, including the skin. Water naturally hydrates your body and helps prevent dry skin. Well hydrated skin functions better and can help maintain youthful appearance. Eight glasses of water a day is the recommended minimum amount of water intake. Athletes and active people, more is needed to replace the fluid they excrete through perspiration.

Be Gentle
Wash your face with gentle cleansers. Strong cleansers may be harmful to sensitive skin. Wipe dry with a soft cloth, and don't rub hard. Aggressive manipulation of the skin may irritate the skin and cause redness and swelling.

Other skin care methods such as cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, and toning come after these initial basics are implemented. Speak with a physician who specializes in skin care in your area, such as a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or facial plastic surgeon to learn more about basic skin care.