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Why Be Nice to Your Skin?

Like the heart, stomach, and brain, your skin is an organ. In fact, it's the largest organ in your body, but it's still easy to take skin for granted. Unless there's a problem, you may not think about your skin very much. But skin has an important job to do.

Your skin is constantly protecting you. Your skin keeps infections out of your body and keeps you from getting sick. When you take care of your skin, you're helping your skin do its job. And taking care of your skin today will help prevent future problems, like wrinkles and even skin cancer.

Clean Skin Is Happy Skin

One simple way to take care of your skin is to keep it clean. Keeping your hands clean is especially important because your hands can spread germs to the skin on other parts of your body.

When washing your hands, use water that's comfortably warm. Wet your hands, then lather up with a mild soap. You should lather and rub everywhere, including the palms, the wrists, between the fingers, and under the nails. Rinse well, dry thoroughly with a clean towel, and you're done!

You'll also want to use water that's warm, not too hot, when you take a shower or bath. Use a gentle soap to clean your body. Don't forget under your arms and behind your ears! Your face needs attention, especially as you enter puberty and the skin on your face gets more oily. It's a good idea to wash your face once or twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.

Screening Your Skin From Damage

There is one product that everyone needs: sunscreen. Even if your skin is naturally dark, you still need to use a sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the sun prevents sunburn, which hurts and is a kind of skin damage. Sunscreen also can help prevent wrinkles when you get older and can decrease the risk of skin cancer, which is caused by exposure to the sun's harmful rays.

Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or 45, and apply it evenly. Try not to miss any spots, such as your neck or the middle of your back. Have a friend or your parent help you with the hard-to-reach spots. Follow the directions on the sunscreen, which often recommend reapplying it, especially after swimming or sweating.

Because sunscreen cannot protect your skin completely from the sun, it's also a good idea to wear a brimmed hat and use a lip balm containing sunscreen. If you need more protection from the sun, wear long sleeves and pants. Also, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Skin types

There are four basic skin types & two skin conditions:

  • Normal skin: This type of skin has a fine, even and smooth surface due to its ideal balance between oil and moisture content and is therefore neither greasy nor dry. People who have normal skin have small, barely-visible pores. Thus, their skin usually appears clear and does not frequently develop spots and blemishes. This type of skin needs minimal and gentle treatment, but does still require maintenance.
  • Dry skin: Dry skin has a parched appearance and tends to flake easily. It is prone to wrinkles and lines due to its inability to retain moisture, as well as an inadequate production of sebum by sebaceous glands. Dry skin often has problems in cold weather, which dries it out even further. Constant protection in the form of a moisturizer by day and a moisture-rich cream by night is essential. It is important not to over-exfoliate even in cases of extreme flaking, as this only dries out the skin further; gentle exfoliating using sugar, rice bran or mild acids are the most suitable, although they should not be used more frequently than once per week to avoid causing irritation and dryness.
  • Oily skin: As its names implies, this type of skin surface is slightly to moderately greasy, which is caused by the over secretion of sebum. The excess oil on the surface of the skin causes dirt and dust from the environment to adhere to it. Oily skin is usually prone to blackheads, whiteheads, spots and pimples. It needs to be cleansed thoroughly every day, especially in hot or humid weather. Moisturizing with an oil-free, water-based and non-comedogenic moisturizer is required in addition. Exfoliation is also necessary, but over-exfoliation can cause irritation and increase in oil production; exfoliants that contain fruit acids are particularly helpful, and fine-grained exfoliants may help to clear blocked pores, discouraging breakouts and improving the skin's appearance.
  • Combination skin: This is the common type of skin. As the name suggests, it is a combination of both oily and dry or normal skin, where certain areas of the face are oily and the others dry. The oily parts are usually found on a central panel, called the T–Zone, consisting of the forehead, nose and chin. The dry areas usually consist of the cheeks and the areas around the eyes and mouth. In such cases, each part of the face should be treated according to its skin type. There are also skin care products made especially for those who have combination skin; these contain ingredients that cater to both skin types.

Skin conditions
  • Sensitive skin: Sensitive skin is a common skin condition which has a tendency to react to many potential triggers with irritation, redness, stinging or burning, flaking, lumpiness, and rashes. Our skin condition changing into sensitive normally causes from our immune system disorders or the changes of our health conditions. The most common causes of irritation are chemical dyes and fragrances, soaps, some flower and spice oils, shaving creams, tanning lotions or spray tans, changes in temperature, excessive cleansing or exfoliating, waxing, threading, shaving, and bleaching. People with sensitive skin should try to avoid products with unnecessary fragrances or dyes, and generally avoid using products that cause irritation. Sensitive skin is typically dry, but can be oily, normal, or combination as well.
  • Acne-prone skin: Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when skin pores become clogged and bacteria settles in, causing the pores to become infected. Several factors can contribute to developing acne such as oily skin, hormones, diet, skin care products, and even your skin care routine. Acne is treatable and even prevented by changing the lifestyle and diet in our everyday routine, and applying the right skin care products.

General skin care routines
  • Moisturizing: Moisturizers are creams or lotions that hydrate the skin and help it to retain moisture; they may also contain various essential oils, herbal extracts or chemicals to assist with oil control or reducing irritation. Night creams are typically more hydrating than day creams, but may be too thick or heavy to wear during the day, hence their name. Tinted moisturizers contain a small amount of foundation, which can provide light coverage for minor blemishes or to even out skin tones. They are usually applied with the fingertips or a cotton pad to the entire face, avoiding the lips and area around the eyes.

    All skin types need moisturizing. Moisturizer helps prevent flaking and dryness, and may help to delay the formation of wrinkles. People with dry skin should choose oil-based moisturizers with ingredients to help the skin retain moisture and protect it from dryness, heat or cold in the environment. People with normal skin can choose from a wide variety of moisturizers, but light lotions or gels are typically all that is required. Water-based, low-oil and non-comedogenic moisturizers should be used on oily skin; medicated moisturizers containing tea tree extracts or fruit enzymes can help to control oil production or treat acne.

    Eyes require a different kind of moisturizer compared with the rest of the face. The skin around the eyes is extremely thin and sensitive, and is often the first area to show signs of ageing. Eye creams are typically very light lotions or gels, and are usually very gentle; some may contain ingredients such as caffeine or Vitamin K to reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. Eye creams or gels should be applied over the entire eye area with a finger, using a patting motion.

  • Protecting: Sun protection is an important aspect of skin care. The sun can cause extreme damage to the skin, not only in the form of sunburns and skin cancer; exposure to UVA and UVB radiation can cause patches of uneven skin tone and dry out the skin, reducing its elasticity and encouraging sagging and wrinkle formation. It is important to make use of sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage; sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure, and should be re-applied every four hours. Sunscreen should be applied to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight, and at least a tablespoon (25 ml) should be applied to each limb, the face, chest, and back, to ensure thorough coverage. Many tinted moisturizers, foundations and primers now contain some form of SPF.

    Sunscreens may come in the form of creams, gels or lotions; their SPF number indicates their effectiveness in protecting the skin from the sun's radiation. There are sunscreens available to suit every skin type; in particular, those with oily skin should choose non-comodegenic sunscreens; those with dry skins should choose sunscreens with moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated, and those with sensitive skin should choose unscented, hypoallergenic sunscreen and spot-test in an inconspicuous place (such as the inside of the elbow or behind the ear) to ensure that it does not irritate the skin.

    It keeps your insides from falling out. It helps you warm up when you're cold and can cool you off when you're hot. It lets you feel things by touch. It protects you.

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