The Outer Layer: Secrets To Keeping Your Skin and Hair Healthy

Protect your skin from the sun and your hair from the heat.

Our bodies need the sun to generate Vitamin D and keep us healthy but excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to wrinkles, age spots, other discolorations and, of course, skin cancer:

  • Remember to apply sunscreen  when youre outside  even in northern latitudes like Canada, and even in the fall  use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more, and apply at least every two hours.
  • Stay in the shade  late morning and most of the afternoon are when the suns rays are strongest and most harmful.
  • Layer on clothing  whenever possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and hats. There are now even laundry additives and specially designed clothing that can block harmful UV light.

When it comes to your hair, remember to condition the ends every other day and avoid using the hottest hair dryer setting. Overheating can damage strands and make them more brittle.

Quit smoking.

Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke doesnt just destroy your lungs. It ages the skin by narrowing blood vessels and depleting oxygen and nutrients, damaging the skins strength and elasticity, and making hair dull and prone to breakage. While skin damage is largely irreversible (damage to the lungs can be reversed), quitting now can also avoid inflicting smoke damage on those around you.

Eat healthy.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein isnt just healthy for your insides, its vital for your skin and hair as well. Some research suggests a diet high in Vitamin C and low in saturated fats and processed carbohydrates may preserve the look of younger skin. Its also believed that Omega-3-rich foods like salmon or walnuts can keep your scalp and hair healthy. Other factors, like a strict low-calorie diet, severe illness or infections, and fluctuating hormone levels can cause hair loss.

Be gentle.

The thickness of your skin varies from 1/500th of an inch on your eyelids to 1/5 of an inch on your back  in other words its extremely thin and delicate and important to treat with care:

  • Baths and showers  prolonged contact with hot water strips your skin of protective oils. Keep baths and showers short and the water warm.
  • Shaving with care  lubricate your skin by applying shaving cream or gel before you shave, and always use a sharp razor.
  • Pat, dont rub  dry yourself carefully when you step out of the shower. Rubbing too hard can strip oils that keep your skin moist.
  • Moisturize  keep your skin moisturized and consider cream that contains SPF. Pay attention to dry areas like hands and heels.

And for your hair, remember its most fragile when its wet, so dont brush until its mostly dry. When you do, use a natural-bristle brush  its softer, which means youre less likely to inflict damage on your locks.

Stress less.

Sometimes its not easy to control the stress that can overtake our lives. But prolonged stressful situations can age the skin or result in acne or psoriasis. As well, significant stress can lead to hair loss, often months after a stressful event. Consider ways to reduce stress, from avoiding stressful situations to creating times and places where you can disconnect and relax.

What are your secrets to keeping your skin and hair young and healthy looking? Drop us a comment below and send us your suggestions!

Did you know?

Can stress cause hair to turn gray or white?

Contrary to legend, Marie Antoinettes hair didnt turn white the night before she met her fate at the guillotine. Researchers have found no direct link between stress and graying or whitening of hair.

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