Keep a Healthy Glow All Winter

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* Your best line of defense against sun damage is prevention. Begin teaching children as young as three and four years of age about the importance of sunscreen and lead by example. Buy sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and look for the one with the highest concentration these offer the best broad spectrum protection. Don’t associate these new zinc oxide formulations with the thick white creams of the past, most frequently associated with life guard’s noses. New formulations of zinc oxide are nearly transparent and provide the best sun protection from UVA rays, which are associated with premature aging. Zinc oxide works both by reflecting and absorbing the sun’s ultra-violet rays (UVA and UVB).

* If you are in direct sunlight reapply the sunscreen every two to three hours, otherwise a daily application before leaving the house is sufficient. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). This applies to all outdoor activities: athletics, shopping, picnicking, walking or jogging, gardening, even waiting for a bus. Sunscreen protection is not just for the summer. UVA rays are the same strength year round, making a stronger case for using sunscreen on a daily basis. UVA rays, like those used in tanning salons, were once considered “safe rays,” but research has demonstrated a link to immune system damage, leading to skin cancer.

* Seek treatment sooner rather than later. Visiting a board-certified dermatologist on an annual basis can mean the difference between a topical treatment and more aggressive therapies. As the skin begins to respond to treatment and improvement is noticed it is important to maintain the steps that were taken to restore the skin to a healthier and younger looking state.

Select moisturizers made with vegetable oils. The lotions, creams and body oils that you use should be made with vegetable oils, not mineral oil. Vegetable oils, (like olive oil, sweet almond oil, corn oil, etc.) contain fatty acids which help to moisturize and soften the skin. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and does not contain anything that helps to nourish the skin.Look for herbs and herbal derivatives in your cosmetics. Herbs and their derivatives (essential oils, extracts, infusions) contain natural chemicals which soothe, tone and help condition the skin. Two herbs which are especially useful in natural cosmetics are Lavender and Tea tree. The essential oils of both lavender and tea tree are gentle, natural antiseptics.

 Once a week soak your feet in warm water, and gently exfoliate dead skin with a pumice stone. Follow up by moisturizing your feet with a natural foot oil or foot lotion.

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