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Your Healthy Community: Protecting your summer skin

June 20, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.


By Katie Sciba

Remember when you were a child in the summer? We looked forward to it all year.

"Hold your arms out," my mom would say as she proceeded to cover us in the only bug spray there was. My mom never scanned her bug spray for the percentage of DEET.

I remember the soft green blades of grass, playing in the sprinkler and burning my feet on the driveway.

I also remember seeing my older sister lying on tin foil on our trampoline covered in Crisco. Why in the world would she do this? She was working on her tan of course. I don't remember sunscreen being part of our lives. I remember when Aloe Vera, Camphophenique or Caladryl could fix your skin problems.

Now, things are different. Sunscreen is everywhere you look, and people are more conscious about caring for their skin. This is good, but common sense is all you need to care for your skin.

As you get older, common skin problems include dry skin, skin that bruises easily, wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer.

Dry skin can be caused by not drinking enough, too much sun exposure, dry air, stress and smoking. Some diseases, such as diabetes or kidney disease, increase skin dryness. Some medications also increase dryness in your skin.

When managing a disease like diabetes, don't forget to give special care to your skin as well as other parts of your health.

Skin that bruises easily must be taken care of. If you notice unusual bruising, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Wrinkles come to us all, but some habits like smoking and prolonged sun exposure increase your chance of getting wrinkles. Age and sun wear out the elasticity of skin, and gravity causes sagging.

The most common type of cancer in the United States is skin cancer. It is important to check your skin regularly for changes, especially in moles or birthmarks.

Summer days call us to enjoy being outside and getting some sun. Using common sense and making healthy choices with lifestyle and diet help keep skin healthy. Here are some tips to help you protect your skin while enjoying the season:

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eat a healthy diet.

3. Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses when venturing outdoors.

4. Don't smoke.

5. Apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF generously to your skin 30 minutes before you go outside.

References

nia.nih.gov/health/publication/skin-care-and-aging; retireathome.com/news/10-skin-care- tips-for-seniors/; agingcare.com/Articles/Protecting-Senior-Skin-from-the-Summer-Sun-147114.htm

Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.

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