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Most of us have a hazy idea of what we should be doing to improve and protect our skin. Wear sunscreen. Exfoliate. Moisturize. These topics have all been written about before (and we’ll probably write more about them in the future).

Today we’re approaching the topic a little bit differently. Rather than give you the basic information on skin care, we want to point out 9 simple, no-brainer ways to improve your skin complexion.

Don’t go to sleep with makeup on

Make up is for improving our looks. But it’s not always made from ingredients that are good for our skin. Make up can hold on to free radicals and keep them against the skin causing a break down in healthy collagen resulting in the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

Foundations and thick, oil-based primers are the worst offenders when it comes to clogging pores and causing acne, but even mascara and eyeliner can clog tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids. When this area gets inflamed it can cause small bumps called hordeolums, which may need treatment by your dermatologist.

Just say no to sleeping with makeup on.

Change your sheets regularly

Our sheets collect sweat, body hair, dead skin cells, and various pet dander (if you have them) among other contaminants. If you go to sleep sweaty or dirty, leave make up or other product on when going to sleep, or have a habit of eating in bed, your sheets will collect all that material and keep it pressed against your skin while you sleep.

These dirty sheets can contribute to skin irritation, clogged pores, and can create conditions ripe for bacterial growth.

Change your sheets weekly. If you are breaking out, you may benefit from changing your pillow case even more frequently than that.

Don’t touch your face

Do you have a habit of absentmindedly touching your face when you’re focused on another task? Do you find your fingers going back to the same spot on your forehead where acne or blackheads have appeared? Do you like to pop zits and then spend the rest of the day periodically squeezing them again to see what else comes out?

It’s tempting, I know, but it’s not helpful. Every time you touch your face you are increasing the chases of contributing to the problem, much moreso than leaving it all alone. Follow a good skin care regimen and swap out picking at your face for playing with a fidget spinner. It also helps to clean your cell phone regularly. Your skin will thank you.

Rinse your face after the gym or sweating a lot

We go to the gym to get a good workout. It feels good to sweat it out. But if we don’t take proper care of our skin after the gym, we can get clogged pores and breakouts.

In general, gyms are cesspools of sweat, bacteria, humid breath, and dead skin cells. You’re dealing with equipment that dozens of other people that day have handled, sweated on, and who knows what else. It’s a recipe for getting all kinds of contaminants on your skin.

The easy solution is to rinse off after a workout. At least splash water on your face and wash your hands. It’s also common to get back acne from keeping a sweaty shirt plastered to your body during a workout and not showering afterward. The easy solution is a quick rinse.

Shelve the booze during the week

Kicking back with a drink after a hard day of work seems about as American as apple pie. Or maybe hard apple cider. Doctors say that a glass of red wine a day is good for you. And while that’s true, alcohol also dehydrates the body. This causes dry skin and over a prolonged time, weakens the collagen in your skin which causes and increase in fine lines and wrinkles. In the short term, if you get dehydrated, your body will hold onto any excess water making you look puffy and feel a little bloated.

There are no hard rules for this, but an easy rule of thumb is to leave the alcohol on the shelf during the week and enjoy responsibly on the weekend.

When drinking alcohol be sure to drink more water to compensate for the diurnal effect of alcohol. The more effective you can be at staying hydrated, the better you’ll look and feel the next day.

Eat a kiwi a day

The term ‘superfood’ gets thrown around a lot. If one food genuinely deserves to wear that label, it’s the humble kiwi fruit. Kiwi contain nearly 20 vital nutrients and are anti-oxidant powerhouses, with 5 times the vitamin C of an orange. Just one kiwi fruit has 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also packed with vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, copper, and fiber in addition to omega-3 fatty acids.

Try incorporating 1 green or gold (we personally love the gold ones) into your diet a day. Your skin and general health will thank you.

Find a sunscreen you love

Can we get real for a minute? As a skin care clinic at the beach, we are constantly telling people to use sunscreen. We know it’s easy advice to give and hard advice to take. Very few people actually have a daily skin regimen where they consistently make using sunscreen a priority.

And we see the results of that lack of care. Not a week goes by that we don’t diagnose at least one person with skin cancer.

The simple reason for the disconnect is that sunscreen isn’t fun to use. It can be greasy and create unwanted breakouts. It can smell too strong. For most people, it’s a nuisance to use in the moment and the benefits don’t show up for decades making it easy to dismiss. We do this even though the potential alternative is getting skin cancer. So how can we approach this smarter?

The best way to work sunscreen into your daily life is to find one that you love. Not all sunscreens are created equal. Shop around. Find one you love, and use it daily. Your life could depend on it. We recommend TIZO3 for non-greazy “powdery” feel.

Try coconut oil

Coconut oil is a secret weapon in the fight for beautiful skin. Or it would be if every other food and wellness magazine and website hadn’t spent the better part of the last several years telling you to get more coconut oil in your life.

As it turns out, this is one of those items that definitely lives up to the hype when it comes to your skin. The reasons why might surprise you:

Coconut oil is great at cutting grease and taking off makeup. Simply apply to your face with a cotton swab, wait five minutes, and rise off. Reapply to any stubborn spots.

Beyond being great at removing makeup, it’s an excellent skin moisturizer, is an ideal deep cleanser, acts as an antibacterial shield, tackles fungal infections, and assists in the repair of collagen in your skin. All help to fight premature aging. 

It is worth noting that some people recommend using coconut oil as sunscreen. We do not recommend using it for this purpose. There are several reasons why coconut oil is not ideal as a sunscreen. The most compelling of which is that it claims to offer SPF 4 protection however a research study in 2016 found the SPF of all natural oils to be much closer to 1. SPF 1 is an ineffective dose.

 Keep it simple. Use coconut oil to moisturize and protect your skin. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage.

Account for your water hardness

Water hardness isn’t typically the first thing people think about when it comes to skin care but the hardness level affects how your water interacts with any lotions, creams, ointments, and topical treatments you may use.

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, typically consisting of calcium and magnesium. Hard water prevents soapy products from achieving a full, rich, lather. It can make substances more difficult to dissolve in water and as a result can leave what feels like a soap scummy film on your skin.

If you have excessively hard water, and are experiencing breakouts, that could be a reason why.

Easy solutions are to use a separate cleanser to clean your skin, or to use softer water (such as distilled water) specifically for your skin care regimen.

Here at Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, when it comes to skin care, we’ve seen it all. Whether you’re trying to develop a better skincare routine or you have a skin issue you’d like us to look at and treat, we’re here to help. Contact us online, reach us at (910) 794-5355, or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to hearing from you. We now have three convenient locations to serve you: Wilmington, Supply, and Hampstead NC!

Skincare is one of those topics where everybody has at least a hazy idea of what they should be doing. Wear sunscreen. Exfoliate. Moisturize. These topics have all been written about before (and we’ll probably write more about them in the future).

Today we’re approaching the topic a little bit differently. Rather than give you the basic information on skin care, we want to point out 9 simple, no-brainer ways to improve your skin complexion.

Don’t go to sleep with makeup on

Make up is made to make us look good. But it’s not always made from ingredients that are good for our skin. Make up can hold on to free radicals and keep them against the skin causing a break down in healthy collagen resulting in the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

Foundations and thick, oil-based primers are the worst offenders when it comes to clogging pores and causing acne, but even mascara and eyeliner can clog tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids. When this area gets inflamed it can cause small bumps called hordeolums, which can need treatment by your dermatologist.

Just say no to sleeping with makeup on.

Change your sheets regularly

Our sheets collect sweat, body hair, dead skin cells, and various pet dander (if you have them) among other contaminants. If you go to sleep sweaty or dirty, leave make up or other product on when going to sleep, or have a habit of eating in bed, your sheets will collect all that material and keep it pressed against your skin while you sleep.

These dirty sheets can contribute to skin irritation, clogged pores, and can create conditions ripe for bacterial growth.

Change your sheets weekly. If you are breaking out, you may benefit from changing your pillow case even more frequently than that.

Don’t touch your face

Do you have a habit of absentmindedly touching your face when you’re focused on another task? Do you find your fingers going back to the same spot on your forehead where acne or blackheads have appeared? Do you like to pop zits and then spend the rest of the day periodically squeezing them again to see what else comes out?

It’s tempting, I know, but it’s not helpful. Every time you touch your face you are increasing the chases of contributing to the problem, much moreso than leaving it all alone. Follow a good skin care regimen and swap out picking at your face for playing with a fidget spinner. Your skin will thank you.

Rinse your face after the gym or sweating a lot

We go to the gym to get a good workout. It feels good to sweat it out. But if we don’t take proper care of our skin after the gym, we can get clogged pores and breakouts.

In general, gyms are cesspools of sweat, bacteria, humid breath, and dead skin cells. You’re dealing with equipment that dozens of other people that day have handled, sweated on, and who knows what else. It’s a recipe for getting all kinds of contaminants on your skin.

The easy solution is to rinse off after a workout. At least splash water on your face and wash your hands. It’s also common to get back acne from keeping a sweaty shirt plastered to your body during a workout and not showering afterward. The easy solution is a quick rinse.

Shelve the booze during the week

Kicking back with a drink after a hard day of work seems about as American as apple pie. Or maybe hard apple cider. Doctors say that a glass of red wine a day is good for you. And while that’s true, alcohol also dehydrates the body. This causes dry skin and over a prolonged time, weakens the collagen in your skin which causes and increase in fine lines and wrinkles. In the short term, if you get dehydrated, your body will hold onto any excess water making you look puffy and feel a little bloated.

There are no hard rules for this, but an easy rule of thumb is to leave the alcohol on the shelf during the week and enjoy responsibly on the weekend.

When drinking alcohol be sure to drink more water to compensate for the diurnal effect of alcohol. The more effective you can be at staying hydrated, the better you’ll look and feel the next day.

Eat a kiwi a day

The term ‘superfood’ gets thrown around a lot. If one food genuinely deserves to wear that label, it’s the humble kiwi fruit. Kiwi contain nearly 20 vital nutrients and are anti-oxidant powerhouses, with 5 times the vitamin C of an orange. Just one kiwi fruit has 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also packed with vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, copper, and fiber in addition to omega-3 fatty acids.

Try incorporating 1 green or gold (we personally love the gold ones) into your diet a day. Your skin and general health will thank you.

Find a sunscreen you love

Can we get real for a minute? As a skin care clinic at the beach, we are constantly telling people to use sunscreen. We know it’s easy advice to give and hard advice to take. Very few people actually have a daily skin regimen where they consistently make using sunscreen a priority.

And we see the results of that lack of care. Not a week goes by that we don’t diagnose at least one person with skin cancer.

The simple reason for the disconnect is that sunscreen isn’t fun to use. It can be greasy. It can smell too strong. For most people, it’s a nuisance to use in the moment and the benefits don’t show up for decades making it easy to dismiss. We do this even though the potential alternative is getting skin cancer. So how can we approach this smarter?

The best way to work sunscreen into your daily life is to find one that you love. Not all sunscreens are created equal. Shop around. Find one you love, and use it daily. Your life could depend on it.

Try coconut oil

Coconut oil is a secret weapon in the fight for beautiful skin. Or it would be if every other food and wellness magazine and website hadn’t spent the better part of the last several years telling you to get more coconut oil in your life.

As it turns out, this is one of those items that definitely lives up to the hype when it comes to your skin. The reasons why might surprise you:

Coconut oil is great at cutting grease and taking off makeup. Simply apply to your face with a cotton swab, wait five minutes, and rise off. Reapply to any stubborn spots.

Beyond being great at removing makeup, it’s an excellent skin moisturizer, is an ideal deep cleanser, acts as an antibacterial shield, tackles fungal infections, and assists in the repair of collagen in your skin. All help to fight premature aging. 

It is worth noting that some people recommend using coconut oil as sunscreen. We do not recommend using it for this purpose. There are several reasons why coconut oil is not ideal as a sunscreen. The most compelling of which is that it claims to offer SPF 4 protection however a research study in 2016 found the SPF of all natural oils to be much closer to 1. SPF 1 is an ineffective dose.

Keep it simple. Use coconut oil to moisturize and protect your skin. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage.

Account for your water hardness

Water hardness isn’t typically the first thing people think about when it comes to skin care but the hardness level affects how your water interacts with any lotions, creams, ointments, and topical treatments you may use.

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, typically consisting of calcium and magnesium. Hard water prevents soapy products from achieving a full, rich, lather. It can make substances more difficult to dissolve in water and as a result can leave what feels like a soap scummy film on your skin.

If you have excessively hard water, and are experiencing breakouts, that could be a reason why.

Easy solutions are to use a separate cleanser to clean your skin, or to use softer water (such as distilled water) specifically for your skin care regimen.

Here at Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, when it comes to skin care, we’ve seen it all. Whether you’re trying to develop a better skincare routine or you have a skin issue you’d like us to look at and treat, we’re here to help. Contact us online, reach us at (910) 794-5355, or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to hearing from you. We now have three convenient locations to serve you: Wilmington, Supply, and Hampstead NC!

Love the skin you're in! If you are having skin issues, we can help.

Schedule your appointment to see one of our expert Dermatologists today. Now with locations in Wilmington, Supply, and Hampstead, NC!

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