Dermatology

Healthy Skin is not Just Superficial

This is an exciting time in the world of dermatology as we discover more about the link between our skin and our internal health. Recognizing more about this relationship underscores the importance of keeping our skin as healthy as possible…and the potential benefits that we will see in our overall well-being as a result.

There are numerous studies proving the relationship between inflammation in our skin and inflammation within our bodies. For example, when our skin becomes really inflamed, the inflammatory cells and cytokines that are formed can be enough to create inflammation within our body. We know that inflammation in our body can lead to chronic conditions such as heart disease and can stress our other organs and immune system as well.

So how can we minimize inflammation in our skin? One simple way is establishing consistent habits such as avoiding harsh and irritating cleansers that inflame our skin; keeping our skin well-moisturized to provide the support and flexbility that it needs to behave optimally; and being consistent about effective sun protection. We know that sun exposure causes inflammation within the skin which then causes damage to the collagen and other structures in our skin…as possibly beyond.

Starting optimal skin care habits as children is the most ideal approach to a lifetime of healthy skin. Simple routines such as gentle cleansers, consistent moisturizers, and sun protection are the foundation of lifelong beautiful skin (and likely a healthier body in general). As our skin matures, we lose some of the natural moisture component of our skin. We also start to lose elasticity and firmness in our skin through the breakdown of collagen and elastic fibers…this process is accelerated by inflammation.

When our skin is not adequately moisturized, the skin barrier is compromised…microscopic cracks allow bacteria and viruses to enter the skin. A similar process can occur from skin care products that produce dryness or irritation to our skin. Our skin cells in turn produce cytokines to fight these bugs, leading to inflammation and further recruitment of other immune system cells.

Find a skin care regimen for you and your children that works for you. Ceramide containing creams and lotions (such as Cerave) are an effective way to keep the skin barrier strong and resilient. Avoidance of harsh soaps and antibacterial gels that can irritate the skin is important. Daily sun protection with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher is a must.

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