Healthy holiday skin

December 13, 2011

It’s not your heart or even your brain. Your body’s largest organ is your skin. It covers and protects everything inside your body, regulates body temperature and works with the immune system to keep you healthy.

It does so much, so take extra precautions to treat your skin right this winter.

The first line of defense is healthy eating. The holidays present all kinds of opportunities for fatty and sugary foods, and what you consume directly affects your skin.

“Consuming unhealthy foods can fill you with empty calories, which leave your skin with fewer nutrients,” says David Butler, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “Watch what you eat, and also remember to take your vitamins. Taking a multivitamin can supplement unhealthy food choices that lack nutrients.”

The holidays are an inherently busy time of year, so try to exercise for 20-30 minutes every day to reduce the onset of stress, Dr. Butler says.

“Stress increases circulating glucocorticosteroids, which can lead to hormonally driven acne flare ups,” Dr. Butler says. “Exercise reduces stress and can prevent breakouts.”

Staying hydrated is also vital to healthy skin, especially during the holidays.

“Cold weather and low humidity during the winter can dehydrate your skin and leave it dull looking,” Dr. Butler says. “Remember to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to keep skin supple and to flush out toxins that can leave your skin looking drab.”

Remember to treat your skin gently. Avoid strong soap, shave carefully, use warm instead of hot water, and pat your skin dry rather than rub it.

“Hot water and strong soaps can remove oil that your skin needs,” Dr. Butler says.

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