There are several myths about skin care in today’s world which greatly inhibit the overall health and well-being of our skin, the body’s largest organ.

Let’s take a look at some of these myths including the idea that washing one’s face several times daily will diminish acne; sunscreen is not as important on overcast or cloudy days; and that all “all natural” products are good for the skin.

Washing to diminish acne

The true fact is that repeatedly washing already irritated skin will strip it of the natural oils needed to keep the skin balanced. This can cause an over-production of oil from the body’s sebaceous glands, clogging pores, and perpetuating acne and compromised skin.

No sunscreen on cloudy days

The idea that sunscreen is not needed on overcast or cloudy days is also false. In fact, over exposure due to lack of protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays which are still prevalent on overcast days, will again result in overstimulated sebaceous glands and is likely to cause acne and damage both the primary and secondary layers of the skin. This can make you more prone to skin issues such as carcinoma, melanoma and keratosis.

“All natural” products

While natural products can be beneficial and provide your body with needed essential fatty acids and nutrients, most products claiming to be natural are not in fact pure products. Many are filled with preservatives in order to keep the ingredients from diminishing, but which can cause irritation, allergic reactions, and even damage to the skin.

The importance of a good skin care regime and proper skin health is not to be underestimated. With a total area of roughly 20 square feet, our skin protects us from toxins, microbes and the elements we encounter on a daily basis such as smog, germs, bacteria and viruses. The skin is essential to overall body health and allows for proper Vitamin D production, regulates the body’s temperature, and allows us to feel the sensations of heat, cold, touch, etc.

In order to maintain healthy and balanced skin, several factors come into play. Being properly hydrated, (especially in the desert) is necessary for proper brain function and aids in skin health and texture. Exercise is vital to overall body health by allowing for proper circulation which helps to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. A properly balanced diet is essential for skin health, intestinal balance and overall mental and physical well-being. A diet consisting of healthy fats such as Omega 3’s found in foods like avocados and salmon as well as foods rich in calcium and magnesium, such as almonds, will help protect your skin from the harmful effects of your daily environment.

I would recommend the following tips to achieve the skin you desire:

  • Establish a proper skin care regime;
  • Don’t over expose your skin to moisture, such as long baths and consider using warm rather than hot water;
  • Avoid harsh soaps that will strip your skin of its natural oils; consider instead a well-balanced line of medical grade skin care products. Skin Medica and Obagi have shown amazing results;
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin decreasing blood flow, damaging your body’s ability to create collagen and elastin and diminishing your skin’s strength and elasticity;
  • Stay properly hydrated;
  • Maintain a balanced diet. A healthy diet contributes to younger looking skin by allowing the cells within your body to function at maximum capacity;
  • Exercise in order to reduce stress and increase oxygen levels within the body allowing your skin to regenerate and maintain its natural balance;
  • Lastly, protect your skin from the sun and treat your skin gently.

The goal of a proper skin care regime is to allow the beauty you have inside to reflect outwardly. Also know that there is an intimate connection between our emotions and our skin. Allow yourself to be radiant by taking care of your body, mind and soul.

Desert Health® is honored to welcome Dr. Ritu Chopra and his new column Beauty Inside & Out. Dr. Chopra graduated cum laude from Boston University School of Medicine and completed a six-year general surgery residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. He is a recipient of the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha award given to the top 10% of medical students followed by the award for top surgical student in 1999. Dr. Chopra was also accepted into one of the oldest and most acclaimed programs in the country at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York where his fellowship provided extensive experience in complex aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the entire body. He has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed publications in all aspects of surgery from minimally invasive surgery to stem cell research. Dr. Chopra’s grandfather was a renowned health care practitioner in India and first introduced him to the many healing powers found in our environment providing him a unique perspective on health care and prevention. We look forward to Dr. Chopra’s contributions to Desert Health®.

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