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Is it ever too late to start taking care of your skin?

Image: (Instagram: @skoonskin)
Image: (Instagram: @skoonskin)

What is healthy skin?

If you have ever found yourself thinking about that question, you're not the only one.

Most people have their own; usually superficial, opinions of what great skin is. Healthy skin, however, is what allows you to live bravely and authentically as your true self.

In June this year, Ingram's embarked on a brave journey of unpacking the daily skin and body confidence struggles faced by many through real purpose-driven conversations with the Ingram's Skin Sessions campaign. Brand new thought-provoking topics are discussed weekly on SABC 3’s Expresso.

Skin conditions come in varying forms and can present themselves differently in diverse people, some of these conditions are a result of genetics while others can be managed by better taking care of our skin. The good news is that it's never too late to start.

"The skin is the largest organ in your body, and yet, we often take it for granted unless there is something wrong with it," explains Dermatologist Dr. Tarryn Jacobs, and this can easily hinder how we feel in it.

Among the skin conditions that Dr. Jacobs sees on her patients, such as atopic eczema, vitiligo, or psoriasis, are due to a genetic predisposition and are not markers of a person's overall health or well-being. What she advises as a condition that you can prevent, however, is premature skin aging.

"I firmly believe that aging is a gift, but aging skin is squarely within our control. This is because it's the external factors that play the largest role in skin aging, more so than our genetics – and that is a good thing because it means we can control that. The most impactful factor in skin aging is ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It makes up a whopping 80% of aging. That means, if you want to live with authenticity in your skin, then sun protection is a must."

The global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted that health is our greatest asset; the more you have, the richer you are, and the same can be said about skin health.

Ingram's Marketing Manager Lauren Burmeister believes that "healthy skin is integral to our self-esteem and confidence and how we see ourselves. Skin issues, such as acne, eczema, pigmentation, psoriasis are recognized causes of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and social isolation. But skincare is more than just skin deep. It is a complex biological organ connecting beauty, health, and disease."

Improving your diet and lifestyle can also be highly beneficial to the health of your skin. By this, Dr. Jacobs suggests getting adequate sleep, managing your stress, smoking cessation, and eating balanced nutrition throughout one's lifetime.

"Skin has several important physiological roles. Our skin is like a faithful security guard 24/7, protecting you from mechanical and chemical damage from the outside world. It contains immune cells that protect against bacterial invasion. It contains the pigment melanin, which protects us from UV light and its deleterious effects," she adds.

An annual skin check with your dermatologist is a great preventative measure to stay on top of your skin's health, advises Dr. Jacobs.

Top 3 basics of skincare routine to maintain healthy skin

  1. Cleanse:
  2. Moisturise:
  3. Protect:

Moisturising makes a massive difference in the appearance of your skin.

"Dry skin can be triggered by numerous factors such as inflammatory skin disorders like eczema or advancing age, but people commonly experience it in cold weather. Largely because of the drop in humidity, and indoor heating, which increases the amount of water loss from the skin." - Dr Jacobs.

What can we you do about dry skin?

Long hot baths can dry out your skin. Try reduce the temperatures to warm, advises Dr Jacobs. She says another major factor contributing to your dry skin can be traditional soap as it contains ingredients called surfactants that can strip your skin of essential oils. Instead, look for mild, creamy fragrance-free body cleansers.

The most important winter skincare tip that dermatologists give patients is moisturising properly and choosing the right moisturizer. That thinner lotion may have served you well in the warmer seasons, but dry skin needs a thicker product like a cream or even ointment. Secret ingredients to look for are glycerin, ceramides, and shea butter.

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