November is National Healthy Skin Month. Our skin is the largest organ of our body, so it is important to take proper care of it. Here are some tips on how to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy:
Check for skin cancer each month.
Look at your skin intentionally and carefully once a month, using a mirror to see otherwise not directly visible areas. Look at your palms, soles, between your toes, and your back … areas that are not seen by you on a daily routine basis. Look for moles or lesions that look different from all the others – bigger, darker brown or black, inflamed looking, or multi-colored. If you see something like this, show it to one of our providers.
Protect your skin from sunburns and ultraviolet damage.
Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and seek shade when possible.
Keep your skin well moisturized.
Dry skin is the most common cause of itchy skin. Use a moisturizing cream daily, especially on the trunk and arms where there are the fewest oil glands. For splitting nails, try Vaseline Petroleum Jelly at bedtime.
Check your feet for fungus, aka “athlete’s foot”
This can appear as dry peeling skin or tiny blisters on the soles. Check between the toes for white mushy skin, which can also be a sign of fungus. Use antifungal cream to clear the skin, and then avoid re-exposure to sources of fungus by avoiding going barefoot in public showers and on pool decks. Wearing flip-flops in these areas can help reduce the risk of getting foot fungus.
Prevent blisters and corns.
These happen from pressure, so try to wear shoes that are wide enough in the toe area.
Reduce underarm sweating.
If this is an issue for you, try using a clinical strength antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. If that is not helpful, see one of our dermatologist’s for other treatment options such as prescription strength antiperspirant liquid, new prescription wipes, low level electrical current treatments, or microwave treatments such as our miraDry treatment for underarm sweat.
Wash your face and scalp regularly.
These are 2 of the oiliest areas on your skin. For the face, consider washing with a foaming product which will be easier to rinse off and use lukewarm (not hot) water to avoid dilating blood vessels and causing redness.
For the scalp, if you are experiencing dandruff, try to shampoo frequently (every day to every other day) with anti-dandruff shampoo and see one of our providers if that does not control it adequately.
Sharon Nicolazzi, MD