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Ringing in the new you

Taking care of your skin is a resolution you can keep

(NAPS)—It’s resolution time again, so this year, start a campaign of self-improvement from the outside in. A key first step is having healthy skin—and the best way to keep your resolutions going strong is to have a plan to achieve your goal.

To help your resolve to have radiant skin this year, Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at New York University, offers this simple checklist:

• Set the date: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone over the age of 21 should have a full-body skin examination at least once a year. Dr. Hale also suggests that you visit a dermatologist more frequently if you have a history of skin cancer in your family, have a lot of dark moles on your skin, or have accumulated a lot of skin damage over the years. When detected early, skin cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. Put a recurring yearly reminder into your cell phone calendar on January 1st to keep yourself on track.

• Don’t be a “fair weather” fan: One of the biggest skin sins a person can commit is wearing sunscreen only when it’s sunny or warm outside. Dermatologists recommend applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, regardless of the season. UV rays are present all year long and can penetrate through clouds; plus, in the winter, snow reflects 80 percent of UV rays. Choose a light, oil-free moisturizing sunscreen, like Coppertone Oil Free Faces SPF 30, that can be applied under makeup and won’t clog pores. Keep a bottle somewhere that’s highly visible (like next to your toothbrush) so you never forget.

• Don’t ignore your nails: You may not think of nails this way, but, like the rest of your skin, your nails are susceptible to sun damage. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, sun exposure can weaken the nail bed, damage the area from which new nail grows, and even cause skin cancers to form under or around the nail. To help keep nail beds protected from UV exposure during the winter months, wearing gloves is an easy fix. When it’s warmer out, make sure to use sun protection on your entire hand, including the area over, around and under the nails. Also, if you see anything suspicious, like a dark streak in the nail, bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

• Care for your hair: Since the top of your head is the closest part of your body to the sun, it’s important to make sure your scalp gets as much TLC as the rest of your skin. According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, putting sunscreen directly onto your hair and rubbing it into your scalp can help prevent burning. Opt for an oil-free sunscreen to avoid the dreaded “greasy scalp” effect or wear a hat to help protect your part.

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