While some people need to look their best for work and some people want to look their best for social media posts, skin care is important for everyone. Healthy, moisturized skin is the best protection we have against infection. Extremely dry skin can crack on its own without any detectable trauma. When a cut or abrasion is made to dry, neglected skin, the body must work harder to heal itself. If an opportunistic infection does get a foothold, you may have to take a full course of antibiotics and extra precautions to protect the wound. Left untreated or with complications related to the immune system, skin infections can take a very serious, potentially life-threatening turn. Alternatively, you may have a bad reaction to the antibiotics with side effects that have the potential to disrupt your everyday life for weeks or even months.
Sunscreen and Skin Cancer Prevention
Applying sunscreen, covering the skin, and guarding against extensive sunburn and UV radiation is another essential part of most people’s skin care routine. Rates of skin cancer are on the rise and among the fastest growing rates for all cancers, including both general incidence and mortality rates. From the early 1980s to the early 2010s, rates of melanoma in particular have doubled, according to the CDC.
Like so many things, prevention is the best treatment. It’s also worth doing. You may have heard that many sunscreen products contain their own carcinogens. While this is technically true, most dermatologists and skin care professionals will tell you that the evidence suggests the benefits of using sunscreen still greatly outweigh the risks. It is generally believed that heavy and daily use is required to significantly elevate one’s cancer risk from these products. If you want to follow best practices, try to cover more of your skin to protect against the sun. You might also splurge on higher-end products that deliver adequate protection without these carcinogenic ingredients.
Skin Care and Quality of Life
Building personal confidence and improving others’ perception of you shouldn’t be overlooked, either. It’s not all about vanity. Improving your prospects in social and/or professional settings can deliver mental health benefits as well as new financial resources. Healthy skin also feels better. Touch can be a powerful force that connects us to other people and offers a range of preventative health benefits. In this area, the best advice tends to be more personalized and typically starts with moisturizing dry skin or managing excessively oily skin. Moreover, you shouldn’t have to completely upend your daily routine or get a second job to make substantive improvements in the quality of your skin.
There are a lot of preventative measures that are good for your health, but basic skin care is too often something that doesn’t get done or even gets left off the list altogether. Just because you don’t have the resources or the impetus to use the “fancy stuff” is no excuse to ignore a skin care routine altogether. For health and for beauty, it’s certainly true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.