Taking good care of your skin isn’t just about making it look good. It’s about keeping it hydrated, nourished, and protected by following an effective skincare routine that includes practicing sun safety. That said, it doesn’t have to be difficult!
Here we’ll give you four easy, effective ways to protect your skin, and we’ll also explain why it’s so important to do so. We'll also share some of the qualities of healthy skin and discuss the possible side effects of excessive sun exposure.
Your skin protects your body from outside influences like weather, environmental pollutants, and the sun’s UV rays. All in all, it has a big job to do. Sun damage and other factors accelerate the signs of aging and can eventually lead to skin cancer. The good news is that these things don’t happen overnight—they occur gradually. But that’s why it’s vital to care for your skin throughout your lifetime, and it’s never too early to get started.
That doesn’t mean protecting your skin needs to be complicated. A few simple lifestyle changes and healthy habits can make all the difference.
Wondering how to keep your skin healthy? One of the best things you can do is develop a skincare routine—and stick to it. At Curology, we’re all about keeping it simple. Cleanse and moisturize your face twice daily, and protect your skin by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher 15 minutes before heading outdoors. Be consistent, and before you know it, chances are it will become second nature. Here are a few other tips to help protect your skin:
The important thing here is that you need to know your skin—paying close attention to your skin’s condition and any changes can help you determine if you need to see a board-certified dermatologist or licensed dermatology provider. Anything that seems out of the ordinary, like breakouts that don’t seem to quit or a dark spot that changes shape, size, or color are excellent reasons to seek professional advice.¹ Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.
There are many ways to protect your skin from the sun, but research shows that a multi-layered approach is likely best.² The American Academy of Dermatology recommends starting with water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 as your first line of defense. Cover up with sun-protective clothing with UPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection,³ and if you have to be outside between 10am and 2pm, try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
Drinking water won’t hydrate your skin directly, but it is important for overall health. Staying hydrated doesn’t mean just drinking water—your skin also needs moisture. Hydrate your skin using a moisturizing lotion or cream for your skin type. Apply it to your face after cleansing and your body after showering. And while on the topic of showering—turn down the heat. Hot water can dry out your skin, so opt for lukewarm water instead.
Targeted skincare with professional guidance is often one of the most effective ways to get results. But like all good things, it can take time for your skin to adjust or before you notice results. Some ingredients work for multiple conditions, but if you’re targeting acne vulgaris, that’s usually much different than treating acne-like symptoms caused by rosacea. That’s where professional dermatology guidance comes in—your dermatology provider can help work with you to reach your specific skin goals.
Healthy skin isn’t a given, but caring for your skin regularly and other lifestyle changes can help you get there. Remember, it doesn’t have to take hours out of your day—less is often more! Here are some simple healthy skin tips for the face to help keep your skin looking and feeling its best.
Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser once or twice daily to remove any buildup.
Consider exfoliating your skin weekly. While this is optional, it can help remove any buildup of dead skin cells and help unclog your pores.
Consider topical vitamins like vitamin C and E. Think of these as an extra treat for your skin—they’re also completely optional, but everyone’s skin likes a little extra attention every now and then.
Seek professional guidance. A dermatologist or another licensed medical provider can help determine your skin needs. Spoiler: One of the easiest ways to get a consultation with a licensed dermatology provider is through Curology’s full service skincare subscription.
It’s a myth that you need a ton of products and a complicated skincare routine to achieve healthy skin. Also, your skin might not be as bad as you think. You may experience fluctuations in tone and texture from time to time or the occasional breakout every now and again. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin’s health is compromised.
Here are some qualities of healthy skin:
Your skin is hydrated. Fine lines may become less noticeable, and your skin looks more plump and smooth.
Your skin texture is consistent. Your skin should generally feel smooth when you glide your hand across it.
You have an even skin tone. While this is a common goal, it does not necessarily mean that your skin isn't healthy if your tone is uneven—plenty of perfectly healthy people may experience changes in skin color like melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots).
You’re using effective ingredients for your skin. You’ll know if you’re using ingredients that work for you—you’ll likely experience fewer breakouts and more improvements in skin texture and tone.
Prolonged UV exposure can damage your skin, causing sunspots, fine lines, and wrinkles. And in some cases, sun exposure can eventually lead to skin cancer. Here’s what you need to know about what can happen if you spend too much time in the sun:
Sunburn and short-term damage. All it takes are a few minutes of unprotected exposure for the sun to burn your skin. Short-term damage can include pain and blisters, but sunburns can also strip your skin of moisture, leaving it dry and vulnerable.
Photoaging and long-term damage. Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays over your lifetime can cause signs of premature aging, whether you burn or not. Long-term damage includes sunspots (pigmentation changes), wrinkles, and a possible “leathery” look.
Skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation is the leading factor contributing to skin cancer.⁴ If your spots change color, shape, or size, or if it itches or bleeds, seek professional care from a board-certified dermatologist or licensed healthcare provider.
Curology helps take the guesswork out of your skincare routine—licensed dermatology providers work with you to examine your skin, assess your skincare goals, and provide custom treatment options. They can create personalized treatment plans, prescribe customized formulas to address your skin concern, and offer advice to help keep your skin as healthy as possible.
If you’re ready to determine your skin needs and how to treat them, sign up for a free 30-day trial.* Getting started is easy. Just answer a few questions and snap a few selfies to help us get to know your skin. If Curology is right for you, we’ll pair you with one of our dermatology providers, who will personalize a prescription formula to help you meet your skincare goals (like treating acne, rosacea, or signs of aging). Just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling. We’ll also include other products recommended by our team to complete your skincare routine.
American Academy of Dermatology. 10 Skin care secrets for healthier-looking skin. (n.d.).
Ou-Yang, H., et al. Sun protection by beach umbrella vs sunscreen with a high protection factor: A randomized clinical trial.JAMA Dermatology. (2017 March 1).
American Academy of Dermatology. What to wear to protect your skin from the sun. (n.d.).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What can I do to reduce my risk of skin cancer? (n.d.).
Nicole Hangsterfer is a licensed physician assistant at Curology. She obtained her masters in physician assistant studies at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern in Chicago, IL.
* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C