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Mary Lahr Schier

Save Your Skin

Gravity, sun, and time can torment your skin, but some basic care can help keep you glowing.

It's a natural part of the aging process: Our skin's appearance changes over time. Wrinkles. Sun spots. Dry patches. Bruises that don't heal as quickly as they used to. While it's not always easy to accept, it's not surprising that it happens. Our skin is the largest and most exposed organ in our bodies, and it takes a beating from time, gravity, trauma, bad habits, and sunlight.

But here's the good news: No matter how old you are, you can take steps to keep your skin healthy. Peeling back the layers

Skin care: 6 key tips

Shade yourself

Cutting back your sun exposure is one of the best steps you can take. Schedule outdoor activities before or after the hottest part of the day, typically 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wear a hat and clothes made from tightly woven natural fabrics.

Screen up

Most dermatologists recommend wearing a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen when you're outside. Slather it on thickly about 30 minutes before you go out to give it time to absorb. Then reapply it every two hours, and more often if you're sweating or swimming.

Shower smart

When water sweats off your body, it takes away some of your skin's natural oils, which can lead to dry, rough patches. Hot water strips away oils too. So limit your long showers and bathtub soaks, and keep the water warm. Use a gentle soap and dry off by patting — not rubbing — with a towel.

Lotion well

To smooth skin, use a lotion or cream specially designed for the cold, dry winter.

Drink water

Some changes are related to dehydration. If your skin looks dull or if you have dark circles under your eyes, pour a glass of water and drink up.

Get your skin checked by a doctor

This is an important one. Your doctor can evaluate any new spots, moles, or growths to make sure your skin is healthy.

– Mary Lahr Schier is an Eagan, Minn.-based freelance writer