Usually, it’s about what’s on the inside that counts. However, for Healthy Skin Month, November, let’s take a look at what’s on the outside! If you’re anything like me, I pay fairly little attention to my skin aside from washing regularly, wearing sunscreen when my activities warrant, and using moisturizer—in fact, even moisturizer is something I tend to forget to use more often than not! Whoops! So, how can the rest of us—people like me, and maybe like you!—take better care of our skin and keep it healthy?
The American Association of Dermatologists [AAD] has put together recommendations for Healthy Skin Month. And, in case you didn’t know, keeping your skin healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, either!  The AAD recommends using dual-purpose skin-care products, like a sunscreen + moisturizer lip balm or a sunscreen + moisturizer lotion.  They also note that more expensive isn’t always better—fragrances may make a product more expensive and cause more skin irritation, so be careful, and go with fragrance-free as often as you can (it also helps those of us with asthma and allergies that you hang around with if you go fragrance free!). 
What else should you do to keep your skin healthy? 
- Wash your face every day. As well, wash your face when it’s visibly dirty (duh?) or after exercising, to remove sweat and dirt from pores. Use lukewarm water and a mild soap or cleanser
- Contrary to some myths, use an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. Antiperspirants block sweating before it starts, rather than just neutralizing odour. These keep the skin cleaner. (There is no proof that antiperspirants contribute to breast cancer risk . And yes, I searched the journals also—no proof, just internet myth.)
- Use skin products for your skin type. Learn how to find your skin type here. You may also have to experiment with what products work best for you.
- Moisturize daily. The tip I most need! For best results, apply right after a bath or shower to help your skin stay hydrated. (Drinking water also helps—also something I could work on!)
- Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer—or injuries that are not healing, as they may be a sign of other medical issues. New or unusual spots or marks on skin, itching or bleeding, or unexpected changes, can be signs of skin cancer or other skin problems.
- Stay cool, covered, and in the shade. Wear sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher outdoors and seek shade. Wearing a hat and longer sleeves can help reduce risk of sunburn. Consider using an everyday moisturizer with SPF built right in.
- Petroleum jelly is your skin’s friend. If you’ve got a minor injury or irritation, petroleum jelly (vaseline) can help your skin recover. As well, dry skin and nails can be moisturized using petroleum jelly, too.
- Keep your feet safe. Blisters develop from both rubbing and moisture inside your shoes. Making sure your shoes fit properly (it’s said your feet never truly stop growing!), and wear socks that will wick moisture away from your skin, such as nylon or a polyester blend. Keeping your nails cut also helps reduce risk of injury and pain.
- See an expert if you’re concerned. A certified dermatologist—or your family doctor—can let you know if your skin is normal or if anything needs extra attention.
Keeping skin clean and well protected can not only help your skin look and feel better, but help reduce your risk of skin cancer. It’s a win-win—and, proper skin care only takes a few minutes a day. Some medical conditions medicines can affect your skin, such as eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), radiation or chemotherapy, and lupus. Consider a cancer treatment medical ID bracelet, or lupus medical ID, if you live with these potentially problematic conditions to skin health.