Private Dermatology and Specialist Care

Top ten tips for healthy skin, hair and nails

One of the best resources for information about skin conditions and treatment is provided by the American Academy of Dermatology. Here are the Academy's top 10 tips for healthy skin, hair and nails.

1. Protect your skin from the sun  Use sunscreen, wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.  Seek the shade when appropriate. This helps prevent the visible signs of aging, such as age spots and fine lines, as well as decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer.  Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and one that protects against ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays.

2. Do not use tanning beds  Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature ageing.  If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a self-tanning product such as a lotion, foam or spray but do continue to use sunscreen with it.

3. Examine your own skin  Examining your skin for suspicious moles and other lesions could save your life.  You can use the AAD's body mole map to record your moles and learn how to perform a proper skin exam. If you find anything suspicious then make an appointment to see your dermatologist.

4. Don't skip the hair conditioner  Dermatologists recommend using a hair conditioner after every shampoo.  A conditioner cannot repair your hair, but it can increase shine, decrease static electricity, improve strength and offer some protection from harmful UV rays.  This can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair.

5. Eat a healthy diet  A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, essential fatty acids and other healthy foods is important for healthy skin.

6. If your skin feels dry....moisturise it  After a shower, bath or swimming is the best time to moisturise so you can trap water in the skin.  If your skin still feels dry with regular moisturising, apply moisturiser several times throughout the day.

7. Stop smoking  If you smoke you are exposing your skin to toxins which will accelerate ageing your skin and repeat puckering to inhale could cause deep lines around your lips.  Plus frequent squinting to avoid getting smoke in your eyes can cause noticeable crow's feet.

8. Manage your stress  Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and nails.  It can worsen many skin conditions including psoriasis, acne and rosacea, cause brittle nails and may lead to hair loss.

9. Don't bite your finger nails  You can transfer infectious organisms from your fingers and mouth. Also nail biting can damage the skin around your fingers allowing infections to enter. Keep your nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria collecting under your nails.

10. Lastly, if you have acne do not pick, pop or squeeze the blemishes  People mistakenly believe that picking and popping pimples will get rid of them quickly. The truth is that this will irritate the skin, make acne worse and significantly increase the risk of scarring.