11 Secrets Your Skin Wishes You Knew

Updated: Oct. 23, 2018

These tips for showering, moisturizing, and even eating will help you get the complexion you want.


Don’t rub your eyes

I’m thinnest here. At only about 0.05 mm thick—half the thickness of computer paper—I get tiny tears in capillaries from all that manhandling, making me look discolored and older. These are the 17 skin-care tips dermatologists use themselves.


Try not to scratch!

During cooler months, the dry air sucks moisture out through my top layer, which makes me irritated. Literally. Dryness triggers an inflammatory response: Immune cells as well as pro-inflammatory proteins and other enzymes go wild, activating itch receptors that send signals to your brain. I know it feels good for a second—scratching may engage pleasure and reward centers in the brain. But if you keep at it, I’ll get even more inflamed, which will cause those itch receptors to refire. And a vicious circle continues. All. Winter. Long. These are surprising signs of disease that your skin can reveal.


Take shorter showers

Especially in winter. Long, hot showers strip away my natural oils, as do soapy cleansers.

iStock/Drazen Lovric

Don’t wash your face in the morning

If I could make a PSA for this, I would: Ladies, you don’t need to wash your face twice a day (especially if you have dry skin). One cleansing at night gets rid of the debris that can clog my pores and contribute to acne. Scrubbing again in the morning may remove too much oil. These are the 12 questions you should ask your dermatologist at your next check up.


Make sure your moisturizer has ceramides

These lipids occur naturally in my top layer, but this time of year, I welcome an extra dose. They trap water molecules to help me stay smooth and dewy.

iStock/Djura Topalov

I’m a huge part of your immune system

Did you know I’m your first line of defense against germs? All three of my layers—my outer epidermis, thickest middle dermis, and bottom fatty layer—protect against invading bacteria, fungi, and other undesirables. That’s why moisturizing is so key. If my outer layer gets too dry, tiny cracks can develop, which leaves me looking scaly—and you more prone to skin infections and inflammation. These are the 10 signs you need a dermatologist as soon as possible.


Love thick, wooly sweaters? Layer up

Wool is a little abrasive. It can even trigger a rash if I’m feeling particularly sensitive. Don’t miss these eight home remedies for skin rashes!

iStock/Nicolas McComber

Wear SPF. All year round. Please.

Even applying a face powder with SPF would be better than nothing. Maybe you don’t realize that as long as it’s daylight, those ultraviolet rays are around, regardless of the weather. In winter, there can be up to twice as many UVA rays as UVB. These penetrate deep into me and contribute to cancer and most of the problems you see in your skin: the wrinkles that make you cringe, the dark spots on your hands, and the saggy neck you hate in photos. It makes me, well, crawl when you don’t use sunscreen religiously. These are the 10 skin cancer symptoms that aren’t on your skin.


Salmon makes me smile

The fish is packed with omega-3s, which can help replenish my natural oils as well as fight inflammation. Even better? Add broccoli. It has loads of vitamin C, which my cells require to make collagen, a protein that makes me firm and supple.


Sugar doesn’t

You know it’s not good for your waist or teeth, but it also takes a toll on my complexion. Sugar molecules bind to my proteins, which compromises the fibers that keep me taut. (Translation: wrinkles.) These are the skincare rules to live by in every stage of your life.


Get your beauty sleep

That’s when I do all my repair work. All day long, I’ve been making fresh new cells and pushing up dead ones to the top to be sloughed off. This renewal process speeds up during deep sleep. In roughly a month, my top layer will be fully regenerated. People who get uninterrupted, high-quality sleep show half as many signs of aging as poor sleepers. Good sleepers have fewer fine lines, better elasticity, and more even tone. I’ll also recover more efficiently from stressors, and let’s face it: I’ll look more attractive.  This is why drinking water probably won’t help your skin, according to dermatologists.

Sources: Chris G. Adigun, MD, dermatologist in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina; Nada Elbuluk, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center; Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology, Yale School of Medicine; Elizabeth K. Hale, MD, clinical associate professor at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center; Brian Kim, MD, of the Center for the Study of Itch, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Gil Yosipovitch, MD, director of the Temple Itch Center, Temple University School of Medicine

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest