Skin and Beauty

What Is Skin and Beauty

The skin does a lot for the body – it acts as a barrier to infection, insulates the body, and plays a critical role in the ability to sense the environment. Taking care of your skin is essential in order to help you look and feel your best. People across the world put a great deal of time and effort into skin care. The global skin care market was estimated to be worth 100 billion US dollars in 2014.

In addition to skin care, beauty products can help people look and feel their best. The cosmetic and beauty industry grosses over $50 billion dollars each year in the US alone, and has been growing in recent years.

Cosmetic procedures are also a growing part of the beauty routines of many Americans. Procedures range from skin-smoothing injections to body and facial reconstruction. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2013, and that number is expected to grow.

Skin Care

There are many aspects to skin care: 


Without sufficient moisture, the skin can become painfully dry and cracked. The American Academy of Dermatology has assembled the following list of dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin:

  • Limit time in the bath or shower to 5-10 minutes
  • Avoid using hot water
  • Be gentle when toweling off the skin—pat dry instead
  • Use body moisturizer immediately after bathing
  • Use an facial ointment or thick face cream for particularly dry skin
  • Apply hand cream each time after washing the hands, and use before bed every night
  • Wear lip balm—look for one that contains natural ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter or cocoa butter
  • Avoid skincare products that contain harsh ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, and use retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) sparingly if your skin is dry
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands in cold weather and during activities that involve using harsh chemicals or greases, like washing dishes or cleaning
  • Choose non-irritating laundry detergents–look for ones made for sensitive skin or that are labeled hypoallergenic, and that are labeled “fragrance-free” rather than “unscented”
  • Don’t sit right in front of a heat source. This may make your skin dry out faster.
  • Use a humidifier

Sun Protection.

Protecting your skin from the sun is important to both the health and appearance of your skin. While small amounts of sun exposure are beneficial to bodily occurrences such as the production of vitamin D, prolonged sun exposure over time, without proper protection, can cause prominent wrinkles, skin discoloration, and increased risk of skin cancer. The American cancer society offers the following tips on protecting your skin from the sun:

  • Seek shade—bring an umbrella to the beach, sit under a tree when in the park, any shade helps shelter you from the sun
  • Protect your skin with clothing that is manufactured to shield UV radiation. All clothing does not protect your skin equally—fabrics with tighter weaves offer more sun protection than fabrics that are sheer and loosely woven. Read the label fully before promising a product that promises skin protection.
  • Wear a hat that shades both your face and neck from the sun
  • Use sunscreen, preferably a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation, with an SPF over 15, preferably higher. The SPF number refers only to UVB ray protection, to ensure UVA protection, check for ingredients like ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.
  • Be sure that your sunscreen has not passed its expiration date.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV rays
  • Don’t use tanning beds or sunlamps as prolonged use can increase cancer risk , lead to wrinkles and skin discolorations, affect skin elasticity, among other problems

For more information on skin cancer, visit the skin cancer condition center.


Though changes to the skin are a natural part of getting older, many men and women are displeased with the effects of the changes on their physical appearance. Regularly moisturizing skin and avoiding unprotected sun exposure throughout life can help the skin to age more gradually. When it comes to anti-aging products, it can be difficult to separate fact and fiction because people respond to products differently.

While the following tips won’t reverse skin aging, they may help the skin age more gradually:

  • Remove your make up before sleep to prevent dirt build up on the surface of the skin
  • Exfoliate both your face and body to keep pores clear.
  • Use spot treatment for pimples rather than applying broad spectrum products to the entire face. Anti-acne products often contain ingredients that can be harsh on healthy skin.
  • Get fresh air whenever possible. Potentially harmful free-radical practices are especially abundant in stuffy, urban environment air.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can help the body to expel toxins which may help the skin age more gracefully.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking accelerates the aging of skin.

Hair and Nails

Scalp Care

A healthy scalp is essential to a healthy head of hair.  The following tips can help promote a healthy scalp:

  • Avoid showering with hot water. This can dry out the scalp and lead to flaking.
  • Scrub your scalp while shampooing to get rid of excess dirt and oil—the vigorous massage motion also stimulates blood flow to scalp promoting scalp health
  • Take supplements to combat dry scalp and dandruff. Studies show that vitamins B, C, E, and omega-3 fatty acids can help promote healthy hair and scalp
  • Use conditioner on the scalp. Many people don’t use conditioner on the scalp out of fear that it will make the hair oily. However, the occasional use of conditioner on the scalp can help prevent a dry and flaky scalp. 

Hair Care

As you age, hair can change color, lose shine, and become thinner. The following tips can help you prevent and reverse signs of aging hair:

  • Use gentle shampoo and conditioner. Harsh products may make the hair weaker and more brittle.
  • Use thickening shampoos if you notice that your hair is thinning. Treating the problem as soon as it arises can prevent the hair thinning from worsening.
  • Consider dying your hair if you are unhappy with grays. You can choose to dye it completely or partially, leaving in some grays.
  • Use root touch up products instead of re-dying the hair completely. This will spare your hair the harsh chemicals of hair dye while still giving you uniform color 


The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following tips for healthy nails:

  • Keep nails clean and dry
  • Cut nails straight across, slightly rounding the edges for maximum strength
  • File away any chips that may arise to avoid snagging and/or tearing the nail
  • Don’t bite your nails.
  • Don’t cut your cuticles as this can make you more susceptible to infection.
  • Avoid using your nail as a tool (i.e. to open a soda can) whenever possible
  • Trim toenails and nails regularly
  • Soak your hands and feet in warm salt water 5-10 minutes before trimming to soften the nails
  • Avoid self-treatment for ingrown nails. Instead, see a dermatologist.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes to avoid injury to the toenails
  • Wear flip flops at public pools and showers to prevent nail fungus

Make Up

Make-up is an important part of many women’s beauty routines. A recent study found that women spend on average 55 minutes a day on their personal appearance, applying makeup being a considerable portion of that time. Financial website estimated that women will spend an average of $15,000 on make up throughout their lifetime.

The following is a list of beauty products and what they can add to your beauty routine:

  • Base cream/moisturizer/primer/BB cream. This is the first step in many women’s beauty routines. It helps create a smooth surface for flawless makeup application and acts as a buffer between the skin and make-up products.
  • Foundation. Foundation creates a uniform color across the entire face. It is many times combined with moisturizers/primers to create a single base cream that corrects color, moisturizes, and creates a smooth surface. When buying foundation, be sure to match it to your skin tone. If your skin tone changes from season to season, you may need to buy multiple foundation colors to accommodate the change.
  • Bronzer can help add color and definition to a pale face. It also serves as a good alternative to tanning booths, which exposure the skin to harmful UV rays.
  • Blush can add color to a face to make it seem more youthful, fresh, and defined. Follow the contour of your natural cheekbone for the most natural blush application.
  • Eye liner comes in a variety of types and colors. It helps to accent and define the eyes.
  • Eye shadow. Eye shadow can also add definition to the eyes. Darker shades can create a more dramatic look while lighter, less bold colors can help create a natural daytime look. Expert’s tip: apply translucent shimmer eye shadow in the inside corner of the eye to instantly brighten a tired face.
  • Mascara helps to accentuate the eye lashes and draw attention to the eyes. If you don’t have naturally dark hair, consider using blonde or brunette mascara for a more natural look.
  • Adhesive eye lash extensions. These can be bought at your local drug or beauty store, and add dramatic volume to the eyelashes. Read the label fully before you buy a pair of adhesive lashes – some are intended for multiple uses while others are only single-use, often accompanied by a significant price difference.
  • Lipstick comes in almost any color imaginable and can help transform a look from ordinary to extraordinary. For lasting color, try a lip stain in place of a lipstick, which won’t get wiped off as easily.
  • Eyebrow pencil. The eyebrows are often an ignored part of the makeup routine. Using a color-appropriate pencil to fill in the brows can considerably change a look. For an especially clean look, use a brow comb before penciling to assure the brows are neatly in place. 

When to Stop Using Make Up

It’s often forgotten that make up has expiration dates past which it should no longer be used. Make sure to read the label on your make up bottles and containers. Periodically go through your make up collection to get rid of any products that have expired. Old or expired make up can become less effective and harbor bacteria. Most makeup products should be tossed 12-18 months after the first use.

Permanent Make Up

The same technology used to give tattoos can be used to give the appearance of permanent makeup. Popular permanent make-up applications include lip liner, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, and eye shadow.

Cosmetic Procedures

There are hundreds of cosmetic procedures available to help people meet their beauty goals. The American Society of Plastic Surgery lists the following as the most common:

Botulinum Toxin (Botox). Botulinum toxin is injected into the skin and blocks nerve transmission, preventing muscles from contracting and lessening the appearance of wrinkles. Recovery time from a Botox injection is generally only a matter of hours, and effects typically last 3 to 6 months.

Dermal fillers. Dermal fillers are substances that are injected under the skin to create a smoother, fuller, more youthful skin appearance. Popular dermal fillers include:

  • Hyaluronic acid-based fillers, like: Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane
  • Collagen-based fillers, like: Zyderm, Artefill, Cosmoderm
  • Synthetic fillers, like: Radiesse, Sculptra, Silicone
  • Autolgous fat injections—aka using fat from another area of your body and injecting into treatment area
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections, aka the “vampire lift”—another type of autologous wrinkle filler/volumizer, whereby blood is drawn, treated, then injected into the face. The effects can last 12 to 18 months.

Skin rejuvenation and resurfacing. Various procedures like microdermabrasion, glycolic peels, laser skin resurfacing, among others can be used to correct the appearances of wrinkles, dark spots, scars, and surface blood vessels. Ask a cosmetic surgeon about what options are best suited to your beauty goals.

Spider vein treatment. In spider vein treatment procedures, a solution called a sclerosing solution is injected into spider veins to make them collapse and fade from view on the skin surface. Recovery time for spider vein treatment is only a few days.

Eyelid surgery. Eyelid surgery can be used to remove excess fat or skin above the eyes and lessen the appearance of under eye bags and wrinkles. The procedure is minimally invasive and requires on average 7-10 days of recovery time.

Tummy tuck. In a tummy tuck, excess fat is removed from the stomach and the skin is pulled downwards for a smoother, flatter stomach. Recovery times for a tummy tuck vary from person to person, but usually last anywhere from three weeks to two months.

“Lift” procedures. Lift procedures are used to get rid of excess fat, skin, or wrinkles on various parts of the body. Popular lift procedures include:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Thigh
  • Brow
  • Body
  • Arm

Recovery time for lift procedures depend largely on the location.

Laser hair removal. Laser hair removal uses highly concentrated light to penetrate and damage hair follicles to stop future hair growth. It can be used on most parts of the body, including:

  • Underarms
  • Legs
  • Bikini Area
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Arms
  • Chin
  • Lip

Laser hair removal typically requires several sessions, and can cause temporary pain or soreness.

Breast augmentation. Breast augmentations use saline or silicon implants to enhance breast size. Recovery time can last several weeks to months.

Rhinoplasty. In this procedure, surgeons re-sculpt the bone and cartilage of the nose to meet the wishes of the patient. The healing time for rhinoplasty is anywhere from three weeks to one month.

Complementary and Alternative Treatment

Because of the large variety of products available, it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction when it comes to alternative beauty and skincare products. Below are alternative beauty and skincare methods that may be effective in solving the following problems:

  • Dry skin. Try making your own moisturizer with a mixture of avocado, honey, and coconut oil. Apply the moisturizer, let it sit on the skin for 10-15 minutes, and then wash it off. The essential oils in all three ingredients will help your skin be super smooth without the added chemicals.
  • Dry scalp. Try heating natural oil such as coconut, olive, or avocado oil to a warm temperature and applying it to the scalp. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing it off. The hair may look greasy for several days afterwards, but the oils will help replenish moisture in the scalp.
  • Brittle nails. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil mixed with a few drops of lemon juice and apply to nails at night at least three times a week. Sleep with gloves on to keep the mixture in place as you sleep.
  • Dull hair. Try rinsing the hair with apple cider vinegar instead of normal conditioner to help increase the shine.
  • Thin hair. Try making a mask for your hair using one to two eggs. Beat the eggs well and add essential oils if you would like. Apply the mixture to the hair and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rise off well in the shower. This should help the hair be fuller and have more body.
  • Acne. A couple of drops of tea tree oil in a cup of water can be used as an antibacterial, acne-fighting face wash.
  • Dark spots. Apply aloe vera to the skin daily. Aloe vera helps the skin to regenerate.
  • Cellulite. Make a coffee scrub with ¼ cup of coffee grounds, a few teaspoons of brown sugar, and 4 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. Massage into skin 2-3 times a week to help fade the appearance of cellulite.

When To Contact A Doctor

If you notice sudden changes to your skin, hairs, or nails, contact your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if the changes are because of aging or a more serious cause.

If you are recovering from a cosmetic procedure, contact your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rhythm**
  • Chest pain**
  • Sharp, newly developed pain in any of the limbs**
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling/redness at procedure site
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Abnormally slow healing

**Call emergency services as these may require immediate medical attention.

Questions For Your Doctor

To find a dermatologist, visit here.

Questions For A Doctor

You may want to ask your doctor the following questions:

  • What can I do to improve the appearance of my hair, nails, and/or skin?
  • Do I have any skin or nail problems that require treatment?
  • Is anything in my current beauty routine potentially harmful to my health?
  • What are the available cosmetic procedures that can help me meet my goals?
  • What are the risks and benefits of those procedures?
  • What can I do to protect myself against premature aging?
  • What can I do to protect my skin against sun damage?
  • Is there any way to reverse the damage that has been done to my skin, hair, nails, etc.?


To learn more about skin health, visit here.


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