Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - Tips To Promote Nurse Self-Care Through Skin Care
Heart health, lung health, brain health - these are all essential areas of well-being, but are you neglecting your body's largest organ?
The skin, which acts as a barrier to the external world, is often overlooked when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. But this living organ protects your internal body from all kinds of things in the outside world. Are you doing everything you can to keep it healthy?
Board-certified dermatologist Sejal K. Shah, MD, FAAD, points out that there are more benefits to taking care of your skin than most people realize.
“Not only are there physical benefits, but mental and psychological benefits, as well,” said Dr. Shah. “Many skin conditions are associated with low self-esteem and lower quality of life. But if your skin is healthy and feels good, you’ll feel better about yourself emotionally.”
That’s where a daily skin care regimen comes in. A skin care routine can be an important step in self-care. In fact, busy nurses who often have minimal time to focus on themselves and who are spend long hours on their feet and in face masks and PPE, can benefit from a little TLC for their skin; and it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Easy Steps to Take Care of Your Skin Every Day
To keep the routine simple, even for the busiest nurses, follow these 3 foundational elements of skin care:
Depending on your skin type, you should use a gentle cleanser on your face and body every day. Foaming cleanser is ideal for oily and combination skin types because it’s best for removing excess oils. Non-foaming cleanser, on the other hand, is better for dry skin types.
When choosing a cleanser, pay close attention to the ingredients. Rather than falling for the appeal of current “trending” ingredients, look for tried and true components like ceramides. Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and empower skin to retain moisture. They also help the skin protect itself against environmental aggressors like irritants and pollution.
Replenishing ceramides in the skin barrier is crucial, as they naturally deplete over time, due to factors like aging or environmental stressors. When ceramide levels are diminished, the skin becomes more susceptible to things like dryness, itching, and irritation.
“The key is to understand your skin type and how different formulations interact with your skin,” said Dr. Shah. “If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight, it might be too harsh. Look for products that clean the skin without removing too many excess oils.”
Next, use a moisturizing cream to help reinforce your skin’s barrier. Think about your skin type and any skin conditions you may have, like aging, dark spots, dryness, or acne. Some moisturizers contain anti-aging components like retinol, while others contain hydrating oil for skin radiance.
“It’s good to get into the habit of using sunscreen every day, no matter what you plan to do that day,” said Dr. Shah. “Many people forget that incidental and indirect sun exposure, like sun shining in through a window, can still affect the skin.”
An easy trick to help you remember sunscreen on a daily basis: Use a moisturizer that contains SPF. No matter your skin type, you can benefit from hydration and sun protection at the same time. A moisturizer with SPF provides the benefits of two products in one step.
You (and Your Healthcare Provider) Know Your Skin Best
If you’re still unsure which products and skin care regimens to turn to, don’t be afraid to lean on an expert for guidance.
“I always recommend consulting a board-certified dermatologist about the best skin care regimen for you,” said Dr. Shah. “This is especially true if you have concerns about your skin health, like itchy skin, eczema, diabetic skin, psoriasis, or acne.”
Skin Care During COVID-19
Now more than ever, taking care of your skin (especially on your face) is crucial. Nurses wear masks and other PPE as long as 12 hours a day, and this can take a toll on the body’s protective layer.
“Wearing masks long-term can result in extra dryness, irritation, and acne,” said Dr. Shah. “But following a skin care routine with cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen can give your skin the TLC it needs to stay healthy or heal.”
If you haven’t already, build a short, easy-to-remember skin care regimen into your busy schedule. Your protective outer shell will thank you.
Dr. Sejal Shah is a board-certified dermatologist working in private practice in Manhattan, New York. Her expertise encompasses all aspects of dermatology including cosmetic dermatology and lasers, hair loss and ethnic skin.
This content is made possible in part by the generosity of CeraVe.
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This is one area that I focus on because skin care is important. Even if I don't put on makeup, I make it a point to wash and put on my moisturizers on my face. I use products from Mary Kay and I love them.
I have been trying to focus on my skincare lately. I didn't know to look for ceramides, and interesting to know that foaming cleanser is better for oily skin! Plus I will say I do feel better when my skin looks and feels good!