Skin, hair and nails undergo many changes throughout the years. Aging can alter the texture, thickness and color of nails and hair and can also cause skin to lose elasticity. However, with careful attention, it’s possible to slow these signs of aging. What’s more, many people believe that the condition of your skin and nails can reflect the state of your overall health. So by keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy, you’ll helping the rest of your body too.
Skin is actually the largest organ of the body, and its cells can quickly become dehydrated and damaged from sun exposure and loss of moisture, resulting in a loss of elasticity. Properly caring for your skin can help you maintain a youthful glow and avoid uncomfortable conditions such as rashes or dry, flaky skin. Of course, some skin aging is inevitable, but here are some things you can do to minimize skin damage and slow your skin’s rate of deterioration:
- Apply a daily moisturizer with an SPF factor of over 15 every day.
- Stop intentional sunbathing, and wear a hat every time you go outdoors.
- Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine, both of which can dry out the skin.
- Drink plenty of water. The recommendation still stands at eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and talk to your doctor about adding hair and nail friendly supplements like Vitamin D, B, or biotin to your diet.
- Beware of over-washing or over-exfoliating your face. Many experts say washing your face only once per day can help reduce dryness.
- If you regularly use a cell phone, be sure to sanitize it frequently as it touches your face. A recent study suggests that smart phones are dirtier than toilets and can carry harmful bacteria.
Hair performs an important function – it helps regulate our body temperatures and helps protect our skin cells. But as we age, hair follicles produce less melanin and this can change the color of hair and also slow the rate of re-growth, resulting in graying and/or thinning hair. Here are some tips to help prevent hair loss or damage, and also keep hair looking attractive over time:
- Consult with a professional hairstylist to find the optimal haircut, color and style for the texture and thickness of your hair and shape of your face.
- Follow washing and styling recommendartions that are customized for your own hair and scalp. For example, if you have an oily scalp, you should lightly shampoo your hair every day. But, if your scalp is normal or dry then shampooing it once every two or three days might be sufficient. If you have dry ends, consider skipping the shampoo and continue to moisturize every day.
- Consider getting an extra conditioning treatment to give your hair extra moisture and help maintain lustre.
- Report any changes in hair loss to your doctor as this could be a symptom of an underlying health problem.
- Ask your doctor if taking over-the-counter biotin and niacin supplements would be beneficial.
- Consume foods rich in protein, vitamin A and omega-3 oils, all of which promote strong, shiny hair.
Fingernails are often considered to be an overall barometer for health, and to some extent they will experience a slowdown in the rate of growth over time. Nail weakness, discoloration or ridges can all be indicators of underlying health conditions, so it’s important to ask your doctor to closely inspect your fingernails any time you notice changes. Here are some guidelines to help maintain healthy nails.
- Address any issues with fungal nail infections right away. These usually take months to clear up and will require regular application of medication.
- Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight, and have toenails clipped regularly to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Have nails regularly shaped and filed to avoid broken and ripped fingernails.
- Clean and scrub under the fingernails frequently, as this is where harmful bacteria can live.
- Apply moisturizer to your hands and nails daily, and consider using a product with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your hands from harmful sun rays.
- Talk to your doctor about taking biotin or other supplements that can be beneficial for maintaining strong and healthy nails.
- Avoid picking or biting at your fingernails or cuticles. This can cause snagging and tearing of the skin and can also open the skin and nails up to infections.
- Consume a varied and nutrient rich diet to help protect and fortify fingernails.
At Lighthouse Senior Living, we look at wellness holistically. We believe that careful attention to nutrition, exercise, personal care and positive social interactions are all important to overall happiness and well-being. Schedule a tour to learn more about our wellness programs and many amenities.