Posted October 13, 2015 by admin in articles
 
 

What Patients Need to Know to Take Better Care of Their Skin

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What Patients Need to Know to Take Better Care of Their Skin

Everybody knows that proper skincare is important. Everybody knows this and yet most people’s skincare routines are far from optimal. This is because there is a lot of false information out there–branding info disguised as medical truths to sell more bottles of elixir–that gets in the way of basic skin care and maintenance.

It is important that we, as doctors, step up our game and help patients both understand why they need to take care of their skin as well as how to properly care for the skin they have. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Self Care for Skin Care

It is important that doctors teach their patients how to properly care for their skin from the inside and out. Here are the most important factors in proper skin care:

Patients should be taught both how to properly check their skin for dermatological issues and how to self treat minor issues that arise. Obviously, doctors should encourage their patients to seek consultation for any moles or strange looking patches on their skin that appear spontaneously or that change between checkups. Some problems, however, like warts and skin tags, can be treated using a natural skin tag removal product or an over the counter wart remover (though patients should seek treatment if these problems worsen).

Hydration. As with most of the body’s systems, proper hydration is a must for the skin’s health. It is imperative that patients drink enough water to prevent problems like acne and dryness. Proper hydration also prevents problems like constipation (which increases acne risk and other skin problems), allergic reactions and other health problems.

Drinking enough water is only part of the hydration puzzle. Regular and proper bathing are also important to the skin’s health and appearance. Shower water should be lukewarm, not extremely hot and shower length should be capped at fifteen minutes to prevent damage. The goal of a bath or shower is to get rid of germs and detrius picked up by the skin throughout the day, not to rid the skin of essential oils and nutrients.

Patients also need to understand that caring for the skin on their faces will be slightly different than their regular showering and bathing routine because the skin on their faces is more sensitive. Proper cleansing and moisturizing is important here and patients should avoid harmful chemicals whenever possible.

Why Skin Matters

Your patients will be more likely to take care of their skin if they understand exactly what the skin is and why it is important.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and it is just as vital to a patient’s survival as his or her kidneys, liver, brain, heart, etc. It acts as the patient’s first line of defense against a plethora of organisms like bacteria, viruses and environmental elements. In particular, the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) contains Langerhans’ cells, which are cells that fight against those harmful substances to keep them from invading your body. They are an important part of the patient’s immune system and if they get damaged, the patient can count on being forced to deal with illness and infection at a greater rate than someone whose skin is healthy. The epidermis also contains melanocytes which help protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun as well as determine your skin color, whether or not you get freckles, etc.

Superficially speaking, the skin and the condition of it is the first impression patients give other people of themselves. Dry and otherwise damaged skin communicates a lack of care and other issues. And, while there are many doctors who can help reverse damage, it is best that patients work hard to prevent damage from occurring in the first place. Repaired skin never looks as healthy as un-damaged skin.

Communicating the Risks

It is difficult to effectively communicate the risks of improper skin care to patients. Patients are conditioned to think of skin conditions and issues as temporary and easily treated, so they are likely to put off seeking treatment and may wave it off altogether.

The goal is to ensure your patients understanding that even a simple sunburn can become problematic if not treated properly or if it is severe without scaring them off from your care altogether. The best way to do this is to teach your patients what constitutes a severe condition that merits professional consultation. Show them what severe sunburns look like. Give them information about how to tell whether a mole is problematic.

As their doctor it is your job to help patients care for that skin properly. Start here and you should see dramatic improvement in the quality of your patients’ skin.

 



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