Skin hygiene and care are important to not only avoid skin infection but also to improve overall skin and general health.
Wash your face regularly for effective skin hygiene. This is a must –
- when you get up in the morning
- during bath
- after coming home from public places
- after removing make-up (always remove make-up before sleeping)
- before going to bed at night
Use a mild face wash instead of alkaline or irritant soaps. Some substances in soaps, detergents, and cosmetics can cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis. Certain ingredients like triclosan and triclocarban, sodium laureth and lauryl sulphates (SLES/SLS), some thiazolinones and betaine, benzalkonium, benzethonium, and chloroxylenol can cause skin/eye irritation, and should be avoided in soaps and face washes.
Scrub gently but firmly all over the face, including the corners of the eyes and eyelids.
Do not pick at, burst, or peel pimples/boils.
Avoid touching your face in public places or with unclean hands.
Have a bath at least once every day in cool to lukewarm water (avoid very hot water). It is good to bathe or have a shower when returning from public places, to maintain skin hygiene. Any non-irritant soap may be used.
Make sure to wash private parts and the groin/pubic area well, and apply soap in often missed areas like the nape of the neck, under the breast, arm-pits, behind the ears, and in between fingers and toes.
Dry all parts well with a non-irritant fabric towel. Change towels regularly (at least once in 2 days) and do not share towels.
Clothing and Sweating
Avoid tight clothes and the use of irritant fabric. Change into comfortable clothing on returning home from work.
Diapers should be changed frequently, and immediately when soiled.
In hot and moist weather there is increased sweating, which accumulates in unexposed areas like skin creases, under-arms, chest, feet, and groin. This predisposes to bacterial and fungal skin infections. Clean these areas well during bath.
Use talcum powder to absorb sweat in these unexposed areas. If already suffering from or having a tendency for skin infections in these areas, antiseptic dusting powders may be used regularly.
Natural Skin Care Agents
Certain herbal and natural agents like turmeric, neem, tulsi (Indian basil) and aloe vera have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and soothing properties for the skin and may be used as home-made pastes or part of available soaps, washes, and lotions for skin hygiene and care.
Coconut oil has traditionally been known to have skin benefits like moisturization and reducing skin irritation. Olive oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, shea butters, and almond oil are also known for their beneficial effects, are rich in vitamin E, and are also part of moisturizers, soaps, and body washes.
If the skin is dry and feels itchy, applying a moisturizer especially at night is helpful.
Eat a nutritious diet, low on processed and refined carbohydrates and saturated or trans fats.
Avoid or reduce highly fried food, junk food, and items with high sugar.
Include more green vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the diet.
Drink plenty of water (at least 1.5-2 L/day) and be well hydrated at all times.
Green tea and chamomile tea may be had twice a day.
Fresh air, regular outdoor walks, and well-ventilated homes are important for skin and general health.