With so many different types of skin in the world, it would be impossible to write a skin-care prescription for everyone. However, there are some cardinal rules for keeping your skin healthy and spotting potential problems.

DO Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Most of us lather on the SPF when we're at the beach, but damaging UV rays can harm your skin even when you're just walking around.  Choose makeup or moisturizer with SPF protection, and be sure to layer on SPF 15 for everyday use. And use something more powerful when you'll be out in the sun for an extended period of time.

DO check your moles regularly.

A change in a mole can indicate melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that's 99 percent curable when caught early. Ask a doctor to examine any mole you've noticed has changed shape, color, evenness, or size.

DO moisturize your face and body, especially at night.

Unless your skin is very oily, you should apply body and face lotion on a regular basis. Applying it to damp skin heightens its effectiveness. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends, "For day, wear sunscreen and consider using products containing antioxidants, as they also have sun-protection properties. At night, consider using products containing retinoids, peptides, or growth factors for their repair properties."

DO eat foods rich in antioxidants and Omega-3s fatty acids.

No matter what kind of supplements you take, nothing beats getting nutrients through food. A diet rich in foods such as blueberries, beans, artichokes, fish, and walnuts will help combat breakouts, improve blood circulation to your skin, and help it absorb and retain moisture.

DO treat blemishes, but DON'T use alcohol-based toners.

Before you attempt to pop a pimple (a big don't that can aggravate the problem and cause scarring), try an ointment with lactic acid for the under-the-skin pimples that never seem to go away. For small pimples, try a product with benzyl peroxide.

DON'T use a tanning bed.

The tanning bed industry will tell you that they're safer than the sun, but the World Health Organization recently put tanning beds in the same cancer-risk category as asbestos and tobacco.

DON'T smoke.

As little as 10 years of smoking will age your skin by reducing blood circulation, creasing your skin into unnatural expressions, and dehydrating it.

DON'T overdo it on products.

Your skin can't absorb more than three products at a time, so choose a moisturizer that contains a variety of cosmecuticals and botanicals rather than piling several on. Layering could also lead to an allergic reaction (along with an empty wallet).

DON'T take long showers.

Enjoying a 5-10 minute shower once a day will help hydrate the skin, but stay in too long and you'll dry it out. Keep the door closed (and the humidity in) and set the water temperature to warm, not hot.

DON'T drink too much caffeine (but apply it topically).

Too much caffeine can dehydrate you, therefore drying out your skin. But it can be great for your skin when you apply a lotion that contains it.




The Mayo Clinic


The American Academy of Dermatology


Aging Skin Net (From the AAD)