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Caring for your skin

sunscreen; sorbolene; UV; ultra violet; skin; rays; sun; moisturisers; moisture; toners; cleansers; make-up; wash; sebum; cold cream; lotion;


body image
As our skin is what the world sees of us, we all want our skin to look good.

If your skin is clear and healthy looking, it makes you feel good about yourself.


So how do you get great looking skin?

  • Well, it helps if your parents have great skin, because you usually inherit their skin type.
  • If your parents have dry, patchy skin, or oily, problem skin, then don't give up and say, "What's the use?" There are some things you can do to make sure your skin looks its best.
  • Not all movie stars and models have fantastic skin. Photographers are clever at covering up 'problem' skin after they have taken the photos.
  • Male and female stars and models wear thick make-up to make their skin look better.
  • So it's not the end of the world if your skin is less than perfect - so is the skin of most people.

body imageKeeping your skin clean is a big part of keeping it healthy and looking good.

When you wash your skin, some of the dead cells are rubbed off and that allows new cells to rise to the surface to take their place. Excess oil and dirt are also washed off.

How to wash your skin

  • Wash your body all over once a day. Use a mild soap and warm water. If soap makes you feel itchy you could try a sorbolene cream.  It isn't very expensive and it lasts a long time, because you don't need very much.
  • Rinse the soap off, as it could irritate your skin.
  • Wash your face using a face cloth and soap or sorbolene, and then rinse with cool water. Twice a day is enough, as too much cleansing can damage your skin.
  • Do not scrub violently. Rubbing hard damages the skin.
  • Your body produces its own moisturiser, an oil called sebum, which forms a protective layer over your skin. If you wash too much of this off, your skin is likely to feel dry and itchy.

Protect your skin against the sun

If you are going to be outside, particularly in the sun, then you should wear sunscreen in summer.

If you live in Australia you should wear sunscreen all year round, as the sun light is very strong.

  • sunburnUse a factor 30+ sunscreen. As your skin is young and tender it will burn quickly on sunny days when the Ultra Violet (UV) readings are high.
    • In Australia the UV readings are often part of the weather reports on the news service.
    • The newsreader may also tell you how long you can be in the sun before you get sunburnt.
  • Wear a hat to protect your face. A wide brimmed hat is best, as it will protect your ears and neck as well.
  • Wear a long sleeved shirt of sun resistant material to protect your body.
  • Stay in the shade whenever you are able.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Read the instructions on your sunscreen and reapply it often. Don't forget the backs of your hands, the back of your ears and neck, and the tops of your feet if you are wearing sandals or thongs.

Have a look at our topic Sunburn to find out more.

If you are starting to use make-up

People who sell beauty products tell us that we need to cleanse, tone and moisturise in order to protect our skin. Beauty products are expensive, so how can you protect your skin without spending a fortune?

Cleaning your skin removes dead cells and extra oil. This is the most important job you can do for your skin.

You can use cleansers, but soap and water works as well for most people, even when removing make-up. Waterproof make-up and eye make-up will come off with a cheap cold cream.

These lotions are alcohol-based. They remove oils from the skin's surface and make your skin feel tight and clean. Unless you really like that feeling, soap and water also remove extra oil from your skin and are a lot cheaper.

Splash your face with cold water when you have washed it and your skin will feel clean and refreshed.

Using moisturisers during the day will make your skin feel smooth and soft, because they make a smooth layer over the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Some people find that their skin feels more comfortable if they use a moisturiser, but most people do not need them.

If you wash your face too often your skin may feel dry so cut down on how often you wash it.

body imageIf you live in a hot place, especially Australia, you should be wearing sunscreen during the day. (Even your pets may need some on their noses and ears.)
skin creams

If you also want to wear makeup with the sunscreen, you can buy a cheap tinted make-up, which has a factor 30+ sunscreen in it, from most supermarkets.

If you are very fair skinned or are a new arrival in Australia you need to learn what this slogan means 'Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide'.

Have a look at the topic Sunburn for more ideas about protecting your skin.

What else should you do?

  • Remember to drink lots of water - your skin loves it.
  • Regular exercise is good for your skin.
  • Eat healthily so that your skin gets the vitamins and minerals it needs to carry out all the jobs it has to do.
  • Have fun! A happy smiling face always looks great (and if you start frown lines when you're young how grumpy will you look when you're older?)

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate
"Get into the habit of washing yourself in the morning or before you go to bed at night.  Don't forget to clean your teeth and brush your hair too.  Looking and feeling clean makes you feel good and look good".


Mum said to have a shower,
And wash my hair well too.
I've been in here for ages
I think that I will do.
Uh, oh, the towel's dirty.
Maybe I really oughta,
Next time I take a shower,
Stand under the water


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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