There are many factors that affect our skin and its appearance. If we know what these factors are we can help our skin age more beautifully and look its best at any age. While it is a constant war to protect our skin from all its enemies it is a battle worth fighting. The list may seem long but most of these things can become habit for you. Although others may take some time and or a professional such as a vitamin deficiency. I see a lot of misleading information out there on what does and doesn’t affect our skin. All of these things I’m about to share with you can most certainly determine the way our skin looks.
SUN DAMAGE – We know we need to protect our skin from the sun, no excuses. While it’s wonderful to enjoy the sunshine we need to make it a habit to protect our skin. I keep sunscreen by my front door so if I’m in a hurry I remember to put it on. Remember to use sunscreen even in the winter months!
CLIMATE – Extreme climates can certainly cause skin problems. When it’s cold outside the humidity is low and can make your skin dry. Be sure to moisturize your skin regularly. You can also sleep with a humidifier but make sure to keep it clean! Also, try to avoid really hot showers. Extreme heat and humidity can be acne triggers for some people. Proper washing and protecting the skin are best to help with this. Even the cold weather can cause break outs when your skin is stressed.
POLLUTANTS – Protecting are skin from pollutants is a very real thing. Free radicals damage our skin cells causing wrinkles, dehydration, loss of collagen and the list goes on. Basically they age you with vengeance. Skin care products rich in antioxidants is the best way to protect our skin, they help neutralize free radicals. Of course sunscreen again is playing a very important role in keeping our skin safe as well.
PHOTOSENSITIVITY – Exogenous photodermatoses is when a phototoxic or photoallergic reaction is caused by an external photosensitiser. (Photosensitivity to the sun from medications and or skin care products.) The best way to protect your skin from photosensitizing ingredients is by being aware of what you are putting on your face and or in your body. Always read warning labels and instructions clearly so you know if these things can make your skin sensitive to the sun. Some of these ingredients are AHA’s, BHA’s, Retin-A, and some essential oils. Photosensitivity is not universal but to be safe always wear sunscreen and avoid spending long amounts of time in the sun.
MISUSE OF PRODUCTS – Unfortunately I see this one the most often. New clients over exfoliating their skin or using the wrong products that are to strong for them. Please be very mindful when putting products on your face. Some ingredients don’t mix well and people are overzealous for perfect skin they ruin it. Over exfoliating can cause redness, rashes, and even scarring to the face. Harsh products can cause irritation, inflammation and stress the skin. These things will cause your skin to prematurely age and no one wants that.
POOR MAINTENANCE – Not removing your makeup is not doing you any favors! It can cause a long list of problems for your skin such as acne, large pores, dull skin, dryness, as well as aging you. Not washing your skin is just creating a party on your face for pollutants. You can have a nice and easy skin care routine that doesn’t break the bank or take a large amounts of time everyday. There are staples that everyone needs to their skincare routine.
STRESS – Oh, yes the stress is very real! Stress does a number on our skin and if anyone tells you different they are wrong. Stress can worsen skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Long term stress can cause lines on our face as well as decreasing skin elasticity. Our bodies release chemicals which cause inflammation, when we are stressed are bodies go into fight or flight response. This inflammation causes flare ups on our skin. To help with this try to rest and eat well, get exercise, drink plenty of water, meditate and make time for yourself. If you need seek professional advise.
DEHYDRATION – I’m sure you have heard a million times how important drinking water is. It is something that we need to keep our skin and body healthy. There is a difference between dehydrated skin and dry skin though. It can be hard to tell the difference as both can appear dull and dry but there are differences. Dry skin is a skin type and lacks oil while dehydrated skin is a skin condition and lacks water. Dehydrated skin can be itchy, dry, tight, cause dark circles around the eyes, inflammation, fine lines, and be dull like in appearance. All skin types can become dehydrated even oily skin. To remedy this drink plenty of water if you don’t like water try adding a cucumber or mint to it to add some flavor. Once you start drinking water it becomes habit and you will crave it. Using a humidifier in your room (keep clean) can help but drinking water is a must! Also get a good skin care regimen to help aid with the healing of this condition.
ALCOHOL / CAFFEINE – Alcohol and caffeine are no friends of your skin. They both dehydrate you and we went over all the things that does to your skin. They both cause inflammation to your skin and premature aging. Don’t get me wrong I love my coffee but I have one a day or opt for decaf. Drinking alcohol can also cause broken capillaries, redness, and breakouts. If you choose to have a drink or a coffee be sure to drink plenty of water. Remember everything in moderation. Always remember to replenish what you have taken away from your body. There are some amazing before and after photos online of people and their skin once they have quit drinking.
SMOKING – Smoking causes premature aging it causes lines around the lips and eye area. Nicotine makes your wounds take longer to heal which can cause scarring. If that’s not enough smoking can cause skin cancer along with a long list of other cancers. Quitting smoking will better your overall health, brighten your eyes, give you a much better complexion, and tighten your skin. The list goes on and on.
IMPROPER NUTRITION – This one is quite controversial as experts argue over whether our diet can affect our skin but I believe our outside is a reflection of our inside. Even if you don’t agree with this one having a proper diet is not going to hurt you by any means. There are foods that cause inflammation and foods rich in antioxidants both play good and bad roles when it comes to our skin. If you have food sensitivities this can most certainly come out through your skin as well. When you think about it it’s no different than our body needing water for supple hydrated skin.
LACK OF EXERCISE / SLEEP – Exercising helps us sleep better, reduces stress, and increases blood circulation which delivers nutrients and oxygen to your skin. You can start to see a connection between all of these, stress causes problems to our skin, which we talked about earlier so this can be reduced by exercising. Exercising helps us sleep better which we need because a lack of sleep causes your body to make more stress hormones. Another connection! Not getting enough sleep worsens skin conditions and speeds up the aging process. Beauty sleep is a very real thing!
VITAMIN DEFICIENCY – There are many vitamins than aide in our skins health. So with a vitamin deficiency we can certainly understand why this would affect us. I recently have found out I had a b-12 deficiency and it pretty much explained every ailment I had been having. There are many signs your body gives you when it’s lacking a vitamin. This is not something you should self diagnosis though you will need a professional to find the deficiency and make sure you are getting proper amounts of the vitamin.
GLYCATION – Glycation is the binding of sugars to proteins resulting in damaged nonfunctioning structures (AGE’s). This causes the skin to age causing wrinkles and age spots. When our blood sugar is continuously elevated it can attach to collagen. This then makes the skin stiff and sag. A healthy low sugar diet will help with this.
HORMONES / MENOPAUSE – Menopause is when you could begin to see the damage that the sun has done to you or even earlier. A lot of women begin to see increased dryness to their skin along with quicker depletion of collagen and wrinkles. Some woman even begin to experience acne. As for hormones, different hormones can affect the skin differently. Remember when we talked about the stress hormone. Good nutrition, exercise, and proper sleep can help balance hormones. Obviously sometimes a professional will be needed such as if you have a thyroid imbalance.
MEDICATIONS / DRUGS – Some medications can have side effects on our skin. They can cause but not limited to hives, rashes, blisters, legions, and acne. If a doctor has prescribed you medication and you are seeing such side effects it is important to notify your doctor immediately because you could be having an allergic reaction. As for illegal drugs they can wreak havoc on your body and lead to death. These drugs do some serious damage to our skin. They can cause ulcers, scabs, sores, lesions, and honestly the list goes on and on. Some drugs are cut with foreign substances that can do horrible things to your body. Living a healthy lifestyle and refraining from drug abuse is the best way to keep your skin and body healthy.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS / GENETICS – There are many skin disorders and medical conditions that can show up on our skin. They can vary greatly. Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and actinic keratosis to name a few, would best be treated by a professional. Some are treatable some are permanent. Some conditions you are predisposed to while others can be caused. Most skin conditions are minor and others may be more serious. The best way to help with this is have a professional keep you on a good skin care regimen, protect your skin, and go for regular check ups with your dermatologist.