Photo from America’s Next Top Model
We’ve talked a lot about do’s and don’ts when it comes to skin care, so I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick and dirty list of the usual suspects that damage your skin and can lead to less than desirable results. The weather is warmer and more skin is showing, avoid these sinful seven, and keep your skin glowing!
1. The Sun: I’ve said it over and over again – there is simply no such thing as a healthy tan. However, most of our sun damage comes from our every day lives, not just trips to the beach. Just because you don’t see a tan line forming, doesn’t mean you’re not taking sun damage. UVA rays that cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots don’t cause sunburn, so we don’t always pay attention to the exposure. I suggest wearing a facial moisturizer with SPF 15-30 daily to protect your skin from those damaging rays. UVA rays are active all year long, and unlike UVBs, can penetrate glass. So, if you’re seeing natural light, wear your SPF! Your skin will thank you as the years go by, and all those 10-minute walks outside add up!
2. Dehydration: An adult body is made of up to 60% water. Water is required for many of the natural biological functions that take place in your body at any give time. You simply cannot operate at full capacity if you aren’t properly hydrated, and that includes having healthy skin. Getting enough water means better functioning metabolism, faster clearing of toxins, and all round better health. You should try to get 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 75 ounces of water a day. It’s also a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables that have high water content as well!
3. Smoking: Smoking causes asphyxiation to your skin. It literally suffocates your skin cells and denies them oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow – causing the skin to appear dull and lifeless. Smoking also produces cancer causing free radicals, and premature wrinkles around the mouth from drawing in. There are a lot of good reasons to quit smoking, and none to start. Talk to your doctor about ways to kick the habit for good if you’re already a smoker. If you’re thinking about starting, please don’t!
4. Lack of Sleep: Your body goes into a natural reparative and restorative phase while you sleep, and that includes healing your skin. You have to give your body a chance to reset and heal from the day, and all of the stresses that are a part of our lives. While sleeping, your body’s production of cancer causing free radicals drops to it’s lowest, and your body can play catch up neutralizing and eliminate them. We all know “You look tired.” isn’t a compliment, so get your beauty rest!
5. Alcohol: A glass of red wine with dinner can be good for you, but like everything, moderation is key. Alcohol dehydrates your body, and it can also exacerbate the problems of sensitive skin. Too much alcohol can also result in a condition known as couperose, where weakened capillaries are unable to return to their normal size once dilated, and the skin retains a permanent pink tinge.
6. Poor Diet: Avoid CRAP: Caffeine, Refined foods, Alcohol and Artificial sweeteners, and Processed foods are not your friends. Everything you eat affects your whole body, from the inside out. Your skin is your largest organ, and how you nourish it shows. If you starve, suffocate, or deny its needs long enough your skin could end up looking older, sallow, dull, and even cause medical problems like acne or eczema. For optimal skin health from the inside out, most experts agree a balanced, healthy diet goes a long way.
7. Stress: Stress dehydrates skin. Most of us have probably noticed that we have more skin problems when we are under stress. This happens because the human body developed its stress management systems back when our stressors were things like being eaten by saber toothed tigers or trampled by wooly mammoths. Unfortunately, your body can’t tell the difference between a deadline at work or whether you’re about to become dinner for Tigger, but it does know you’re stressed so it assumes your life is being threatened. When this happens, your body helps you out by going into a “vital organ protection mode,” which means it chooses to re-route hydration and nutrients from some less critical organs to the organs that will keep you alive. The first organ that gets cut off is your skin. It makes sense; it’s your largest organ, takes up a lot of resources, and unfortunately beautiful glowing skin isn’t on the list of things that keep you breathing. So take a deep breath, and relax.
Hope this little cheat sheet of things to avoid helps you keep your skin in top-notch shape!
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See you next Sunday!