5 Most common contributors to skin damage
The skin is the largest and, in my opinion, the most amazing organ in the human body. There are five common enemies of the skin that we must avoid. These five skin damage contributors have one effect: to wreak havoc on your skin!
We have enough problems these days: bad habits, more pollution than ever before, more stress in our lives. People are loading up on junk food, aren’t getting enough sleep, and boy-oh-boy is our skin over exposed to contributors of skin damage! Think about what your skin is exposed to on a regular basis. Car exhaust and other pollutions are enveloping your skin, all the time. Cigarette smoke, damaging rays of the sun, smoke and steam, and even irritating laundry detergents and cleaning supplies can torment your skin on a daily basis. And that’s just environmental. Think about what you personally do that can wreak havoc on your skin: itching, picking, applying cosmetics, body sprays, perfumes and hair sprays that come in contact and don’t get removed from your skin. All of these factors can contribute to skin damage.
The result? Wrinkles, spots, redness, blotchiness and so much more. Let’s not give up the fight. Today I’m going to call out the top 5 culprits that can damage your skin.
We hear so much about free radicals. What are they exactly? Free radicals are unstable molecules or ions with a single unbounded electron that are susceptible to oxygenation. Too complicated? All you need to remember is that free radicals are everywhere, all the time. They can be found in pollution, tobacco, pesticides, certain foods, you name it. Our own bodies can generate free radicals. The bad news is that free radicals age your skin. The good news is they have arch enemies called antioxidant vitamins. You can load up on plenty antioxidant rich foods like veggies and fruits including berries, carrots, green spinach and citrus fruits You can also take a multivitamin and use skin care products that contain Vitamins C & E; both are antioxidants and can help defend your skin against free radical damage.
Unprotected Sun Exposure
We’ve been talking about the importance of avoiding the sun’s damaging rays for what seems like forever now! We know that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin in skin. Collagen and elastin keep your skin looking smooth and plump. I know, most people hate the word ‘plump’ when it comes to their body, but it’s a good thing for the skin…really! The sun’s rays can also affect your skin’s pigmentation, resulting in age spots and uneven skin tone. Of course skin cancer is always on the forefront of our minds and should be reason enough to protect our skin each and every day.
So what to do? It’s easy really—you can avoid exposing your skin to the sun. There are some great options when it comes to protective clothing. A big, fabulous hat is ideal and so are sunglasses. It’s always best to avoid the sun in the middle of the day as this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and can cause the most skin damage. Always wear your daily SPF moisturizer with SPF 30. If you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day for maximum protection. A daytime moisturizer should be part of your daily skin care regimen and for both men and women. This is a step that should never be skipped.
You would have to live in a cave if you haven’t heard that smoking is bad for you. When it comes to skin, smoking can be your worst enemy and the catalyst for fine lines and wrinkles. In fact, the term “smokers face” is an actual term doctors use to describe a person’s face who has suffered side effects due to smoking. The skin of someone who smokes generally isn’t healthy, and frankly it doesn’t look very healthy. It can wrinkle easy, especially around the eyes and upper lip, and can look dried out. Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, and as a result, they get narrower. This isn’t a good thing, as it’s these very same blood vessels that feed the outer layers of your skin. When you smoke, the living layers of your skin are less apt to receive proper amounts of oxygen and nutrients that are required to stay healthy. And then… you guessed it: here come the wrinkles. Smoking also can prevent your skin from snapping back into shape due to the thickening of elastin fibers. The more you smoke, the greater the damage to your skin. For the sake of maintaining a more youthful appearance, and most importantly, for the sake of keeping your lungs strong and healthy, put down those cigarettes at all costs.
Repetitive Facial Movements
Growing up, I used to make a lot of funny faces at my brother because that’s what little sisters do. I would scrunch up my face, wrinkle my nose and stick out my tongue. My mother used to say to me, “You’d better be careful, if you keep making those faces at your brother, one day your face might just stick that way.” Boy was she right! As we age, our skin loses its elasticity and its ability to snap back into its original shape. So we’re actually left with little impressions of our smiles, our frowns, ours scowls, you name it. And unfortunately these impressions are left behind even when we aren’t smiling, laughing or making those silly faces.
So what can you do? Wear moisturizer during the day, with SPF, and apply serum, night cream and vitamin enriched eye products. These products will keep your skin hydrated and flexible. They will also make those little pesky fine lines and wrinkles much less noticeable. If you want to take it a step further, there are countless procedures you can have done including chemical peels, laser resurfacing and injectable fillers. I prefer to take a gentler approach by practicing a good daily skin care regimen every morning and every evening. I eventually stopped making faces at my brother. Well, most of the time anyway.
Have you ever spent the night in a hotel and woken up to one side of your face being red and irritated? I sure have. The reason? Hotels tend to use harsh detergents when they launder the sheets and towels. This is a good thing for hygiene, but not when it comes to your skin. Chemicals that are commonly found in laundry detergent and other cleaning products can be irritating to the skin as can certain synthetic fragrances. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to redness, sensitivity and even breakouts. People who have sensitive skin are the most effected and will likely experience more irritation than others. The best way to help protect your skin is to simply stay away from these common irritants. Carefully select your cleaning products and detergents to help limit exposure. Be conscientious of everything that comes into contact with your skin. If you get a reaction, you’ll know what you need to avoid in the future. Wearing moisturizer can also help, and so can cleansing your skin regularly with special, gentle cleansers.
There are so many things out there in the big, wide world that are common contributors to skin damage. Be conscientious of everything you put in and on your body to ensure you’re doing your absolute best to take care of it. Skin will age naturally and there’s no reason to help speed up that process. Let’s do our best to avoid those things that can cause skin damage.
What affects your skin the most? I would love to hear it.
Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife.
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