`Seven Skin Sins` - Stress, Sun, Pollution, Smoking, Sleep, Alcohol and Diet

Posted on the 02 October 2013 at 12:17

Okay, so what are the biggest problems our skin has to contend with? From late nights on the town to long commutes with no fresh air, your lifestyle could be causing your skin more damage than you realise…

Here are our top seven skin issues:


No.1 – Stress 

Although our modern lifestyles seem to involve stress as being ‘normal’ it can take its toll on us, both inside and out! Stress can affect all sorts…it can minimise good blood circulation and cell renewal, leaving your skin dull and lifeless, and more worryingly for some, stress can induce or flare up some skin conditions such as acne or rosacea.

Damage Limitation: Exercise for your health, don’t make it a chore, make it part of your life; exercise is the best thing to get your blood circulating and oxygenate your whole body including your skin (and it can be free!) and that’s just one benefit of exercise…it also clears your mind, helps you sleep better… got your trainers on yet?


No.2 – The Sun

The sun is the source of energy that sustains life, but accumulated exposure without adequate protection can have negative consequences on the skin. The main types of rays that damage our skin are UVA, UVB, and recent studies show now indicate perhaps Infrared rays (IR) too, all of which have the ability to penetrate into the skin and cause damage. On the surface, this damage manifests as the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, sagging and loss of density, and an un-even looking skin tone; however beneath the skin’s surface there is additional damage.

Damage Limitation:   To adequately help to protect skin from the damaging effects of the sun, sun protection needs to be a part of an everyday skincare routine. Options include ingredients that help to reflect the UV light, or ingredients that help to absorb UV light, or a combination of both. It is also important to understand if the sun protection is deemed “broad spectrum”. This indicates a level of protection from both UVA and UVB rays; whereas SPF (sun protection factor) only indicates the length of time one is protected from the UVB rays. For ultimate protection include an anti-oxidant to your morning routine too (a vital step for anyone who is serious about their skin health).


No.3 – Pollution

Where as sun-damage is fairly well known, information about the damage of our pollution-ridden streets is limited.  But failing to protect our skin from environmental toxins such as pollution and bacteria is a big cause of premature ageing.  Environmental assaults generate free radicals in the body, damaging the skin’s DNA, causing pigmentation, wrinkles and inflammation, plus airborne germs mix with the skin’s natural oils to clog the pores and trigger acne and breakouts.

Damage Limitation: Firstly keep your skin clean, this means not going to bed with your make-up on and washing your skin after travelling on the underground etc.  Secondly, by using a good antioxidant daily to help neutralise free radicals and protect the skin.  For example: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic® a revolutionary antioxidant combination that delivers advanced protection against photoageing by neutralising free radicals, boosting collagen synthesis, and providing unmatched antioxidant protection.


No.4 - Smoking

Beyond its known links to cancer, lung and heart disease, smoking is now known to be associated with premature skin ageing and delayed wound healing, as well as a number of skin disorders, particularly psoriasis. Smoking can accelerate the skin ageing process in the skin, it is not certain exactly how smoking causes early ageing of the facial skin, however theories include:

  • Heat from the cigarette directly burning the skin;
  • Changes in the elastic fibres of the skin;
  • Narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) which reduces blood supply to the skin and can cause changes in skin elastic fibres and loss of collagen;
  • Reducing Vitamin A levels and moisture of the skin.

Damage Limitation:  This might sound harsh but…try to give up if you smoke and limit your time surrounded by smokers, there’s a lot to be said for passive smoking, and not just for skin health. Antioxidants as mentioned above will also help with protection from smoke.


No.5 – Lack of sleep 

The fact is our skin and body renews and regenerates whilst we sleep.  We are all guilty of depriving ourselves of sleep; whether we work long hours, party hard or are up with young children they can all take a toll on our health, and our skin. Lack of sleep actually puts stress on our skin…hormones spiral out of control and can cause inflammatory problems like acne and rosacea.

Damage Limitation:  There is help at hand, products containing Vitamin A (retinol) can be used at night. They increase cell turnover and collagen production, so you get a smoother, brighter surface when you wake. For example, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 is a refining night cream which will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and an uneven looking skin tone OR Obagi’s Nu-Derm Exfoderm – For Normal to Dry Skin, a plant acid (phytic acid) that removes old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter complexion.


No.6 – Alcohol

A glass of wine here, a quick pint there, the units can quickly add up.  Not only can your head suffer the consequences but your skin becomes very dehydrated too. Dull, dehydrated skin leads to a slow sluggish skin - collagen production and cell renewal will slow down, allowing lines to appear which get worse and deeper over time. Alcohol also dilates the blood vessels in the skin, so it can promote puffiness around the eyes and may also trigger rosacea.

Damage Limitation:  Obviously drinking less alcohol will help, but increasing your plain water intake will also benefit. Use a nourishing moisturiser over night to further help lessen the loss of moisture, for example SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5, a gel/lotion enriched with vitamin B5, known to help with tissue repair in the skin. Hydrating B5 replenishes the nutrients the skin needs to feel smooth and appear younger looking. This moisture-enhancing serum contains hyaluronic acid, the body’s natural hydrator, to bind moisture to the skin. 


No.7 – Bad diet

We all know that eating the right foods helps keep you healthy. Here’s more good news: a healthy diet can also make you look and feel young. It may even slow the ageing process!

Damage limitation: Colourful fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in colourful vegetables and fruits, such as leafy greens, deep red tomatoes, blueberries, and carrots, help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. You cannot feel it when skin-cells are damaged or dying, but you can see it in the signs of ageing. Eating foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains also protects against many chronic conditions that could limit your life, including diabetes and heart disease. These foods help keep your blood vessels in top shape. That’s important for your heart, and for every organ of your body, including your skin.

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