“Skin reflects of our health.” We are all familiar with this famous proverb, yet we do lots of things in our daily life, which have a big impact on our skin such as premature wrinkling, loss of suppleness and skin discolouration.
Agreed, there are some factors such as natural ageing, which are beyond our control but many a time it is our lifestyle and unhealthy habits that cause premature changes in skin.
Occasionally, it is even the excess of good habits such as skin exfoliation or excessive use of anti-ageing creams, which do more harm than good.
However, it’s never too late to recognize these habits and stop them to be in the pink of health and lead a healthier and happier life.
1. Your Skin is Over Exposed to Sun’s Rays:
Our skin needs daily sun exposure for about half an hour for its dose of vitamin D, to keep our bones and skin healthy.
Overexposure to the sun’s rays leads to unappealing changes such as dark spots, dryness and freckles, premature ageing, skin pigmentation and even skin cancer.
The free radicals produced by the UV rays damage the DNA in skin cells and also destroy the collagen and elastin fibres, which form the framework of healthy skin.
You can protect your skin by using an umbrella, staying in the shade, covering up with clothing, and using broad-spectrum sunscreen [minimum SPF 30] which is water-resistant.
You should apply sunscreen to all portions of the skin that are not covered by clothing. Also, don’t forget to wear sunglasses as they will keep you from squinting in the glare of the sun.
2. You Excessively Exfoliate Your Skin:
For normal skin exfoliating or gently scrubbing the skin once or twice a week is recommended.
This removes the dead layers of the skin and imparts a healthy glow to the skin. However, exfoliating too frequently breaks down the newer skin causing an imbalance in the moisture levels.
Scaling and flaking of the skin is the first sign of this imbalance. Later on, skin becomes blotchy, more sensitive and inflamed, thus speeding up the ageing process.
Always use a gentle moisturizer after exfoliation in order to seal the pores and maintain the skin barrier. Use soft brushes and mild exfoliation scrubs.
To soothe skin dryness after exfoliation, it is best to use fragrance-free lotions and creams with moisturizers like glycerin, butters like cocoa and shea which are absorbed quickly and leave your skin non-greasy and soft.
3. You Take Long Hot Showers and Baths:
Bathing in water in temperatures above 39C (102F) can inflame the skin, cause dryness, redness, itching, and even peeling [similar to sunburn].
Bathing with hot water can disrupt the skin’s natural balance of moisture, robbing it off the natural oils, fats, and proteins that keep the skin healthy.
Dry skin can increase your chances of infection and actually lead to an overproduction of oils in an effort to compensate for the lack of moisture.
Use water temperature close to normal body temperature (37C/98.6F) to bathe as the loss of moisture will be less compared to using hot water.
Pat skin dry. The best time to moisturize your body is after a bath, while your skin is still moist.
4. You Smoke:
Nicotine reduces blood flow to your skin, which means it does not get enough oxygen and nutrients.
Tobacco damages the collagen and elastin proteins that give your skin structure. Smoking greatly speeds up skin ageing. A smoker’s skin is thin, dull, greyish, more wrinkled.
Years of puckering the lips to hold a cigarette or squinting of the eyes to keep out smoke causes and deepens creases around mouth and eyes.
Quit smoking to prevent further damage to the skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A and C can reduce skin damage.
Cinnamon and green tea has shown to reduce the nicotine cravings.
5. You Eat Lot of Sugary Foods:
Diets containing lots of simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, sweets, white bread, pasta and soda, speed up the ageing process.
They cause insulin levels to spike, which leads to inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down the supporting skin structures collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.
Eating loads of sugar may also result in insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
Consume more green leafy vegetables, peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, berries which have antioxidants and nutrients that fight wrinkle-causing free radicals.
Foods containing vitamin E [oats, brown bread, wheat germ, nuts], and Omega-3-fatty acids [flax seeds, fish, sunflower seeds and olive oil] slow the ageing process.
Regular intake of green tea and ginger has shown marked anti-ageing properties.