Often starting during teenage years, skin problems can evolve and become a perpetual nuisance. In fact, according to the latest research conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology, which is the leading organization in the field, as many as 85 million Americans deal with skin diseases.
Although their conditions include quite a few incurable and untreatable conditions, there are still millions of patients who can significantly improve their skin health. To do so, though, they must adhere to a few vital lifestyle tips.
Drink Enough Water
Dr. Lydia Klufas, a dermatologist who has been treating patients for 25 years, reminds people that 60% of their body consists of water. Accordingly, consuming enough water each day is one of the most important steps towards maintaining skin health. A minimum of 6-8 cups of water a day is recommended. Good hydration further also helps the body’s digestive system by increasing urination and the elimination of toxins.
Daily Sunscreen – Rain, Shine, Sleet or Snow
Dr. Klufas believes the best thing you can do for your skin “in your 40’s is to wear sunscreen in your 20’s.” Many of us have spent our lives in the sun. The sun damage we see now is not from this past summer’s exposure, but from the cumulative effects of sun 20, 30, 40 years ago.
Wrinkles, brown spots, broken blood vessels and skin cancers are the result of years of exposure. Although the damage to our collagen and cellular DNA has been done, our immune system and skin cells are constantly working hard to repair the damage.
Unfortunately, we are regularly being bombarded by ultraviolet rays – while outdoors, in the car, and even from the fluorescent bulbs in offices which emit a small amount of ultraviolet A radiation. You can easily get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
Thus, make it a habit every day to apply a moisturizer with sunscreen to your face of at least an SPF 50. And don’t forget to apply it to your neck and chest as well. One of my favorite easy to find products is Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense daily moisturizer with broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 50 with helioplex.
And for those who participate in outdoor sports or swimming, switch to a mineral-based sunscreen, such as zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which are less likely to sting the eyes if sweating or under water.
Roughly 14% of Americans who smoke will see skin issues related to their habit. Repetitive exposure to nicotine, whether it is from smoking cigarettes or vaping, reduces the skin’s elasticity by breaking down collagen and decreasing its production in the human body.
Nicotine also constricts blood vessels, decreasing blood flow and oxygen to the skin. This interferes with the skin’s ability to repair itself and can delay healing, especially after trauma or surgery.
Not only does smoking make the skin appear more sallow, but the fingers and nails of smokers often have a yellowish discoloration from their tobacco-based habit. Additionally, long-term smoking leads to wrinkles, such as the classic “smoker’s lines” which result from on-going mouth movements and regularly pursed lips.
Moisturize to Wet Skin
Obviously, consistent moisturizing with high-quality cosmetics will improve the skin’s elasticity and minimize potential cracking. It will also give one a natural radiance that may be impossible to achieve through nutrition.
The best time to moisturize is when the skin is still “sopping, dripping” wet, such as immediately after a bath or shower. When the skin is well-hydrated it is able to absorb moisturizers or creams 5 times better than when applied to dry skin. Additionally, the cream is sealing in the moisture, giving you supple skin throughout the day.
Consume Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Healthy Fats
Dr. Lydia Klufas advises people to eat a diet rich with vitamins, minerals, and healthy macronutrients, and antioxidants. Some examples include the following:
- Tomatoes – research shows they can prevent UV-related diseases, the likes of which include skin ca.
- Omega oil – packed with fatty acids, omega oil is perfect for improving the signs of aging such as fine wrinkles.
- Green tea – helps the skin by releasing anti-inflammatory agents that preserve collagen, which delays the onset of wrinkles.
Some honorable mentions include soy, kale, and cocoa.
Finally, keeping track of calories will help avoid over-eating. When someone consumes high-calorie meals, they generally accumulate unneeded nutrients, especially fats. A highly glycemic diet also tends to adversely affect the skin, often leading to breakouts.
Anything that puts a stressor on your system will be reflected in your skin. Physical, mental and emotional stress all play a role. The fact that some of the first wrinkles appear around your eyes is a great testament to how facial expressions increase the risk of skin aging, whether it’s from squinting or smiling.
Since stress usually leads to anger, it is not uncommon to see anxious people’s faces display these strong emotions in their foreheads. Eventually these lines become permanently etched. Stress also tends to bring a sudden boost in both adrenaline and cortisol levels.
This often leads to pimples and subsequent pigmentary scars. If someone is chronically stressed out, their body suffers. The skin is a window to your inner health. Given that the skin is the body’s largest organ, it is fair to assume that there will be many visible consequences, including wrinkles, flushing and pimples when stressed, with some of these signs becoming permanent.
Minimize Alcohol Intake
As per the research conducted by the British Journal of Dermatology, alcohol intake has a direct impact on the odds of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. People who drink on a daily basis will expose themselves to a higher risk of skin cancer and often see flares in rosacea and increased broken blood vessels.
Alcohol is a diuretic and will deplete your skin and body of water. Eliminating or minimizing your intake of alcohol will protect the body and help your skin achieve its natural glow.
We all know that if we don’t get enough sleep our skin looks saggy and washed out. Sleeping between seven and nine hours per day is considered the optimal level of rest.
Of course, Dr. Lydia Klufas understands that many individuals simply do not have the time to achieve this. One of the ways to overcome the issue is to take regular naps.
And when you do get a chance to rest, try sleeping on your back to minimize the development of facial wrinkles that can occur with years of pressure on the sides of your face.
These are just a few basic tips to help you achieve healthy and radiant skin!