Not happy with how your skin looks? It maybe that the lifestyle you are leading is causing your skin not to look its best. Besides how your skin makes you look and feel about yourself, skin is important as part of your immune system. This makes it extra important to take good care of it.
Lifestyle Choices that Affect Skin
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, the sun, altitude conditions, the type of environment you spend time in, and weather can all have an effect on skin. Stress, drinking alcohol, smoking, and diet can also play a role in how healthy your skin is. According to Boca Raton dermatologist Laura E. Skellchock, MD, many of these conditions can lead to skin redness, spidery blood vessels and bumps on the face that could be rosacea, especially as you get older. Assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, Gary Goldenberg, MD, also warns that women over 40 should watch for red, dry, flaky spots on the face that are a result of damage from the sun and can be cancer spots. These actinic keratosis can be removed by a doctor as can seborrheic keratosis, found most commonly on back and chest and look like growths that are yellowish-brownish, and skin tags. These last two are not usually dangerous like the first type, but are also not attractive. It is estimated that around 90% of the damage our skin undergoes comes from exposure to the sun. Then of course there’s the toll aging has on the skin. Along with age comes a decrease in estrogen production, a slowing down in the production and shedding of skin cells, and often hypothyroidism resulting in skin becoming, drier, and itchy. Varicose veins are also often a problem for women over the age of 50 and even more so for women who spend a lot of time on their feet. Aging also leads to the usual wrinkling and sagging of skin because we don’t produce as much elastin. Even just the way you clean your skin every day or shave can negatively affect it. If your lifestyle involves a lot of traveling you may be adding extra challenges for your skin. The recirculated air in planes can leave your skin dry and your destination could too if it is one that has an environment of low humidity, dry air, or heavy pollution. Add to all these skin challenges the stress of everyday living that we all face and our skin certainly does have a lot to overcome in staying healthy and beautiful.
Skin Care Tips
To have beautiful skin that is healthy, you may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and to your diet. Here are some tips that can help.
Antioxidants – New York City dermatologist, Bobby Buka, MD, recommends using products with feverfew and licorice root for skincare as they have antioxidants to help fight off damaging UV rays. I also like this antioxidant lotion that is fortified with high-performance levels of WGP (whole glucan particle) beta glucan, AFA bluegreen algae, and aloe vera, as well as vitamins A, C, and E and other key ingredients that nourish your skin while leaving it soft without feeling oily. As well as nourishing your skin from the outside with antioxidant power, you can help your skin from the inside by adding antioxidant foods to your diet. Foods for healthy skin include those that have vitamin C like sweet potatoes, kiwi, Bell pepper, oranges, strawberries and broccoli, vitamin E like nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds, olives, asparagus, and eggs and selenium like oysters, clams, crab, sardine and fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes. For beautiful skin you also want to lay off the fatty foods and simple carbs. There is research though that shows adding complex carbs and good lean proteins to the diet can also help keep skin clear and healthy. Basically if you stick to a diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats you’ll not only have healthier, younger looking skin, but be healthier in general. You can get an extra antioxidant boost from this bluegreen algae supplement that provides lots of nutrition deemed good for skin and to support stem cell growth which helps the body repair damaged cells. Beta glucan along with a mix of mushrooms such as found in this immune support algae supplement also can give you a boost of nutrition to protect and nourish skin as well as your entire immune system.
Move It – Besides exercise being good for you generally, it has benefits for your skin by improving circulation, increasing oxygen flow and helping your skin get the nutrients it needs. This can help increase your collagen production to prevent wrinkling skin and even help with varicose veins which can point to poor circulation and can in some cases lead to a blood clot. For varicose veins also don’t sit cross-legged for long periods of time. If you do a lot of sitting type work, keep your feet both on the floor and get up and walk around periodically.
Protection From the Sun – Since UV rays from the sun are so damaging to skin cells, wearing sunscreen lotion is especially important. Even on a cloudy day sunscreen can be helpful as there can still be exposure to UV rays. Look for a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and 30 is even better. Many experts recommend using one that has zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone and that you put it on every 2 hours. Too much sun can cause your skin to wrinkle, have age spots, and can lead to skin cancer. When outside for long periods of time you can also get protection by wearing a hat and long sleeved clothing and long pants and taking breaks in shade. When washing clothes, there are also additives that can add UV protection to clothing.
Careful With Your Cleaning – Cleansing too much, using harsh soaps, and hot water can all strip your skin of its natural oils. A good skincare program includes using warm water and possibly a gentle, non-drying cleanser to wash away pollutants you’ve been exposed to throughout the day, removing dead skin cells with an exfoliate and moisturizing skin to hydrate it. When showering or bathing use warm water instead of hot and avoid long lingering showers or baths. Keep some of the moisture from your shower or bath working to hydrate skin by patting your skin gently with a towel and then applying a moisturizer. There are moisturizing lotions that also have sunscreen in them to give you added protection from the sun. Be sure to also shower and/or wash your face after exercise to wash off salty sweat. Remember to be good to your skin when shaving too by protecting it with shaving cream and using a sharp razor.
Get Your Beauty Rest – If you aren’t getting enough good quality sleep, it will be reflected on your face. Under your eyes can become puffy and have dark circles and your skin can appear pale. The solution is of course to make sure you get between seven and eight hours of good uninterrupted sleep. Even when you are getting sleep, your skin can be affected by the way your sleep though. Wrinkles can occur from sleeping in the same position against the pillow all the time and bags under the eyes can be made worse by sleeping on the stomach. If bags are a problem for you, try sleeping on your back instead.
Get a Grip on Stress – Stress takes its toll on your health in general, but also can negatively affect your skin. Finding a way to deal with stress is important for a healthy body and healthy mind as well as healthy skin. Try a variety of activities out until you find one that will help you get some relaxation and enjoyment to counteract your stress level. Travel can be especially stressful these days, so if you do a lot of traveling, be sure to drink lots of water, avoid drinking coffee and alcohol, don’t wear make-up if you are flying, and take moisturizing lotion with you to use before boarding a plane, during and at the end of the flight.
The type of lifestyle activities you engage in can definitely affect your skin. Just the stress of everyday living, the weather, and type of environment you live in can make a difference in how healthy your skin is. If you are a traveler, outdoor person, drink alcohol or smoke, then you are giving your skin some extra challenges. Keeping in mind the tips presented here, take a look at the challenges your skin is facing and take steps to make the changes that you can to have heathier, more beautiful skin.