Misc, Skin care

Harmful Factors that Our Skin Is Exposed To

This is important skin care information that you must read. See if you are exposing your skin to any of these harmful factors.

How does skin age? Skin ages both intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsically means that within each of our cells’ DNA code is a plan for aging. We cannot change what is written in our cells. However, we can help protect against extrinsic factors and the formation of free radicals.

Skin Care Information: What are Free Radicals?

Free radicals start as healthy molecules but become damaged. As a healthy molecule they have two electrons. This is their happy stable state.  Once they are damaged they lose an electron and become unstable. They search for another electron by stealing one from another molecule. This sets off a chain reaction. Cells become damaged in this process and inflammation occurs. This whole process is known as oxidative stress.

Extrinsic Factors

Alcohol. Consuming large quantities of alcohol either in one night or excessive over-exposures will result in an overworked liver.  Your liver is an important organ in the body because it is responsible for detoxifying anything unwanted in the system.  When your liver is overworked the skin will pay with the appearance of redness, puffy eyes, dehydration, and breakouts.

Furthermore, alcohol causes your blood vessels to relax or open, which allows more blood to flow. This is why you often feel warm when you drink, the more blood flow, the warmer you feel. Unfortunately, over time your blood vessels will remain stretched and this will give you a red flushed look.

Finally, vitamin B becomes deficient for heavy drinkers and causes your skin to be dry, droopy, and gives you a washed out or sick complexion.

Drink in moderation or do not drink at all. Your skin and body will thank you.

Pollution.  Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, lead, and chlorofluorocarbons are all present in the air we breathe. They are especially concentrated in cities due in combination to the higher number of vehicles and factories and the lower number of natural air filters, such as trees.

These toxins get into our water supply and over time get into the soil where our food is grown. Aside from moving out of the city lifestyle, what can you do to lower your exposure to pollution?

Power over Pollution

Take a less traveled route to and from work or carpool in a hybrid vehicle to help lower emissions. Buy local organic produce from a farmers market or get organic produce at your local grocery store. Buy filtered water or a filtering system for your home and work. Also, a weekly detox will help lower the toxic load that is built up in your body according to recent skin care information.

Poor Diet.  A diet that is based on simple carbohydrates or is high in sugars will speed up the aging process of skin. Simple carbohydrates are starch. The body turns starch into sugar. Examples of starchy foods include pasta, white rice, and white flour.  Fortunately, diet is something that can be easily tweaked to benefit the body and skin.

Sun Exposure.  The sun is responsible for vitamin D production; however, it only takes a very small amount of sun a day. In fact, a sun tan is evidence of damaged skin caused by the reaction to ultraviolet light (UV).  UV light causes more damage to your skin than any other factor. The American Academy of Dermatology states that as much as 90-95 percent of extrinsic damage to the skin is from the sun. “Photoaging” is the term used to describe sun damage.

The effect of the sun on your skin is collagen and elastin breakdown, age spots, dark patches, a decreased immune system, and prevention of DNA repair.

Sun Smarts

Use physical barriers to help protect your skin. Long sleeves and hats are just some ways to help cover your skin from being exposed. Choose a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide based sun screen. Chemical based sunscreens that you see in the stores have PABA and benzophenone which may cause reproductive problems or endocrine disruption and may lead to skin cancer according to the 2001 Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich. Nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamin C and E have been found to help prevent sun damage as well.

Smoke. Smoking causes skin to age twice as fast as a non-smokers’ skin. Smoking slows the blood circulation in the body. Skin is therefore starved of nutrients and oxygen. This results in a grey dull complexion.  Wrinkles are formed easily due to collagen and elastin breakdown. Also, wounds heal slower because growth is decreased. Most importantly, skin care information shows that smokers are at high risk of developing skin cancers.

Smoke Solutions

Quit smoking if you smoke. This is one of the healthiest decisions you can make for yourself. If you are not a smoker, but are around smokers, get away. Second hand smoke is very dangerous to your health as well.

Stress.  When you are stressed your body releases adrenal hormones. This results in blemishes, oily, and dry patches on your skin. The blood in your body goes to the main organs as part of a survival instinct. This causes your skin to look pale and gives you baggy under eyes.

Stress Soothers

  • Meditate
  • Count to 10 slowly
  • Use deep breathing to calm yourself
  • Rationalize the situation
  • Take a walk or break – get away
  • Make whoever you are mad at seem silly. Ex: imagine them as a bag of potatoes walking around
  • Visualize yourself on a tropical island or somewhere that brings you peace
  • Realize your triggers before you get stressed and be prepared
  • Find your own method that works for you

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