5 Skin Damage Culprits to Avoid
Your skin is the first thing people notice when they meet you, but it’s hard to make a good first impression when you’re dealing with acne, redness, dry skin, or fine lines and wrinkles. It seems like just about anything can irritate and inflame your skin these days. However, there are plenty of major culprits to avoid if you want to make sure your skin looks clear and radiant.
Smoking cigarettes causes your blood vessels to constrict, which makes it difficult for vital nutrients to reach the outer layer of your skin. While your skin desperately needs nutrients and oxygen to stay plump, hydrated, and healthy, smoking thickens the elastic fibers in your skin and causes sagging skin and wrinkles.
One of the leading causes of skin damage, sun exposure breaks down your skin’s elastin and collagen, making it harder for your skin to snap back into shape once it stretches and sags. Not only does sun exposure lead to wrinkles, it also completely changes the pigmentation of your skin.
Without UV protection, your skin will eventually darken, blotch, and may even begin to show signs of age spots and skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to wear sunscreen every day, even during the winter months, and stay out of the sun entirely during the middle of the day, when the sun’s rays are most potent.
If you suffer from red, irritated, inflamed skin, look no further than the everyday products in your home. Anything from laundry detergent to facial cleanser and body wash can irritate your skin, often leading to breakouts, redness, and even rashes. Those with sensitive skin must take extra care when completing everyday tasks, such as cleaning. If you know you have sensitive skin, make sure to wear gloves when washing dishes or using bleach-based cleaning sprays around the house. To ease discomfort, lotion and heavy-duty moisturizers can help calm irritation.
Not only does sun exposure cause skin damage—wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, etc.—it also produces free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that often lead to skin damage. Some experts also believe free radicals stimulate the production of skin cancer. Other factors such as cigarette smoke, the air we breathe, and the water we drink have also been known to produce harmful free radicals.
To combat damage caused by free radicals, skin experts recommend avoiding tobacco use and sun exposure. It also helps to use products with vitamin E and C, and to eat vitamin-rich foods such as spinach, carrots, broccoli, and berries.
As we age, our skin loses its natural collagen and elasticity, leading to fine lines and wrinkles over time. Smiling and frowning naturally cause lines around the mouth, which have a hard time snapping back into place and smoothing out on their own once there is no longer enough collagen to keep your skin plump.