When you think of skin damage, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Harsh chemicals? Smoking? Or (the obvious one) the sun? Aging skin is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to combat it. Below are some common causes of skin damage and things you can do to repair it.
Limit Sun Exposure
Though it’s an obvious one, it’s one we can’t mention enough. Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin damage. Not only does it cause the breakdown of elasticity and collagen in the skin, but it is also the primary cause of skin cancer. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Make sure you’re not one of them and remember to apply and reapply sunscreen daily, even when the sun is at its lowest. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If the sun is up, sunscreen is on. When it comes to your sunscreen level, higher doesn’t always mean better. SPF 30 allows 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin, while an SPF 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays. Products with high SPF often create a false sense of security when it comes to their sun protection. People who use them tend to stay out in the sun longer and skip reapplying. As long as you reapply every two hours, SPF 30 is plenty protection.
What else can you do to fight the sun? Dress to protect yourself from UV rays, seek the shade, and get your daily dose of vitamin D through supplements, not the sun.
Change Unhealthy Diet Practices
The overconsumption of sugary foods can cause the breakdown of collagen. When more than 70% of our skin is made up of collagen, that’s an issue. What’s the best way to keep your skin glowing, elastic, and plump? Focus on yourself from the inside out. You can eat your way to better skin. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, like vitamin C, which help promote radiant skin, lessen visible signs of skin damage, and, most importantly, create collagen. If you want healthy skin, you need healthy fats. Getting enough healthy fats is essential to keeping your skin flexible and moisturized. If you’ve had a bad week of eating sugary foods, give yourself a break and drink some tea, like green tea. Green tea is full of catechins that work to improve moisture, roughness, thickness, and elasticity.
Air pollution has increased over the years and will continue to increase. Air pollution not only increases exposure to ultraviolet rays, but also exposes the skin to air pollutants. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides, particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), and cigarette smoke are all pollutants that affect your skin. Even though the human skin acts as a shield to air pollutants, prolonged exposure to these pollutants has negative effects on your skin. The best ingredients to fight off pollutants? Antioxidants like vitamins C and E help prevent free radicals from damaging your skin. Ingredients like Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and Jojoba Oil are two skin care ingredients high in vitamin C and E respectively. Investing in skin care that protects against these pollutants is key to fight off seemingly unsolvable negative environmental impacts.
Newsflash: drinking alcohol dehydrates you. That, combined with the fact that you’re probably not drinking enough water to start with, is a recipe for disaster. Many underestimate the power of drinking water. It flushes out toxins, reduces wrinkles, moisturizes, provides elasticity, the list goes on. If you’re not drinking enough water, it’s about time you started. Get your eight glasses a day and if you’re partaking in an alcoholic beverage or two after a long day of work, make sure you compensate with a hearty glass of water before bed.
Consider this a warning. In this climate, skin damage is unavoidable, but not unconquerable. Take note of the causes of skin damage and do something to keep your skin protected and healthy.