Did you know that skin is the largest organ of our bodies? That is why taking proper care of our skin is essential. Healthy skin often has a vibrant glow, good coloring and a smooth, unblemished appearance, while unhealthy skin can appear discolored, tired, wrinkled or even older than its actual age.
No one wants to have unhealthy skin, but it can occur for a variety of different reasons. Recognizing the signs of poor skin and taking the necessary steps with your dermatologist's help to treat and correct the problems can help you improve your overall skin health. Continue reading to learn more about the leading causes of unhealthy skin.
Poor Diet Choices
Studies have shown a direct correlation between the diet we consume and the look and feel of our skin. When your skin is deprived of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to properly function, it starts to break down. Avoid these foods and beverages if you want to help improve your overall skin health:
- Anything Deep Fried: Deep fried foods lead to excess oil production, and they are filled with hydrogenated trans fats that can cause skin problems.
- Cold Cuts: Cold cut meat is often loaded with sodium. Diets high in sodium can cause puffiness, water retention, and swelling around the eyes.
- Gluten: While some people are perfectly fine to eat gluten, there are many people whose bodies cannot tolerate it. Gluten intolerance can cause inflammation, like acne on the face.
- Milk: Milk contains compounds related to testosterone and other androgens that stimulate oil production in the skin, causing acne.
- Soda: Soda contains high levels of added sugar. Added sugar speeds up aging, causes acne and can make the skin appear lackluster.
- Trans Fats: Trans fats are inflammatory fats that can raise cholesterol, increase the risk of heart disease and increase levels of inflammation in the skin. Ensure and check the ingredients on food labels to see how much trans fat is hiding in shelf-stable foods!
Drinking water is the best way to keep your body hydrated, and it is recommended that you drink eight glasses of water each day. If you are dehydrated, your skin will also become dehydrated, resulting in fine lines, dry skin texture and a “flat” skin coloring.
If you would like to learn more about the types of foods that you should be eating to help keep your skin healthy, check our recent blog, Foods That Will Make Your Skin Glow!
Poor Hygiene Habits
Another cause of unhealthy skin is poor hygiene habits. Unhealthy skin can result from not washing your face daily, not using the right skincare routine or rarely showering or bathing. Any of these poor hygiene habits can cause a build-up of dirt and grime on the skin, which can eventually lead to blemishes, clogged pores, dry skin, shallowness and wrinkles.
A basic hygiene routine includes washing your face both in the morning and before bed with a cleanser, warm water and a clean washcloth, taking a daily shower using warm water, soap and a clean washcloth, cleaning your nails and washing your hair regularly.
Lack of Sun Safety / Indoor Tanning Beds
Being outside in the sun, especially without proper protection, is very dangerous! The sun gives off invisible rays of ultraviolet light. These rays of light can irritate and damage the skin, causing sunburn and, in some instances, the development of skin cancer.
Preventing sunburn can save your life, and it's easy to do! In our blog, 4 Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer, we outlined some steps that can help you prevent skin cancer and sunburn:
- Wear protective clothing. Cover up your arms and legs with protective clothing along with wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Avoid UV radiation. The sun's peak hours, where it is the strongest, takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is recommended to seek out shaded areas and avoid direct sunlight. These actions minimize your chances of accumulating immediate UV ray exposure. Additionally, do not utilize tanning beds. A tanning bed is a carcinogen, a substance that promotes cancer. Any form of UV light exposure can also cause melanoma to form.
- Use the proper sunscreen for your skin type year-round. You know to use sunscreen during the hotter months of summer, but you also need to use it routinely as it gets colder outside as well - yes, even during winter. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen year-round with an SPF of 30 or higher that works on both UVA and UVB rays. There are many choices when it comes to sunscreens and sunblocks. Between chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens, it is valuable for you to choose the best fit for you and your skin type. Make sure you read the sunscreen label closely to determine what sunscreen will meet your personal preferences.
- Get regular skin examinations. Schedule a regular skin exam. Adults should have an annual skin check with a dermatologist (or more frequently with a history of skin cancer or precancerous lesions). Conduct monthly skin checks and if you notice any changes in your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. Smoking can cause damage to the lungs, increase your risk of stroke and brain damage, yellow teeth and promote tooth decay, create a loss of smell and taste and many more harmful side effects. But did you know that smoking can also cause damage to the health of your skin? Smoking has led to wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, excessive facial skin dryness and tobacco and cigarettes can even cause the skin to turn an unhealthy and unnatural color. Even more dangerous is the fact that smoking or chewing tobacco can lead to the development of different types of cancer throughout the body including lip cancer, mouth cancer or lung cancer.
The only way to stop these damaging health side effects is to stop smoking right now. Even then, be aware that damage has already been done, and it can be hard to reverse. When you stop smoking, your body should be able to function more effectively, and your skin should be able to begin to repair itself, but you will want to adhere to a skin care regime going forward.
We recommend that you incorporate a deep pore-cleansing cleanser into your skincare routine. It would also help if you use an advanced anti-aging serum to help fight against wrinkles. Don’t forget to incorporate a powerful moisturizer to help hydrate and combat dry skin. Use a mask or scrub once a week to help exfoliate. Finally, sunscreen use is essential to help stop the sun from destroying any collagen that your body is producing.
If you are unsure of where to begin to achieve healthy skin or have questions on which of our products would work best for you, please do not hesitate to make an appointment at The Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC by giving us a call at 304-598-3888.