5 daily habits wreaking havoc on your skin!September 30, 2016
1) Hot Showers or cleansing with hot water
Washing with hot water actually strips away the outer layer of the epidermis and the acid mantle which works to protect the skin from environmental pathogens. This can cause irritated, scaly and dry skin which can exasperate skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Wash your skin with lukewarm water. You may have been told to wash your face with hot water to open pores, then rinse with cold water to close them, this is a myth. Subjecting the skin to different extremes can actually cause irritation, excess dryness and even blood vessel ruptures. Wash and rinse with lukewarm water only.1
2) Lack of sleep
The idea of “beauty sleep” isn’t new and the effects of sleep deprivation on skin are proven. “Growth hormones are released both at the beginning and in the late stages of sleep, which are responsible for skin beautifying effects,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, a specialist in dermatology and laser surgery.2 “Specifically, this growth hormone aids in the stimulation of skin cell production, collagen synthesis and a decrease in protein breakdown. In other words, it is the surge of growth hormones that stimulates skin repair during the night.”3 These hormones are only released during the beginning and deep stages of sleep.
When our brain is deprived of these deep sleep periods, our bodies don’t release these growth hormones, as a result more of the stress hormone cortisol is released, which has been proven to break down collagen. “An abundance of stress hormones can increase inflammation and break down collagen leading to lines, wrinkles and an increase in acne formation,” says dermatologist Dr. Brian Zelickson.4 Sensitive skin can also result from a lack of sleep as it affects the skin’s natural barrier function. This makes the epidermis less able to protect itself from chemicals and pollutants in the environment leading to dryness, irritation and increased skin sensitivity.
3) Over exfoliation
Effective exfoliation delivers an instant visible glow to skin as it polishes off dead skin cells, revealing healthier more vibrant underlining skin. Unfortunately there is a fine-line between effective exfoliation and over-exfoliating. Over-exfoliating can reduce skin vitality and make it more susceptible to damage from UV light, it triggers the inflammatory response, leading to a weak lipid barrier decreasing functionality, this in turn can cause a sensitised skin condition, and can accelerate premature ageing. 5
Tell-tale signs of over-exfoliated skin include:
- Redness and itchiness
- Skin tautness
- Acne and irritation
If you’re showing these signs of over-exfoliation, speak with a professional skin therapist, they will likely prescribe a calming cleanser and toner, and a protective moisturiser to start the recovery process. Sun protection is imperative, use a sunscreen with physical UV blockers; Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide that won’t irritate skin.
4) Your daily coffee habit
To keep skin looking as plump and youthful as possible, try to avoid consumption of caffeine. Similar to sodium and alcohol, caffeine dehydrates our bodies. Caffeine makes the liver work in overtime which can cause toxic build up in the body. When we have an overload of toxins in the body, the low-level toxins navigate to the skin and disturb healthy skin function.
While we know caffeine can help as a laxative, losing hydration has a negative effect on skin. Dehydrated skin causes inflammation (redness) and premature ageing (collagen loss). Without enough water cleansing your system, toxic build-up in the skin can cause acne. Try to drink a glass of water with your coffee to negate the dehydrating affects.7
5) Your sweet tooth:
Eating a high sugar diet (including refined carbohydrates) feeds bacteria and can cause spikes of insulin release which prompts inflammation. This can spark an array of skin-related side effects including accelerated ageing of the skin, like collagen depletion, loss of elasticity, and wrinkle development. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can reverse oxidative damage to the skin and help keep skin looking younger, healthier and clearer.8