Last time we talked about the two biggest and most obvious culprits against skin health and came to two very familiar conclusions: wear sunscreen and don't smoke. This post will discuss some more subtle offenders to skin health and how small changes in your lifestyle can make a world of difference for your skin's health and appearance.
As the saying goes, you are what you eat, and your skin couldn't speak more to that truth. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and the last to receive nutrients, so it is important that you provide your body with the right nourishment and the momentum to get those nutrients all the way to your skin. It is recommended that you eat a low-fat high fiber diet, including lots of fruits and veggies, lean meat, fish ,eggs, and poly or monounsaturated fats and oils to ensure that you are receiving all nutrient necessary for overall good health . If you top good eating habits with regular exercise, you can boost oxygen and blood flow to the skin, carrying all of those beneficial nutrients straight to your skin cells .
Your dietary considerations should not only include the food you eat, it should also (sadly) include your overall alcohol intake. It is estimated that one in six adults binge drinks at least four times per month, and you might be able to tell who those people are by their appearance. Unfortunately, when the body metabolizes alcohol in the liver, it creates acetaldehyde as a byproduct, which is toxic to tissues . Alcohol also causes inflammation in tissues and releases capillary-dilating histamines, which cause redness in the skin . Additionally, as we all know, alcohol impairs sleep and causes dehydration, which interferes with the natural cell regeneration process, leading to a dull complexion .
So what if we would like to stay rejuvenated, but also have the occasional drink? In order to mitigate the negative effects of drinking on your skin and health, it is recommended that you choose clear alcohol over dark liquor, minimize the sugar and salt contained in each drink, and of course drink in moderation alongside lots of water .
Another regrettable fact is that caffeine can stress the liver just as much as alcohol when consumed in large and frequent quantities . Caffeine has a similar effect to alcohol, because it is a diuretic and can dehydrate the body, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging .
Sleep and stress are age old rivals. The more stressed you are, the less sleep you get and the more sleep you get the less stressed you are. Not only do you need proper amounts of sleep to keep your emotions in check, you also need it to maintain proper cell renewal and collagen production . Additionally, when you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, which increases oil production in skin and causes breakouts . In fact, a study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at Stanford University observed 22 university students with acne vulgaris and found that students experienced relatively severe acne during examination periods compared with non-examination periods . It has also been suggested that the effects of stress can compromise the barrier function of the skin, resulting in dehydration from water loss . Lastly, stress can exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema .
We're sure these risk factors against skin health come as no surprise and we're willing to bet you've heard them all before. It is our sincerest hope, however, that this blog post has armed you with useful information and perhaps further persuaded you to wear sunscreen, avoid smoking, eat well, exercise regularly, get a good night's sleep, and drink responsibly (notice that I didn't mention avoiding caffeine)... baby steps. As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for more on longevity and health!