There are so many positive things that we do for our bodies and our skin each day. But, did you know that some of our daily habits could show in the skin? Some of these habits are common knowledge that many of us already know about. Others, perhaps not so much. Or perhaps we don’t want to change our daily habits because we haven’t yet seen their negative impact on our skin. But the impact is coming. Whatever you do, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. Just because you can’t see the damage today, doesn’t mean that it won’t show itself a few years down the road. And there are several changes we can all make.
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Let’s take a look at a few daily habits that can negatively impact your skin and understand why you need to kick them immediately.
Just by the mere fact that medical professionals use the term “smoker’s face” to describe the negative impact and aging effects on the skin should be enough to make you throw those cigarettes away. Everyone knows that there is nothing good that can come from smoking. From our lungs to our skin, the effects can be devastating. And for our physical appearance alone the effects can cause us to look much older then we really are. Smoking deprives our skin of the nutrients and the oxygen it needs to function at its best. When this happens the skin can look pale, gaunt and wrinkled. There are over 4,000 different chemicals found in tobacco smoke and unfortunately many of these chemicals are the primary cause for collagen and elastin to breakdown. When this happens the elasticity of the skin is compromised and the end result is wrinkles, including deep wrinkles and sagging skin. Due to the repetitive puckering around the mouth when you smoke, smokers tend to have a lot more lines around their mouths then non-smokers. And as if all of these points weren’t bad enough, the heat and smoke from a lit cigarette causes smokers to squint their eyes. This repetitive motion results in visible wrinkles around the eyes that can be much deeper than those around a non-smoker’s eyes.
Although the situation seems a bit dire there are things you can do. First and foremost, do your best to kick the habit and throw away those cigarettes. Quitting smoking will help you improve your overall health and your appearance. The result is a healthier looking complexion. Your skin, your teeth, your nails and even the stains on your fingers will begin to fade. So grab whitening toothpaste, and start using daily moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated, plump and more elastic. Choose products containing antioxidant vitamins C and E and never go outdoors without wearing sunscreen.
Speaking of Sunscreen
It seems like sunscreen makes it way into just about every beauty-related topic these days. And that’s because it is so important to one’s overall skin health and appearance. It’s a “must do” healthy aging habit that we need to practice every single day no matter what the season. And if you aren’t doing this every day, then it’s time to get into the habit. The sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays are major contributors to skin aging, spotting, fine lines, and wrinkles. So if you have a habit of not applying SPF ever day, then you are doing your skin a huge disservice. It’s a simple practice that takes just a minute. Choose a facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to apply SPF to all exposed areas of the body, as well. The face, the neck and décolletage, the backs of hands, legs, arms – it all needs protection. Just minimum repeated exposure to the sun on a daily basis could cause a lot of damage to your skin. So if you think its ok to take your dog for a quick walk or just run to the store without sunscreen, think again.
Not Wearing Shades
Believe it or not, sunglasses are more then just an accessory to your wardrobe. They actually have a purpose that goes above and beyond making a fashion statement. They help protect your eyes and the skin around the eyes from showing the signs of premature aging. The skin around our eyes is thin and very prone to wrinkling. This area of the face lacks in sweat and oil glands, making it highly susceptible to dehydration. As a result it’s around the eyes where we usually notice our very first fine line or wrinkle. When we are in the sun, without sunglasses, we tend to squint. This repetitive squinting unfortunately causes lines around our eyes. And the more we squint the more lines we create and the deeper these lines will get over time. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. We often refer to them as crow’s feet. Not very attractive sounding is it? Aside from damaging our skin, constant exposure to the sun can cause cataracts. So break the bad habit of not wearing sunglasses when you go outdoors. Keep a pair in your car and be sure to wear them. In addition to protecting your eyes with sunglasses, you can also invest in a good hydrating eye cream to help moisturize this area of the skin while you sleep. It can’t reverse sun damage, but it’s a great skin care product to improve the appearance around the eyes. Look for antioxidant vitamins, aloe vera and cucumber extract to enhance your eye products.
Living in a State of Unrest
We hear time and time again how important a good night sleep is. Without enough sleep you could experience difficulties at work, in thinking, delays in your reaction time and your ability to learn new things and get along with others. In addition to all of this, lack of sleep also affects our appearance. It is believed that we need to get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night in order for our cells to effectively renew overnight. When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, it’s obvious. We look tired. And when we look tired we look older. Lack of sleep can cause your skin to take on a dull appearance, look dry and as a result, your lines and wrinkles become much more noticeable. And this is aside from the dark under eye circles we get after a restless night’s sleep. It all makes us look older then we should. So it’s time to break the sleepless night habit by getting into a routine. Pick a bedtime and try to keep it the same every night of the week. Shut off your TV, laptop or other electronic device before you get into bed and give your mind the chance to relax. And because getting a good night’s sleep isn’t enough, we also need to be conscientious of how we sleep. Sleeping on our side with our cheeks all scrunched up against our pillows can lead to morning skin creases on our cheeks, our chin and our chest. Sleeping on your stomach may contribute to unnecessary creases in your forehead. So, while it may seem impossible for some, if you can sleep on your back, your skin will thank you for it. Or, try investing in a satin or silk pillowcase to help alleviate the creasing. A good night’s sleep is important for everyone. Remember, we call it beauty sleep for a reason.
No More Sugary Breakfasts
A healthy breakfast helps to fuel the body. It’s the most important meal of the day. So why would we load up our body with sugary, sweet cereals and cinnamon rolls when we can add protein, vitamins, and nutrients to help the body and the skin look their best? When we eat fruits, vegetables, grains, the right fats, and proteins, we know we are providing our bodies with essential nutrition. If we eat nutritious foods, our chances of looking healthy improve. If we eat a lot of junk food, well, the opposite happens. Eating sugars can hurt: some sugars attach themselves to the proteins in our bloodstream. When this happens new molecules called advanced glycation end products are formed that can damage our collagen and elastin. When our collagen and elastin are compromised, we can be left with skin that starts to sag, as well as more fine lines and wrinkles. It’s just not worth it. So, put away the donuts and chocolate chip pancakes and start each day with a healthy breakfast. My favorite is a delicious shake with protein and micronutrients. Give it a try.
If you could banish these bad habits right away, you would notice a difference in your body and your appearance. There are many more bad habits we need to banish as well, but these are a good start. Give them a try in the name of healthy, beautiful skin. We are all aging every second of the day. Why not make it a positive thing?