The lifestyle choices that are affecting your skin

With our busy lifestyles, there’s often not enough time to get eight hours sleep a night, five portions of fruit and veg a day and find time for a gym workout. As a result, our skin is suffering.

There are multiple factors that can impact our skin, from convenient fatty foods to caffeine fixes and UV rays.

In this article, Dermalogica retailer Pure Beauty talks us through the common lifestyle choices that are impacting our skin.

Fatty, convenience food

When we’re short of time, it’s easy to fall for the lure of KFC, McDonalds and Burger King. They feed our junk food cravings but their ingredients can lead to poor complexions:

  • Refined sugar —Refined sugars — like those found in soft drinks — trigger insulin levels to spike and lead to a wave of inflammation in the body. The inflammation causes a breakdown in collagen and elastin, resulting in skin that lacks elasticity and strength. Sugar is also closely linked with acne and blemishes developing.
  • Fat — High-fat foods can leave your skin looking puffy and dull. It could even be the reason behind your under-eye circles.
  • Salt — Your favourite fast foods are laced in salt. Even if you’re not at your favourite junk food outlet, salt can be hidden in your ready meals and consumed without you knowing. Too much salt leads to water retention, which can lead to swelling. Because the skin is generally thinner under the eyes, it can lead to puffy eyes. This effect is more common in middle age.
  • Dairy — Eating too much dairy can lead to oily skin. When left to sit on the skin, it can lead to increased breakouts.

Live by the motto “everything in moderation” — the occasional burger and fries will do little harm. However, if you do find yourself eating fast food more than you should and your skin is suffering as a result, it will probably be worth cutting back — not just for your skin but your health in general.

Coffee

We love coffee, but with its highly acidic content, it seems it doesn’t really love us back! The acid in caffeine interacts with your stress hormones, causing your skin to produce more oil. Greater oil on the surface of your skin can cause pores to become blocked and blemishes to form.

Many believe that dehydration is the main effect from coffee. However, you would need to be severely hydrated to see any real impact on your skin. Of course, because coffee is a stimulant, it may be impacting the amount of sleep you receive, which will negatively alter the appearance of your skin.

8 hours’ sleep

Getting below the recommended eight hours per night of shut-eye can leave your skin looking worse for wear.

Wrinkles and brown spots become more prominent when your sleep drops to six hours or less, one 2015 study found. If left to develop, it could lead to premature aging. When we sleep, our skin is given a chance to heal, renew and detox. In fact, during the deepest stage of sleep, growth and repair hormones peak. By cutting the amount of sleep we get, the body has less time to rejuvenate the skin, leaving our skin looking dull the following morning.

Sunshine

The impact of UV rays has been well publicised, causing both short- and long-term effects to our skin. In the short-term, exposure to the sun without adequate SPF protection can lead to sunburn and blistering, leaving our skin dehydrated and sore to touch.

On a long-term basis, UV exposure speeds up the aging process, causing age spots, wrinkles and skin dullness. In the most serious cases, over-exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer.

Working out

Some lifestyle choices — like exercise — can positively impact our skin, as well as our general health. The skin’s elasticity is lost as we age, but strength and toning exercises can help firm it up and make it look more youthful. Cardio has its benefits too. Your increased heart rate will deliver more oxygen to skin cells, while helping to flush toxins from your body before they have a chance to take effect. Overall, regular exercising works to regenerate skin cells.