Skin Sins: Lifestyle
There are a huge number of lifestyle factors that affect your skins health and the heath of the skin barrier. These factors may not have a direct link to the skins health, but in some way they will alter its behaviour.
Many hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, are released by your body when it is stressed. This can prompt irritation and a reduced immune function in the skin, mimicing the natural ageing process, which can lead to a compromised barrier function. When that barrier is compromised, moisture evaporates increases and irritants can infiltrate more easily, both of which cause damage to the skin. Furthermore, when the skin’s immune function is damaged, its ability to control external invaders and crush damaged cells before they replicate is also reduced. Stress has the ability to shorten the life cycle of our skin cells, causing them to grow old before their time.
Stress and Skin Symptoms
• The hormones released when you are stressed cause blood vessels to shrink, giving rise to poor circulation.
• During stressful periods, your breathing changes, it becomes quicker and shorter. This decreases the level of oxygen in your blood, which in turn reduces the skin’s oxygen supply. This can cause a washed out skin tone.
• Many skin complaints, like eczema, and psoriasis can worsen when you are under stress. And many people will break out in spots if they are under pressure.
Diet and Skin
A balanced diet is always important for general heath as well as skin health. The body thrives on certain proteins, vitamins and minerals for processes such as growth and repair. Consumption of fruit, vegetables and plenty of water will provide your skin with essential skin loving vitamins and will help keep the body hydrated. Although there isn’t always a direct link with foods and skin conditions, certain foods can worsen or trigger the symptoms of a concern.
Foods to avoid:
Caffeine and Alcohol – Causes dehydration, limiting the skin’s ability to nourish itself
Spicy Foods – Can trigger irritation and sensitivity in Rosacea skins
High Sugar – Sugar sticks onto fats and proteins in a process called glycation. This causes protein fibres such as collagen and elastin making them stiff, and malformed.
Sleep and Skin
There has always been truth in the concept of ‘Beauty Sleep.’ It’s important to maintain at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Cellular repair and regeneration intensify at night, while we are asleep, slowing the aging process. Without the deep levels of sleep, this won’t happen, allowing daily small breakdowns to increase rather than being reversed during the night.
Often, sleep and stress are correlated. If you are feeling stresses, the production of cortisol in the body will leave you feeling on edge and preventing you from getting deep sleep, which in turn prevents the regeneration process. Sleep is also helpful for weight control, which is good for your skin. Sleep reduces your hunger and recent studies have linked sleep deprivation to increased snacking.