Everything we do in life affects our body in some way, but you may be surprised by these lifestyle factors that have a huge impact on the health and youthfulness of our largest organ - the skin.
It’s so easy to forget to drink water, and we only think to do this when we feel thirsty. When you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated! Also, people can often mistake the feeling of thirst as hunger.
With daily activities of working, taking the kids to school, shopping and keeping on top of household duties its no wonder we forget and put off keeping ourselves topped up with water!
But did you know that even mild dehydration could be the result of sunken eyes, shrivelled skin, muscle cramps, joint aches, weight gain, spots and blackheads, irritability and increased anxiety - only to name a few! As women we are made up of 55% water and men 60%. Keeping your levels topped up will make tremendous benefits to our skin and overall health! You’ll notice brighter eyes, a feeling of more energy, you’re skin will start to look more like a grape rather than a raisin. Vital nutrients will be transported more effectively to feed your organs, brain and your skin, all with the added bonus of kick starting your fat burning metabolism!
2. Ignoring SPF
Just how much ageing does the sun cause? Well, up to a massive 90% of all visible signs of ageing are due to UV exposure!
The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that up to 40% of the suns rays reach the earth even on a cloudy day, even in England! Where there is daylight, there are UV rays. So getting into the habit of wearing an SPF on a daily basis, all year round will be something you’ll definitely thank yourself for in years to come!
It's not like you need to wear a thick, white heavy sun cream that your parents would slap on when you were a child on holiday that would feel heavy and stick to everything! SPFs have come a long way since then and can be as easy as wearing it in your make-up which is usually applied daily, consider our Jane Iredale mineral make up which is actually recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, two birds...!!
3. Staying up past your bedtime
Easier said than done especially for those that work shifts, or have young children but something to consider if you are able to get into a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time daily. Our bodies are biological clocks that work in synergy with your circadian rhythm.
When your'e going to bed and waking up at different times this throws your circadian rhythm "out of whack” with immediate repercussions. You’ll notice that your'e sleeping, waking and digestive systems are completely thrown off, which will basically make you feel like 💩💩💩
Longer term effects include increased risk of cardiovascular issues, obesity and possibly neurological problems like depression and bipolar disorder. Who knew! Try not to feel guilty about going out and getting in late we all need to enjoy ourselves! But rather than lying in bed all day snoozing - which will really put your rhythm off!
4. Letting stress rule
Your body is designed to respond in a certain way when dealing with stress. Though it might not be a huge amount of stress, your mind doesn’t know the difference between being irrational or burning with rage because your child just spilled their breakfast down their freshly cleaned and pressed school uniform and you’re already running late for work, or if you’re facing a wild animal that’s about to hunt you down for supper!
The hypothalamus – a tiny control tower in the brain decides to send out the stress hormones. These hormones trigger your "fight or flight" mode, your heart races, your breathing quickens and your muscles get ready for action literally absorbing as much vitamins from the body as possible to enable your body to respond so quickly. This internal body process is the same whether your running for your life from the pack of animals, or your'e faced with the Heinz beans stain on the front of your child's shirt, and the longer you feel stressed, the longer the depletion of essential vitamins from the body!
Prolonged stress could put your health at serious health risks, let alone the effects shown on your skin such as increased depression, insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, stomach problems, low sex drive, missed periods, erectile disfunction and fertility problems.
5. Putting off exercise
From the forged doctors note in PE at school, to being too tired, too busy, or too thin to get down to the gym, there are probably a million and one different excuses that people have come up with to avoid exercise over the years.
NHS choices say that a lack of exercise is “as deadly as smoking” and obesity is on the rise, but just before you go ahead and run yourself silly down the park just consider there are more casual ways of exercise. Perhaps a brisk walk with the dog, local workout groups or just moving around more. Studies have shown that increasing the heart rate can lower blood pressure, significantly lower the chances of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
By increasing the flow of blood, which carries oxygen and essential nutrients to cells throughout the body, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them replenished. This also helps to increase mood and fights depression!
6. Falling for fad diets
Extreme dieting or completely cutting out certain foods could have long term damage to our vital organs (especially the skin) which need a good balance of carbohydrates and nutrients to function and do their job correctly.
An unbalanced diet or poor nutrition deprives the skin of the essential vitamins it needs to stay fresh, young and healthy whilst protecting it from external factors such as free-radicals.
Say yes to: Sweet potato, Whole meal and basmati rice, Vegetables, Quinoa, Berrie, Bananas
No to these highly refined carbs: Sweets, Bread, White pasta, Fruit juice, Alcohol, Chocolate, Pastries, Cakes/cookies, Crisps, Chips, Sugary drinks
Carbs are brain food providing glucose that the brain needs in order to function. Run low and run the risk of your brain turning to mush and you forgetting basic things like where you left your keys, or people's names. Carbs are also essential for exercising muscles and delaying the onset of fatigue says nutritionalist and exercise scientist Kathleen Alleaume.
7. Not getting enough nourishment Internally and topically
Foods high in antioxidants and skin care products containing antioxidants help delay signs of ageing but why?
Because everything around us is an oxidant – free radicals in the form of pollution, the sun, smoking, even breathing and moving generates oxidants in our bodies! There’s just no escaping them, we even breathe them in to keep us alive in the form of oxygen (which is why I’ve never understood oxygen facials 🙄).
One puff of a cigarette contains 100 trillion free radicals, with recent studies revealing similar amounts for e-cigarettes!
Why do they damage us? Free-radicals are unformed atoms that are missing an electron. They affect the body by taking electrons from healthy atoms. For our skin this results in accelerated signs of ageing, wrinkles, age spots, tired and lack lustre skin.
Anti oxidants found in certain foods and skincare products provide spare atoms that the free radicals (or previously healthy atoms) take, preventing any damage to the skin. Think of an antioxidant as a "skin donor", keeping the body topped up with enough supplies to feed these invading free-rads!
Having a varied diet of fruit and vegetables ideally eaten raw or steamed to prevent deflation of nutrients to keep the body and skin well equipped with antioxidants to help to keep the skin and body protected from these "invaders".
In skin care look out for vitamins particularly vitamin A and C in the ingredients list.
8. Too much phone time
Advanced technology like smart phones, tablets and computer screens constantly emit a blue light, which is beneficial during the day because it boosts attention, reaction time and mood, however is highly disruptive at night.
Remember our biological clock, or circadian rhythm? We start to secrete melatonin (a hormone which regulates sleep) around 9:30 when its becoming dark, however when we expose ourselves to blue light before bedtime, this throws our circadian rhythm out and makes us more alert. This is when we find it difficult to drift off into a deep sleep.
During a deep sleep is when the skin replenishes itself (beauty sleep) and repairs its natural protective barrier. Broken sleep is a major factor in many skin concerns such as tired and dry skin, breakouts, congestion and even sensitivity which will accelerate ageing.
You knew it would be in here somewhere and whilst it may be a good idea at the time, alcohol dehydrates the whole body including your largest organ – your skin!
When alcohol is consumed it creates a histamine reaction that inflames the skin and creates redness and flushing. It impairs your sleep and compromises the regenerative cycle of normal cellular turnover, leading to an unhealthy complexion in the short term (dryness, dull, spots) but with long term affects being much more severe on the health of your skin.
Clear fluids will pass through the body quicker to minimise the side effects of a good night out. And whilst its easier said than done, replacing that vodka shot with a glass of water will drastically improve body (and skin) hydration and less the effects the next day 😷
10. Avoid a Sugar Face
Everyone knows sugar isnt great for the waistline but why is it bad for your skin?
All forms of sugar, especially refined sugars spike insulin levels in the body which slows the production of collagen and elastin.
If you've read my blog "Vitamin-C for Collagen & Co" you'll know that collagen and elastin are what gives skin that plump bounce and youthful appearance. When you consume sugar it reacts with proteins in the body (e.g. Collagen is a protein), making it stiffen, and resulting in wrinkles and reduced skin volume.
You may not even realise that you’re eating that much sugar, but foods such as white bread, pasta, cereals ready made sauces all contain high levels. Try switching to whole meal alternatives to eliminate refined sugars from your diet and give your skin a helping hand. Cutting out sugar by 60% can give you a younger appearance of up to 10 years!
And thats it, my top 10 common habits that make our skin age! It's frightening to think that many of these are things might never have been considered.
If you have any questions or need any advice please feel free to contact me!